Now you see it, now you don’t!

In a seven-year-old secret program at the National Archives*, intelligence agencies have been removing from public access thousands of historical documents that were available for years. (New York Times, 21.2.06)

* the US of A version

And in a spectacular irony, “eight reclassified documents had been previously published in the State Department’s history series, ‘Foreign Relations of the United States.'” Very clever. I’m sure that most functionaries in the State department (and the various versions thereof that lie around the world) would love to get released papers (e.g. under the 30 year rule), and put them back into hiding, but they’ve already had one shot at it – not all documents are released and some are protected for many years – so this is a little bit unreasonable.

The National Archives responded today, saying that they are now auditing the reclassification programme. However, they weren’t very forthcoming on the scale of the operation or how/why it was approved in the first place.


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