“When Secrecy Gets Out of Hand”

08.10.11 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The government’s relentless pursuit of people suspected of mishandling or leaking classified information underscores the need to combat the misuse of classification authority, wrote J. William Leonard, the former director of the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times today.

“The Obama administration, which has criminally prosecuted more leakers of purportedly classified information than all previous administrations combined, needs to stop and assess the way the government classifies information in the first place.”

“Classifying information that should not be kept secret can be just as harmful to the national interest as unauthorized disclosures of appropriately classified information,” he wrote.  See “When Secrecy Gets Out of Hand” by J. William Leonard, Los Angeles Times, August 10.

Mr. Leonard recently filed a complaint with the new ISOO director, John Fitzpatrick, based on his assessment that a document that served as a basis for criminal prosecution in the case of Thomas Drake should never have been classified at all.