Secrecy

U.S. Government Increasingly Prone To Classify Information

Reducing transparency and increasing the need for employees to have security clearances

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In the sprawling national intelligence community where nearly 5 million Americans have security clearances, more and more information is being classified, creating an even more massive secrecy bureaucracy.

Experts say the tendency to err on the side of classification is watering down the definition of "secret," leading to more people needing security clearances to do even non-sensitive government jobs and meaning that true secrets could potentially be accessed by more people.

Enter Edward Snowden: The former Booz Allen Hamilton contractor who used his security clearance to access and leak details of a controversial National Security Agency phone and Internet tracking programs. Though leaks like these are the exception, experts say Snowden showed the weaknesses of a ballooning national security structure that has no incentive to shrink.