[Air-L] wikileaks and "Classified" status

Thomas Jones thomasallenjones at gmail.com
Wed Dec 1 07:45:15 PST 2010

 I have a security clearance (10 years now) and work with classified information. This is a pretty intricate issue.

It is illegal to obtain classified information which you are not authorized to view. It is illegal to distribute (remove) classified information from classified networks (without authorization) and give to people without clearances, or to put it on an unclassified network. 

A Classified Message Incident (CMI) results from posing classified information from SIPRNET (Secret network) or JWICS (Top Secret network) on NIPRNET (Unclassified network) - "spillage". A CMI can result in immediate revocation of clearance, and pending on its severity, can land you in jail just as quick. There is a matrix to determine the severity of the CMI dependent on multiple attributes which I do not believe I can discuss in this forum.

It is not illegal to publish classified information once it is in the public domain - reference the Pentagon papers. However the brazen young intelligence soldier who took the information is in some deep trouble. Also, read this link posted by the EFF that directly answers your question more technically: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/2010/09/public_class.html

Given that the information on the wikileaks site is still classified by the US Government, administratively (and technically), it is still illegal to view it. But this is really only cosmetic in nature - once classified information is made public, the logic and reasoning behind it being classified is no longer valid, and quite honestly, rather arbitrary. Whether you want to go look at it... thats your call really. However the practical enforcement of the Government to locate and prosecute those who do... you'd have a better chance of winning the lottery. This is how they still prevent current government (military) employees from accessing/reading those documents as stupid as this sounds. Wired's Danger Room article sums it up quite nicely: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/08/pentagon-to-troops-taliban-can-read-wikileaks-you-cant/

"That cry you hear? It's common sense writhing in pain." Indeed it is...

Thomas Jones

One should guard against preaching to young people success in the customary form as the main aim in life. The most important motive for work in school and in life is pleasure in work, pleasure in its result, and the knowledge of the value of the result to the community.
-- Albert Einstein, On Education --

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On Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 10:22 AM, nativebuddha wrote:

> Does anyone know the law on "Classified " docs and entering the public
> domain?
> Do they retain the "Classified" status, even though millions of people can
> read them? I know that military officials without clearance are being told
> that they can't read the "Classified" docs. Isn't odd that they can't an yet
> everyone else can?
> -robert
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