Friday, July 27, 2012

Psst! ... It Was The Russians ... Pass It On


















The National Security Archives' blog, UNREDACTED, has a somewhat depressing Document Friday post today. It seems that the U.S. Defense Department considers it classifiable national security information to state that the identity of our major Cold War enemy was - wait for it - the Soviet Union. 

The Cold War’s “Major Enemy Threat Facing the US” is Classified:
According to Department of Defense reviewers, the “major enemy threat facing the United States” in 1975 must remain classified information. We can know that, “This situation had been prevalent for a number of years and was likely to continue for the foreseeable future,” but not that –ostensibly to protect US “national defense or foreign policy”– the Soviet Union was the Cold War rival to the United States. This redaction serves as further proof of the broken declassification system and the vast swaths of historic information that remain (even after a FOIA review) overclassified and restricted from the public.
--snip--
To redact that the Soviet Union was America’s “major enemy threat,” the DOD cited the b(1) classified information exemption. The accompanying letter does not specifically state which of eight categories of b(1) information that naming the Soviet Union would violate, but claims that it is either b(1) 1.4 (a) “military plans,” (c) “intelligence activities,” or (d) US “foreign relations.”
--snip--

[S]ome may see protests of the redaction of who we fought the Cold War against by the Department of Defense as a whiny quibble, but I see it as the pinnacle of the iceberg of the state’s indifference to the people’s right to know. This idea of a limited government subservient to the people was, after all, a primary reason we threw off the chains of tyranny and fought our Revolutionary War against [redacted].

5 comments:

russell.j.coller.jr said...

August 1814, Washington Navy Yard -Chief of the Watch, to: Officer of the Day, Marine Barracks. cc: Secretary of War, Secretary of the Navy. [XXXXX redacted] Ground forces of His Majesty, King [XXXXX redacted] of [XXXXX redacted] moving E to W and burning buildings. Please inform President that his residence [XXXXX redacted] is a possible target.

TSB said...

That's excellent! They could have used more warning. Dolley Madison barely escaped with a wagon-load of stuff before the Brits arrived at the White House.

russell.j.coller.jr said...

Anthony Pitch [The Burning of Washington]: apparently his research was hindered by the permanent geniuses who guard the secrets.

TSB said...

I hadn't heard of that before, thanks. I just found an on-line essay by Pitch (what a great name for the author of a book with "Burning" in the title!) and I'll definitely get the book.

russell.j.coller.jr said...

He's also British and a C-SPAN superstar - AND - at least last I heard - does the Lincoln Assasination walking tour in downtown DC. [for a price.]