The secrecy dilemma

I've been terribly busy the last few weeks, hence the silence. But, I try to stay up to date with what my co-bloggers say and do. I just love Travels with Shiloh - cynical,tongue-in-the-cheek and in-your-face realism about intel stuff, events and manipulations. Read here what he says about intel's preoccupation/fetish with classification. I'm taking a bit liberty here by copying hm verbatim:

"Yet, far too often, information that is either publicly available or of an entirely trival nature is festooned with some many security caveats that you’d think that it contained the nuclear launch codes.

I think there are three basic reasons for this, two of which are never stated when defending the current practice but which, I believe, exert a considerable force in preventing any real reform to the system.

1.The criminals will know what we know. By far, this is most often cited as the reason by information has to be classified. It assumes that criminals (and there is no distinction made about criminal groups with this argument, both the street level addict ripping off hubcaps for his next fix and the highly sophisticated international criminal network are viewed as equal here) are all conducting intense counter-intelligence operations with advanced collection plans and analysis of their own. In short, agencies argue that criminals are doing a better job of intelligence work than they are. The fact that such operations are exceedingly rare makes no matter. The fact that anyone has done such work anywhere means that we need to act as if everyone is doing it everywhere. This is where the judge’s quote comes into play. Just because you can conceive of a possible threat doesn’t mean that threat is likely. Life isn’t a Tom Clancy novel or an episode of ‘24′.
2.Look, ma! I’m important. Unfortunately, regional, state and local agencies have absorbed the lesson from the federal intelligence community that the only information that is worth looking at is information which is restricted in some way. In many cases this whole thing is a bit of a game since caveats like ‘Law enforcement sensitive’ are useless in their lack of clear definition and sanctions if violated. As a result, agencies put these restrictions on products no so much because of any harm which would result in the event of their unauthorized disclosure but as a badge designed to impart some authority on the product. It’s not uncommon to see media reports, copies at length without additional commentary labeled law enforcement sensitive for no reason other than a lazy and pathetic attempt to generate an aura of authority and expertise. Read more here