Keeping Non-Secret 40-year-old Secrets Secret


From Congressional Quarterly:

Kent Conrad, D-N.D., at a March 1 hearing of the Senate Budget Committee, was addressing Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz about the defense budget. Perhaps because the Middle East is so important to that budget, Conrad began to recall his high school days in the mid-1960s at Wheelus Air Force Base in Libya. In the course of that recollection, the senator said: "Five blocks away lived a relative of mine who happened to be the CIA station chief, Harden Smith."

It was a throwaway line, but in fact, it was classified because CIA station chiefs are covert operatives. After the hearing, the Budget Committee got a call from the Pentagon requesting that the panel delete the line from its official transcript, which it did. […]

Conrad was not the only one who was asked to delete the information. Congressional Quarterly, which posts transcripts of hearings on, likewise was asked to remove this one. The request to CQ, like that to the Budget Committee, came not from the CIA but from the Pentagon's Office of Legislative Affairs. It did not come until a month after the hearing, without explanation of the putative security risk. CQ declined.

Link via The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.