Congress opens secrets to local first responders

(AP, 2/3/09)

Terrorists could be lurking in some American town, but the local sheriff or fire chief might be left in the dark about the threat because he can’t easily access information classified by the Feds in Washington. That scenario could change under legislation passed by the House to reduce overclassification of threat information.

“Classifying information for the wrong reasons — to protect turf or to avoid embarrassment — is wrong,” said Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., sponsor of the bill that passed on a voice vote. She said that in her eight years on the House Intelligence Committee, “I become incredibly frustrated with this practice — which the Bush administration elevated to an art form.” The legislation would require the Homeland Security Department to produce a declassified version of threat information for state and local first responders who don’t have the security clearance to view classified material.

About Tim McDowell

Colorado ACFEI Member's Homeland Security Weblog
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