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OPINION

Ever Wonder Why They Classify So Many Things?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

When it comes to classified documents, most people know nothing. Unless you have or have had a security clearance, the rules for handling these documents aren’t something you’d come in contact with, period. Naturally, with this being politics and media being as horrible as it has become, that doesn’t stop anyone from having an opinion on the subject. But one thing everyone should be asking is why is it that so many things are classified?

I get that the government has to have its secrets, especially when it comes to gathering intelligence from foreign countries, both adversaries and allies. But how could millions of documents be classified, many for decades? Is there that much secret information floating around out there, or is there just that much that our government doesn’t want us to know?

The odds are heavily tilted toward the latter. Just because something is classified does not mean it is protecting some big secret that would jeopardize national security or put the lives of sources at risk. It usually means someone in government decided they wanted to shield that bit of information from Freedom of Information Act requests. 

We are supposed to have access to just about everything our government does so we can see why it chooses to do certain things and not others. That would work well, if we had a government that only did what the Constitution allows it to do, like we’re supposed to. We don’t have that type of government anymore, not anywhere close to it. 

What we do have is a government allocating almost $5 trillion per year in every area of the economy you can possibly imagine. For that enormous sum to happen, the government needs input from the private sector. 

What do I mean by that? Well, even if we had an efficient government, which we do not, there is no way it could ever manage the spending of that much money, it’s impossible. So we have lobbyists “helping.”

You’ve undoubtedly heard of some obscene amount of money some industry spend on politics of lobbying – let’s just say Planned Parenthood spends $500,000,000 on electing and lobbying Democrats per year. You hear that and think, “My God, who would ever spend that kind of money? What a waste!” 

Well, it is a waste…unless you look at the return on that investment. Let’s just say Planned Parenthood gets $10 billion in government grants, contracts, consulting fees, etc. Does that seem like a waste now?

When you hear an industry spent X-million last year lobbying, they usually get exponentially more money back from the government. They aren’t stupid. But our government doesn’t want us to know.

File a Freedom of Information Request for anything remotely controversial and see how long it takes. Misplace a comma or don’t use specific enough language and see what you get back. Dot every I and cross every T and see how many pages you get back that completely blacked out. The government doesn’t want you to know what it is doing or why.

These requests don’t have to do with national security, they usually have to do with things that would embarrass the government, so they slap a classification on them. Why not? Who’s able to challenge them?

We still have hundreds of documents classified from assassination of John F. Kennedy. Why? At this point, who is still alive who could be embarrassed or implicated? I think a large percentage of the public, if not a majority at this point, believe the CIA was involved, if only because the government keeps hiding this information. So, the only way they could actually be embarrassed is if they had all the information available and dropped the ball – totally missed all the red flags and, through incompetence, let it happen. Think “Zacarias Moussaoui’s laptop” and “9/11,” and maybe you get close. 

Whatever the case, we can handle it. People in the government won’t let us.

No matter what the idiots on The View think, declassifying documents is a time-consuming task limited to very few, not the Vice-President. Some things are classified for very good reason. No President is going to just declassify everything related to an event, so he puts people in charge of redacting whatever might harm people or whatever, so the rest can be released. But there is no reason to believe or trust the people doing this. So much they’ve released with blotted out sections were later released to reveal nothing important or embarrassing at all. So why the hell was it blocked to begin with?

Because there is no standard. Just some people tasked with leafing through information and withholding what they think needs to be withheld. It’s usually that arbitrary. 

But declassification is not the end that creates the problem, it’s the other end; the start. We need to limit the scope of things that can be classified in the first place. At least then, when someone is caught with classified material where it shouldn’t, years after they should’ve been cut off from it, we’d know whether it was something serious or not, and we wouldn’t have to rely on an idiot reading the same “I’m not going to comment” line from her script folder to find out how much damage may have been done to national security, or how much money may have been contracted to someone’s drug addicted son for that information.

Derek Hunter is the host of a free daily podcast (subscribe!), host of a daily radio show, and author of the book, Outrage, INC., which exposes how liberals use fear and hatred to manipulate the masses, and host of the weekly “Week in F*cking Review” podcast where the news is spoken about the way it deserves to be. Follow him on Twitter at @DerekAHunter.

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