Saturday, June 15, 2013

Pay No Attention to the Surveillance Secrets Behind the Curtain, Senate Staffers Told

Pay No Attention to the Surveillance Secrets Behind the Curtain, Senate Staffers Told:
Reason 24/7We all know that reality and government mix
really, really badly. So, even as much of the world peruses
information revealed by Edward Snowden about the National Security
Agency's creepy, intrusive and wide-ranging snooping of telephone
communications and Internet activity, Senate staffers have been
told to pretend that the document-dump never happened.
The Senate Security Office sent an email around the Hill Friday
afternoon asking Senate employees and contractors to try to ignore
the fact that top-secret, highly-classified documents are now
floating around the Web freely (and, in the case of a terribly
designed NSA Powerpoint, getting facelifts.) The email asks
security managers to remind Senate employees and contractors that
the documents are still technically classified and should be
treated as if millions of people haven’t already read them. The
"Please share with your staff the guidance below.
  • Classified information, whether or not posted on public
    websites, disclosed to the media, or otherwise in the public
    domain, remains classified and must be treated as such until it is
    declassified by an appropriate U.S. government authority. ...
  • Senate employees and contractors shall not, while accessing the
    web on unclassified government systems, access or download
    documents that are known or suspected to contain classified
    information. ...
  • Senate employees and contractors who believe they may have
    inadvertently accessed or downloaded classified information via
    non-classified Senate systems, should contact the Office of Senate
    Security for assistance.
Note that this isn't an isolated head-in-the-sand moment. As
Wired noted
on Tuesday
, the Defense Department issued a nearly identical
order to employees and contractors regarding the NSA revelations.
And when WikiLeaks released its treasure trove of diplomatic
cables, the Obama administration issued
similar guidance
to all federal government employees
and contractors.
Maybe this helps to explain why government employees sometimes
seem like the most poorly informed people on the planet.
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