Everything to Hide


An audit by the National Archives finds that more than a third of 25,000 once-public government documents that have been reclassified since 1999 did not contain sensitive information of the sort that justifies keeping material secret. Of the rest, reports The New York Times, "many had already been published or contained old secrets with little practical import." Furthermore, "even withdrawing those documents that included truly significant secrets may have done more harm than good by calling new attention to the sensitivity of records that researchers had read and photocopied for years."

The CIA has a solution to that problem: classify everything. The wrongly classified material included some completely innocuous documents that CIA reviewers decided to remove from public view "simply to obscure the removal of other documents they judged to be genuinely sensitive."

A couple years ago in Reason, Matt Welch revealed the Bush administration's Nixonian penchant for secrecy.