Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Clean Cups!

I know, I know. Linking to a New York Times article this late in the month is a real drag. The "pay per view" scheme of the Grey Lady only allows for 20 articles to be read before a subscription is required, assuming one is playing by the rules. It's a pretty good article, though, and for all sorts of reasons.

It deals with the fallout from the latest WikiLeaks release, this time of documents concerning the prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay Gulag. In the mad government scramble after the release, all sorts of truly bizarre rules have been imposed.

Anyone surfing the Internet this week is free to read leaked documents about the prisoners held by the American military at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to print them out or e-mail them to friends.

Except, that is, for the lawyers who represent the prisoners.

On Monday, hours after WikiLeaks, The New York Times and other news organizations began publishing the documents online, the Justice Department informed Guantánamo defense lawyers that the documents remained legally classified even after they were made public.

Because the lawyers have security clearances, they are obligated to treat the readily available files “in accordance with all relevant security precautions and safeguards” — handling them, for example, only in secure government facilities, said the notice from the department’s Court Security Office.
[Emphasis added]

Just as silly is the fact that because the government deems those documents to still be classified, the lawyers are precluded from discussing them publicly, even though the public now has complete access to them (assuming, of course, they subscribe to the NYT).

Now, after all the published WikiLeaks in the past year, some of which are ongoing, you'd think the government might have figured out a way to respond in ways which are not quite so prima facie silly, but, alas, you would be wrong. Apparently the government feels its system of secret-keeping is far more important than anything else.

Lewis Carroll would be so proud.

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Anonymous Jamie said...

Somewhere between Lewis Carrol and Kafka. Truly depressing.

2:32 PM  

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