Wednesday, July 23, 2014

TSA Abusing SSI Markings?

A hearing that I had ignored as being of no specific interest to readers of this blog became more interesting this afternoon. Tomorrow the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing to mark-up a lot of inconsequential (from a chemical security perspective) bills; mainly renaming bills. This afternoon the Committee added a completely unrelated matter to the hearing agenda; a review of a Committee Staff report on “Pseudo-Classification of Executive Branch Documents”.

This report provides a look at a variety of reports about TSA inappropriately using the Sensitive Security Information markings on various documents and videos for purposes unrelated to actual security issues. Glancing through the document I did not see anything that looked to me to be a particularly heinous abuse of power, but there did seem to be instances of improper use of the SSI markings.

If information sharing is to be anywhere near meaningful there will have to be a relatively free flow of information from the government to the governed. While there are legitimate instances where the government can and certainly should withhold sensitive or classified information from public disclosure, the authority to do so should be carefully constrained.

It will be interesting to see how far Chairman Issa (R,CA) pushes this particular investigation.

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