It’s good to be an Executive Order
CORY DOCTOROW: Obama administration: releasing details of secret copyright treaty endangers “national security”. Er, what?
Good question, Instapundit. Click through — the original story is here, at Wired. But you can really see all you need to see by reading the letter from the Administration responding to the Freedom of Information Act request for disclosure of this information about a copyright treaty by stating that the documents the documents you seek are being withheld in full pursuant to 5 U.S.C. sec. 552(b)(1), which pertains to information that is properly classified in the interest of national security pursuant to Executive Order 12958.
Well, good to know they’re being properly withheld! Can this truly be the case? Here’s what that Clinton-era Executive Order says (in part) about what shall and shall not be deemed classified (emphases added):
Sec. 1.2. Classification Standards.
(a) Information may be originally classified under the terms of this order only if all of the following conditions are met:
(1) an original classification authority is classifying the information;
(2) the information is owned by, produced by or for, or is under the control of the United States Government;
(3) the information falls within one or more of the categories of information listed in section 1.5 of this order;
(4) the original classification authority determines that the unauthorized disclosure of the information reasonably could be expected to result in damage to the national security and the original classification authority is able to identify or describe the damage.
(b) If there is significant doubt about the need to classify information, it shall not be classified.
So now we know that information in this copyright treaty is not only properly classified, there is no significant doubt about whether it ought to be. Well, of course there’s little room there is for doubt when it comes to the Obama Administration! <Okay, a little more seriously, what kinds of stuff can be classified under this Executive Order? Read More…