Will Cooler Heads Not Prevail?

December 3, 2010 10:42 am

The Library of Congress issues a statement confirming it has blocked Wikileaks on library computers:

The Library decided to block Wikileaks because applicable law obligates federal agencies to protect classified information. Unauthorized disclosures of classified documents do not alter the documents’ classified status or automatically result in declassification of the documents.

I don’t like to be shrill, but this is a nonsensical argument and exceeds any plausible let alone reasonable understanding of what it means to protect classified information.

By the LOC’s logic, it should have blocked the Washington Post when Dana Priest blew the lid off the CIA’s secret prison system and the New York Times when James Risen exposed warrantless wiretapping.

We’ve now taken the protection of classified information — a legitimate goal in many instances — and stretched it to impose on the government an obligation to close normally open public channels of communication because they might contain classified information that’s already in the public domain. We’re unnecessarily starting down a very slippery slope.

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