The U.S. government classifies millions of documents as “Top Secret” every year, and the trend is growing in the name of homeland and national security. While some things obviously have to remain confidential or top secret, a lot do not merit such secrecy and are simply attempts to avoid inconvenient oversight or publicity. Overclassification blocks Congress from doing its job as effectively as it should. Even when a request for documents is fulfilled by the government, massive dumps of heavily redacted papers impede the work of the investigators. Journalists filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests often have to wait months for a response. Today, one third of all FOIA requests are still pending. All of this secrecy has the potential to lead to corruption, scandals, and abuse of power.
Join us for an examination of the government’s passion for overclassification and the threat it poses to government transparency and everyone’s freedom.
More About the Speakers
Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and Senior Editor, The Long War Journal
Charles “Cully” Stimson
Senior Legal Fellow and Manager, National Security Law Program,
Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies,The Heritage Foundation
Helle C. Dale
Senior Fellow for Public Diplomacy