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Secret Gov't Documents Will be Declassified 12/31 301

Posted by samzenpus
from the but-not-a-minute-earlier dept.
mozzwald writes "This New Year's Eve, at midnight on the dot, hundreds of millions of pages of U.S. government secrets will be revealed. Or at least they'll no longer be official secrets — it may actually take months or more for the National Archives and Records Administration to make those pages available for public consumption."
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Secret Gov't Documents Will be Declassified 12/31

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  • by macadamia_harold (947445) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @08:20AM (#17386168) Homepage
    it may actually take months or more for the National Archives and Records Administration to make those pages available for public consumption.

    in other words, it takes the government a few months to go over every line on every page with a black marker. The pages might be declassified (but see if you can read the information!)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      in other words, it takes the government a few months to go over every line on every page with a black marker. The pages might be declassified (but see if you can read the information!)


      That's not censorship! They're just making us a favor by highlighting [theonion.com] all the good stuff.

    • by WgT2 (591074) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @08:47AM (#17386296) Journal

      Don't worry. Perhaps they'll release the blacked-out material as Word docs.

      You'll be able to read everything then!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Charcharodon (611187)
      ,i.in other words, it takes the government a few months to go over every line on every page with a black marker. The pages might be declassified (but see if you can read the information!)

      Yes but the real reason for the slow up is not the actual marking out things with a black marker, but the bidding process to provide the government with the correct mil-spec markers.

    • black marker...that's so old school. White-out tape + xerox is the new way of doing this.
    • elvis (Score:3, Funny)

      by rucs_hack (784150)
      At last, we shall discover which aliens took elvis :-)

      I can see what will happen though

      govt: Here you go, everything we know about aliens, i.e, they haven't been here.

      Conspiracists: Ah yes, but you'd say that wouldn't you...

      govt: No really, it's true, look, it's got official stamps and everything.

      Conspiracists: Well that may be so, but if we believe you, our million dollar book and convention industry will go down the pan [koff], ah no, we mean that you'll have succeeded in hiding the truth.

      govt: ok, let u
  • Too many exeptions. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by packeteer (566398) <packeteer&subdimension,com> on Thursday December 28, 2006 @08:21AM (#17386174)
    The least of acceptable exceptions is too long. If a document involves multiple agencies it wont be free. This will do nothing to calm down conspiracy theories, but it will be interesting for historians.
  • Finally (Score:4, Funny)

    by Psychotria (953670) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @08:33AM (#17386224)
    The secret invasion by aliens will be revealed. I, for one, welcome our new overlords. I've been watching them for years on Lost in Space, Star Trek, V, Battlestar Gallactica and The Smurfs. I am looking forward to the secret being revealed and my release from the asylum.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by nra1871 (836627)
      V is an excellent documentary on the Reptoids' plans for us. Don't be fooled, the best place to hide the truth is in plain sight.
    • ...my release from the asylum.

      There is no release except death.
      Now get back to posting inmate #953670

    • "the Illuminati are a race of reptilian humanoids [wikipedia.org] known as the Babylonian Brotherhood, and that many prominent figures are reptilian, including George W. Bush, Queen Elizabeth II, Kris Kristofferson, and Boxcar Willie."

      It's in Wikipedia, so it must be true ..

      was Re:Finally (Score:3, Funny)
  • by paganizer (566360) <thegrove1&hotmail,com> on Thursday December 28, 2006 @09:21AM (#17386530) Homepage Journal
    I'll be pretty shocked if anything actually of use turns up. I'll definitely try to take a look myself; I've been searching for years for some of the info on the nuclear tests done in the late 50's, as my dad was in 13 of them.
    Hearing him talking about how much fun it was being in a foxhole 1.5 miles from ground zero, and digging out the rad badges and other stuff he kept as a souveneir, then seeing that there is no record to be found ANYWHERE that his unit was anywhere near where the tests were done has always fascinated me with the subject; hopefully someone will slip up and release a unit list for the Guinea Pig troops.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by TodMinuit (1026042)
      I've been searching for years for some of the info on the nuclear tests done in the late 50's, as my dad was in 13 of them.

      What kind of super powers does he have?
    • I love (meaning deplore) it when common knowledge is an 'offical secret'. Example, the BT Tower [wikipedia.org], a 175m tall structure in London was an offical secret until 1994, so it didn't actually exist (Reference [urban75.org])... This is, of course, extremely stupid because it gives an opening for people to be prosecuted over the taking a photo of it if the government of the time happens to have a grudge against that person.
  • by MarkusQ (450076) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @09:27AM (#17386566) Journal

    I was recently pleased to discover that our leaders have hit upon an ideal solution for the perennial problem of that pesky public eventually getting their hands on documents like this. It's so simple, I don't know why they didn't think of it sooner.

    Don't produce the information that will make you look bad in the first place.

    For instance:

    • After a government report showed an increase in terrorism around the world, the administration announced it would stop publishing its annual report on international terrorism.
    • A rule change at the U.S. Geological Survey restricts agency scientists from publishing or discussing research without that information first being screened by higher-ups at the agency. Special screening will be given to "findings or data that may be especially newsworthy, have an impact on government policy, or contradict previous public understanding to ensure that proper officials are notified and that communication strategies are developed.
    • The Treasury Department stopped producing reports showing how the benefits of tax cuts were distributed by income class.
    • After the Bureau of Labor Statistics uncovered discouraging data about factory closings in the U.S., the administration announced it would stop publishing information about factory closings.

    Of course, the old trick of covering up / reclassifying things is still in use as well:

    • The FBI attempted to retroactively classify public information regarding the case of bureau whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, including a series of letters between the Justice Department and several senators.
    • President Bush issued an executive order limiting the public's access to presidential records. The order undermined the 1978 Presidential Records Act, which required the release of those records after 12 years. Bush's order prevented the release of "68,000 pages of confidential communications between President Ronald Reagan and his advisers," some of whom had positions in the Bush Administration.
    • The Federal Communications Commission blocked access to a once-public database of network outages affecting telecommunications service providers. The FCC removed public copies and exempted the information from Freedom of Information Act requests, saying it would "jeopardize national security efforts."
    • The Federal Communications Commission ordered destroyed all copies of an unreleased 2004 draft report concluding that media consolidation hurt local TV news coverage, which runs counter to the administration's pro-consolidation stance.
    • ...and so on.

    Still, I think the new approach is much more elegant and will probably save the taxpayers a lot in the long run.

    --MarkusQ P.S. Sources and many more examples here [tpmmuckraker.com].

    • If it was possible to mod you even higher I would.
      • by kalirion (728907)
        At the moment, he only has +3 Informative. There's room for another mod in there. I'm guessing you saw the Karma bonus or something. I don't think Karma bonuses affect how much a post can be modded.
    • by jafac (1449)
      Here is an additional (recently compiled) list of Bush Administration coverups:

      http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/002237.php [tpmmuckraker.com]
  • by Bromskloss (750445) <auxiliary,address,for,privacy&gmail,com> on Thursday December 28, 2006 @09:28AM (#17386576)
    I'm not very much for the state having secrets to its people -- the state is created by the people because they needed one, after all. If there still is a great need to keep a secret (just a small need doesn't cut it for me), then so be it, I guess. BUT, any fact kept secret without reson to do so i an abomination! There should be measures taken to ensure that everything that can be revealed is revealed (not the other way around).

    I'm not talking specifically about the USA here -- I'm not an american -- but the same thing applies to any state.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sbben (983577)

      There should be measures taken to ensure that everything that can be revealed is revealed

      And there are such measures! And you are looking at them. It is required that US documents be declassified after a certain period of time. That's the point of an article like this.

      What I think you meant is why are secrets ever kept in the first place. Well, for very good reason. You can't have military plans circulating weeks before an attack can you. Secrets are there for good reason. The public can't be trusted with everything. This is the very same reason why the US doesn't use a popular vote to elec

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by xappax (876447)
        Secrets are there for good reason. The public can't be trusted with everything.

        The ability to keep secrets from the public is a form of power. This power can be used sparingly and responsibly - like your example of keeping battle plans secret before the battle. I don't think anyone would claim that absolute transparency should be expected - I don't want the nuclear launch procedures and authentication information to be public information!

        Like most forms power, the ability to keep secrets can also be
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by freedom_india (780002)
        The public can't be trusted with everything. This is the very same reason why the US doesn't use a popular vote to elect its president. The electoral college was put into place to keep too much power being placed on the layman.

        Who decides who is the Public? The elected president, or the King? You seem to be like Dick Cheney, who thinks Executive power is absolute and anything NOT specified in the constituion belongs to the President by Right. Which includes detention of US citizens without trial in Gitmo

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cdrguru (88047)

          During the second world war, just before the Normandy Invasion, Allied reporters were briefed in FULL by Eisinowher (the then commanding C-in-C). He told them exactly when and where the invastion would happen, but told them it is their responsibility to keep it secret. The reporters cried "dirty pool", but kept their mouths shut UNTIL the invasion had taken place. No One, i mean NO ONE sold the secrets to the Enemy. FFW to 3 years ago, and the families of the troops were offiically NOT told about their spou

  • So that's where all that NYE confetti comes from! I always wondered. Thanks, Feds! Party on!
  • UFOs!!!!!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by curtisk (191737) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @09:30AM (#17386606) Homepage Journal
    Wow. The 25 most used search terms in the last month [ucia.gov] at the CIA's FOIA document request.

    UFOs are at the top!

    Considering the rest of that list, its very interesting how pervasive the questions around UFOs are. Sadly, sasquatch has fallen out of public favor...

  • the date is wrong? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by name*censored* (884880) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @10:12AM (#17386902)
    uh, if they're being declassified at exactly the start of the new year(ie, 1 second after 11:59:59 12/31), then wouldn't that mean that they're ACTUALLY being declassified on the 1/1? The new day actually begins at 00:00:00...

    Also with this september 11/conspiracy theory/craziness spin that this thread has taken... If they were clever enough to blow up (their own) building and cover it up, surely they would be clever enough to
    1) Do a good job of covering it up (recycled argument from moon landing conspiracy)
    2) Pick something that wasn't so difficult to orchestrate (rigging an inner city building with explosives with no credible witnesses willing to testify) eg, a chemical attack (like the 95 subway thing), a car/truck-bomb (terrorists seem to like those), or attacks on foreign US embassies.
    3) Pick something that more strongly supports attacking Iraq - they had to do an AWFUL lot of fancy footwork to get from "an afghani terrorist blowing up a US building" to "attack a regime which had little to do with 9/11 (although still guilty of terrible atrocities)"
    4) Forget trying to attack anything.. the government spin engine is an incredibly powerful one, it would be just as easy to justify a war with no 9/11 than having to orchestrate a 9/11 attack AND THEN justify a war with it.

    It's a little ignorant to say what SHOULD happen and compare it to what DID happen, considering there are thousands of variables involved that we'll never accurately know (how much fuel the plane had, its exact speed, its exact mass, the exact condition of the building, its weight load, its natural fault lines, the fault lines created by the impact of the plane, other environmental elements etc etc etc). Plus, if the conspirators didn't expect it to fall over (enough to put use secondary explosives, which would be a big giveaway) just from a plane crash, then why would they think that we wouldn't figure it out? There are enough demolition experts out there that it would be a glaring omission to ignore the fact that the experts would notice that a plane couldn't do that on it's own. It's much like how you cannot see the stars in the background of the moonwalk, it's too obvious for such a big conspiracy to miss, the "moon's reflection makes too much contrast" argument is so weak that it must be true. It's much more sensible to disregard the conspiracy given that it's unnecessary and far too difficult a conspiracy to organise.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @11:19AM (#17387450)
    Is it a will as in "they will do it", or one as in "they should, but will come up with a reason not to do it"?

    I've seen my share of US politics lately, so I'm compelled to ask.
  • Media Apathy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrSteveSD (801820) on Thursday December 28, 2006 @12:08PM (#17388012)
    Actually I am always amazed at the amount of incredibly damaging stuff that gets released in the US. For example, things like Operation Northwoods (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Northwoods ), which although never carried out, was a plan to stage terrorist attacks on US assets and blame it on Cuba as an excuse for war.

    Then there are minutes of meetings that provide evidence of war crimes by certain individuals. For example, minutes were released of Henry Kissinger saying "Anything that flies on anything that moves" , which were his bombing orders for Cambodia. If they had evidence like that against Milosevic, his trial would have been over within days.

    Fortunately these damning revelations are largely ignored by the US media. If they were not, perhaps they would stop releasing them in the first place.
    • by c6gunner (950153)
      For example, minutes were released of Henry Kissinger saying "Anything that flies on anything that moves" , which were his bombing orders for Cambodia. If they had evidence like that against Milosevic, his trial would have been over within days.
      Considering that the only genocide in Canbodia was the one carried out by the Khmer Rouge, do you suppose that you might be taking things out of context a wee bit?
  • I cannot wait for google to index this stuff!
  • "In order to protect our children and prevent terrorist attacks, the information you requested has been classified. In addition, if you aren't doing anything illegal, you don't need this information anyway. You aren't doing anything illegal, are you?"
  • I've been looking forward to 2007 for a while, since it's 50 years since Sputnik 1, and lots of stuff gets declassified after 50 years. Witness the enormous amount of new WW2 material in the 1990s. Let's see some real dirt!

    The U.S. government isn't the only one with secrets.

    ...laura

You can do this in a number of ways. IBM chose to do all of them. Why do you find that funny? -- D. Taylor, Computer Science 350

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