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Fixing Classification System “Is Like Tuning an Edsel”

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  1. Freedom of Information
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The federal government’s classification culture needs to be reset, the staff director and counsel for the House National Security and Terrorism Subcommittee, told a symposium on classification sponsored by the Information Security Oversight Office. Lawrence Halloran said over-classification has damaged the integrity of the system. “People notice all kinds of stuff sloshing around (in the classification system) and that makes them think it’s OK to leak.” He added, in response to a Defense Department official’s comments on a new education program, “it’s like tuning an Edsel.” When done, “Your car is tuned, but it’s still a really old car that may not get you where you want to go.” The classification system, he said, is haunted by “Cold War ghosts and demons…All the incentives operate in the direction of keeping things secret.” (10/21/05)