Thursday, January 6, 2011

January 5-6, 2011 -- With crackdown on government leaks, expect no straight answers or disclosures on quakes, mass animal die-offs

With a new procedure being implemented by Office of Management and Budget director Jacob Lew on the handling of classified information and reporting on disgruntlement, behavior changes, and contact with the media by federal employees who have access to classified information, there will be a cascading effect throughout the government with increased over-classification of information, according to federal employees who have witnessed such "reinvention of the wheel" on security in the past.

In the wake of the Wikileaks disclosures, Lew is asking department and agency heads in aJanuary 3, 2010, memorandum whether they have mechanisms in place "to report [employee] contacts with the media."

Although the Obama administration vowed to be the most "transparent" and open in recent history, the record shows that federal departments and agencies are classifying more and mroe information under the "national security" rubric.

The cascading effect of the January 3 memo from Lew will trickle down to agencies that are not normally involved with classified information. However, because of the tendency to over-classify information for a number of reasons, including "critical infrastructure protection," "homeland" security, and "counter-terrorism," agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the US Geological Survey, Interior Department, US Coast Guard, and others that withheld critical information in the Gulf of Mexico BP oil disaster, will have new impetus to restrict information for "national security"-related reasons.

Within the homeland security structure, the new OMB restrictions will undoubtedly filter down to the state and local levels.

OMB is stressing the need for departments and agencies to implement "trustworthiness" programs. "insider threat" reporting procedures, and "security sentinel" or "co-pilot" policing (snitch) procedures.

As more and more reports from around the world are received about massive animal die-offs, as well as other mysterious weather and earthquake anomalies, the Obama administration's clamp down on disclosure of information that is in the public interest will increase the inability of journalists to report the news.

For that, we have Julian Assange, the one-time disruptive and destructive computer hacker, to thank.

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