Secrecy overclassification should be punished, ex-official says

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The former head of the office that administers the federal government’s security-classification system says officials who regularly overclassify documents should face punishment, The New York Times reports.

J. William Leonard, who once led the government’s Information Security Oversight Office, filed a complaint July 30 against the National Security Agency, claiming a document at the center of the Thomas Drake whistleblower case should never have been classified.

“I’ve never seen a more deliberate and willful example of government officials improperly classifying a document,” Leonard told the Times. “If you’re talking about throwing someone in jail for years, there absolutely has to be responsibility for decisions about what gets classified.”

Leonard directed the Information Security Oversight Office from 2002 to 2007.

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