2 thoughts on “Hey, Check This Out (Politics Edition)! (2023)

  1. This post, on classified information, probably deserves a separate thread, but I suspect you guys won’t be very interested in this topic. Yet, given the revelations about Biden and now Pence having classified information in their private homes/offices, as well as the ongoing investigation with Trump’s handling of classified information, I think the topic is worth thinking about, especially since there is some important nuance to the issue.

    For this post, I’m drawing on two articles: Seeking Context for Hillarygate from Scott Lilly in Huffingtonpost and Sloppiness in Handling Highly Classified Information is Widespread from John Sipher, a former CIA officer, at Cipher Brief. Both articles came out in 2016, when Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information was an issue during the presidential campaign.

    Both articles provide really important contextual information that I wish the press emphasized a lot more. The contextual information is also important to know now.

    Here are some key points:

    • When I hear of “classified information,” I think of top secret information that would damage the security and interests if it were made public. But not all classified information is like this.
    • From John Sipher, “The level of classification of a specific document is based on a judgment call as to how damaging the information would be if released. Reasonable and experienced people can disagree, and find it expedient to simply classify at the higher level.” It makes sense to do this, but it also leads to overclassification–that is, some classified information doesn’t really warrant this designation.
    • Because of this, Sipher says that, policymakers can have a dismissive attitude toward the status of classified information–that is, there is a boy-crying-wolf effect going on. Overall, Sipher and Lilly point out that mishandling classified information by senior officials is not uncommon. There are some justifiable reasons for this.

    Here are five important questions that Lilly thinks should be asked (and both articles provide some answers to them):

    1.When the word classified material is used, what are we talking about?

    2.What are the procedures for those who must deal with classified information to communicate with one another about its meaning for the policies they are responsible for shaping?

    3.How often do officials violate the best practices for handling classified material?

    4.How significant were the Clinton (insert: Trump, Biden, Pence) violations?

    5.How has the government responded to significant mistakes in the handling of classified material in recent history?

  2. Former Senior F.B.I. Official in New York Charged With Aiding Oligarch from NYT

    The oligarch in question is Oleg Deripaska, a guy Paul Manafort owed a lot of money to.

    This is also interesting:

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