Government is overzealous with secrecy, Reichert says

Republican Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA) is interested in developing legislation to streamline the classification system and to eliminate abuses, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

    Reichert uses personal experience as a benchmark for how overzealous classification can gum up the works and deny important information to those who need it. While investigating the Green River Killer as King County sheriff, Reichert worked closely with a variety of federal agencies and especially the FBI.

    In one instance, he and an FBI agent jointly interviewed a witness. Later, Reichert asked the FBI for a copy of its report on the interrogation to compare it with his own account to see if there was anything he missed.

    The request was denied because the report was classified, Reichert said in an interview.

    “There’s a fear by federal agencies that if they let too much out, it could cause problems,” Reichert said. The irony, he and others say, is that indiscriminately classifying material as secret weakens security because it makes it harder to discern the truly important from those undeserving documents given the status.

    Reichert hopes to develop legislation to streamline and simplify the system to lessen the abuses and to make it easier for government officials at all levels, and especially law enforcement, to be able to share information.

See “Government is overzealous with secrecy, Reichert says” by Charles Pope, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 26.

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