07 February 2016

Eric Arthur Blair Knows the Term for This

Classification stupidity
The prosecutor for the military commission at Guantánamo is retroactively classifying pubic hearings:
The war court prosecutor is arguing that public disclosure of a transcript of a public hearing held at Guantánamo last year could endanger national security in response to a legal motion brought by 17 news organizations protesting pick-and-choose secrecy in the Sept. 11 pretrial hearings.

Army Brig. Gen Mark Martins makes the argument in a filing obtained by The Miami Herald that was still being reviewed for sensitive information on Thursday and not publicly released. At issue is the Pentagon’s decision to black out large portions of a 379-page transcript of an Oct. 30 hearing that included testimony from two soldiers who work at Guantánamo’s most clandestine prison, called Camp 7.

“That this information was uttered in a public session or is reported in news coverage does not render the information unprotected or vitiate the damage further disclosures would beget,” prosecutors wrote Jan. 29 in the 29-page filing in the war court case against Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other men accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

In defending the decision to censor what was public information, the prosecutors included a less-redacted transcript that showed previously blacked out sentences and in the same filing sealed up a declaration from the Guantánamo prison commander explaining what is at risk.


Reporters, Sept. 11 victim family members and other members of the public heard the testimony on Oct. 30 through a 40-second audio delay designed to let the judge or a court security officer mute the sound if anyone spilled national security secrets. No one ever pushed the button. But when the transcript came out weeks later, portions that the Miami Herald had reported in a routine Twitter stream were gone.

Now, a comparison of the two different censored transcripts of the same hearing offer a study in over-classification. Nearly every redaction is refined in the updated version.
The term to describe this sh%$ is "Orwellian".


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