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Wed Oct 7, 2015, 06:23 PM

Edward Snowden, Purdue, Barton Gellman and National Security vs. Academic Freedom and Over-Reaction



"UPDATE: Just after posting this item I received an email from Julie Rosa, who heads strategic communications for Purdue. She confirmed that Purdue wiped my video after consulting the Defense Security Service, but the university now believes it went too far.

“In an overreaction while attempting to comply with regulations, the video was ordered to be deleted instead of just blocking the piece of information in question. Just FYI: The conference organizers were not even aware that any of this had happened until well after the video was already gone.”
“I’m told we are attempting to recover the video, but I have not heard yet whether that is going to be possible. When I find out, I will let you know and we will, of course, provide a copy to you.”
Let’s rewind. Information Assurance? Site Security?

These are familiar terms elsewhere, but new to me in a university context. I learned that Purdue, like a number of its peers, has a “facility security clearance” to perform classified U.S. government research. The manual of regulations runs to 141 pages. (Its terms forbid uncleared trustees to ask about the work underway on their campus, but that’s a subject for another day.) The pertinent provision here, spelled out at length in a manual called Classified Information Spillage, requires “sanitization, physical removal, or destruction” of classified information discovered on unauthorized media.

If I had the spider sense that we journalists like to claim, I might have seen trouble coming. One of the first questions in the Q & A that followed my talk was:

“In the presentation you just gave, you were showing documents that were TS/SCI [top secret, sensitive compartmented information] and things like that. Since documents started to become published, has the NSA issued a declass order for that?”

I took the opportunity to explain the government’s dilemmas when classified information becomes available to anyone with an internet connection. I replied:

“These documents, by and large, are still classified. And in many cases, if you work for the government and you have clearance, you’re not allowed to go look at them…”

“Now, it’s perfectly rational for them to say, we’re not going to declassify everything that gets leaked because otherwise we’re letting someone else decide what’s classified and what’s not. But it gets them wound up in pretty bad knots.”

By way of example, I mentioned that the NSA, CIA, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence “have steadfastly refused to give me a secure channel to communicate with them” about the Snowden leaks. Bound by rules against mingling classified and unclassified communications networks, they will not accept, for example, encrypted emails from me that discuss Top Secret material. In service of secrecy rules, they resort to elliptical conversation on open telephone lines.

My remarks did not answer the question precisely enough for one post-doctoral research engineer. He stood, politely, to nail the matter down.

“Were the documents you showed tonight unclassified?” he asked.

“No. They’re classified still,” I replied.

“Thank you,” he said, and resumed his seat."

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Reply Edward Snowden, Purdue, Barton Gellman and National Security vs. Academic Freedom and Over-Reaction (Original post)
SandersDem Oct 2015 OP
daleanime Oct 2015 #1
bemildred Oct 2015 #2
MrMickeysMom Oct 2015 #3

Response to SandersDem (Original post)

Wed Oct 7, 2015, 07:05 PM

1. Bookmarked

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Response to SandersDem (Original post)

Wed Oct 7, 2015, 08:17 PM

2. That explains a lot about their failures, the spooks. nt

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Response to SandersDem (Original post)

Wed Oct 7, 2015, 08:39 PM

3. Thank you, SandersDem...

Indeed, it is a SAD day for our system of higher education.

Much easier to apologize for taking your rights away than to follow any due process.

Events recently feel more and more like Chinese water torture... just eroding, chipping away at our freedom, certainly academic.

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