Importance of Basics: ISOO Director Leonard on Classification Policy   [open pdf - 21KB]

"The director of the government office responsible for overseeing national security classification policy sounded a warning this week that the integrity of the classification system may be in danger. 'While the policy for security classification as set forth by the President is fundamentally sound, lately I have become increasingly concerned with respect to how the basics are being implemented in some quarters,' said J. William Leonard, director of the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO). Noting indications of excessive classification, Mr. Leonard suggested a link to the 'veritable epidemic of leaks' experienced by some agencies, which he said are "part and parcel of what occurs when individuals begin to lose confidence in the security classification system." Speaking to an annual gathering of classification officials convened by the National Classification Management Society Tuesday in Reno, Nevada, Mr. Leonard called for closer attention to 'the basics' of classification policy. It is true, he said, that 'Too little classification can subject our citizens, our democratic institutions, our homeland security, and our interactions with foreign nations to potential harm.' But 'Too much classification unnecessarily impedes effective information sharing, and inappropriate classification undermines the integrity of the entire process.'"

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