Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 21 to 40 of 55

Thread: Social Scientists Work Being Involuntarily Classified

  1. #21
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Rancho La Espada, Blanchard, OK
    Posts
    1,065

    Default Going beyond the classified

    Abu Suleyman, you are spot on! Far more insidious than classification is the new twist on the old theme of "administrative protection" usually FOUO. We all understood pretty well tha FOUO was not a classification but was used to protect privacy or the government from running afoul of plagiarism charges and copyright violations. But now some idiot has come up with Sensitive But Unclassified - whatever the hell that means! By the EO that establishes US classification (see Wm's link for the ref) information is classified if its unauthorized diclosure will harm (classification guidance provides the terms for degree of harm that establish whether information is Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret) the security of the US. If the information doesn't fall into that category, it is unclassified - period! SBS is just what the las 2 letters say - BS, designed to protect the guilty!!!!! So much for my rant of the day.

    Marc, when I was doing my dissertation on local politics in rural Peru (1966 -68) I followed the anthropological convention of disguising the names of my informants and the people under observation. At the time, we didn't assume a power relationship, rather it was simply to protect their privacy. Had my dissertation been translated into Spanish, anybody from my towns could easily have identified the people I was talking about. As to the English, since a couple of key players were Peace Corps Volunteers, it was a matter od peotecting their privacy and not much more. Again, any social science researcher could easily have discovered the identities of my informants and the people I observed - even if they didn't ask me. I would have been happy to have given them that information anyway.

    Cheers

    JohnT

  2. #22
    Council Member wm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    On the Lunatic Fringe
    Posts
    1,237

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    Far more insidious than classification is the new twist on the old theme of "administrative protection" usually FOUO. We all understood pretty well tha FOUO was not a classification but was used to protect privacy or the government from running afoul of plagiarism charges and copyright violations. But now some idiot has come up with Sensitive But Unclassified - whatever the hell that means!
    John T

    It gets better and better. SBU is being replaced by CUI, which is supposed to roll up most of the handling caveats into a couple of categories,

    The White House has issued a memorandum on the designation and sharing of information that is unclassified, but is deemed sensitive in nature. The new Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) framework replaces the existing Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) categorization; three new categories replace the "at least 107 unique markings and more than 131 different labeling or handling processes and procedures for SBU information"
    Here's a link
    Last edited by marct; 07-08-2008 at 06:52 PM. Reason: fixed link
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
    The greatest educational dogma is also its greatest fallacy: the belief that what must be learned can necessarily be taught. Sydney J. Harris

  3. #23
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Rancho La Espada, Blanchard, OK
    Posts
    1,065

    Default SBU not SBS

    I was so lost in my rant that I forgot how to create an abbreviation.

    Wm, your link didn't work... Is CUI a formal EO or merely a BS designation? After all, Congress has never passed a classification law, so we operate on an EO. That being the case, an EO has more of the weight of law than a mere statement of policy. Hence my question?

    Cheers

    JohnT

  4. #24
    Council Member marct's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    3,682

    Default

    Hi John,

    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    Marc, when I was doing my dissertation on local politics in rural Peru (1966 -68) I followed the anthropological convention of disguising the names of my informants and the people under observation. At the time, we didn't assume a power relationship, rather it was simply to protect their privacy. Had my dissertation been translated into Spanish, anybody from my towns could easily have identified the people I was talking about. As to the English, since a couple of key players were Peace Corps Volunteers, it was a matter od peotecting their privacy and not much more. Again, any social science researcher could easily have discovered the identities of my informants and the people I observed - even if they didn't ask me. I would have been happy to have given them that information anyway.
    Very similar to my MA research. The names of individuals were changed or obscured from the general public, but anyone in the community would know who they were. In my case, since I was looking at the institutionalization of modern Witchcraft, the concern was both with privacy and a certain amount of paranoia. The only record of real name = pseudonym I kept was in my head, and I would never give that information to anyone (it was a field condition; FYI, the informed consent forms were signed with "craft names" not legal names).

    The "power relationship" is an interesting problem, and I've watched a shift over the past 20 years in how it is portrayed in the classroom from a privacy concern to a power relation concern. One of my best students make a comment to me over a couple of beers to the effect that Anthropologists had an insanely inflated ego if they thought they had that much power .
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  5. #25
    Council Member wm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    On the Lunatic Fringe
    Posts
    1,237

    Default Another try for the link

    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    I was so lost in my rant that I forgot how to create an abbreviation.

    Wm, your link didn't work... Is CUI a formal EO or merely a BS designation? After all, Congress has never passed a classification law, so we operate on an EO. That being the case, an EO has more of the weight of law than a mere statement of policy. Hence my question?

    Cheers

    JohnT
    Since my time to edit the original post has elapsed, here is a revised version of the original link.

    CUI is found in a Presidential memorandum, not quite of the same exalted status as an Executive Order--a link to the press release of the memo is here
    Last edited by marct; 07-08-2008 at 06:52 PM.
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
    The greatest educational dogma is also its greatest fallacy: the belief that what must be learned can necessarily be taught. Sydney J. Harris

  6. #26
    Council Member marct's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    3,682

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    Since my time to edit the original post has elapsed, here is a revised version of the original link.
    Taken care of....
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  7. #27
    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Posts
    1,127

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    Abu Suleyman, you are spot on! Far more insidious than classification is the new twist on the old theme of "administrative protection" usually FOUO. We all understood pretty well tha FOUO was not a classification but was used to protect privacy or the government from running afoul of plagiarism charges and copyright violations. But now some idiot has come up with Sensitive But Unclassified - whatever the hell that means! By the EO that establishes US classification (see Wm's link for the ref) information is classified if its unauthorized diclosure will harm (classification guidance provides the terms for degree of harm that establish whether information is Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret) the security of the US. If the information doesn't fall into that category, it is unclassified - period! SBS is just what the las 2 letters say - BS, designed to protect the guilty!!!!! So much for my rant of the day.


    Cheers

    JohnT
    John,

    Some sympathy for your rant, but the reason for the FOUO/SBU classification run amok is the need to talk over NIPR about things that people don't want broadcast to the world - you make things confidenial or secret they MUST move to SIPR, which decreases the number of people who can/have access to see it by 99%. So I am perpetually confused, if I compose an unclassified document on NIPR discussing something I don't want to get out to the public, how do I classify it if not FOUO or similar? Obviously, it won't do great harm to national security if it did (it is unclass), but it isn't what I want to broadcast either.
    "A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
    Who is Cavguy?

  8. #28
    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Belly of the beast
    Posts
    2,112

    Default

    Not sure if it relevant or not, but I was asked "nicely" to produce a document, and then review a consolidated document. Not what I would call "research" just me being a nice guy helping a fellow traveler out. This was all clean, totally, unclassified. I then edited, submitted, and walked away from the project. The generation of the document was totally open source and my experience.

    I attempted to download the document at a later date from the government website where it had been posted but it had been classified FOUO, and the re-classified and since the classification is FOUO I have no idea at what level. I did not know a classification could be classified or I may simply not understand the mechanisms in play.

    Now this was me being a nice guy, not "research", but I wonder if am I carrying around a top secret uber national security risk in my archives folder? Are Natasha and Boris looking for me right now? More important could I get somebody in trouble by having the original copy? This could mean free beer for life or something.
    Sam Liles
    Selil Blog
    Don't forget to duck Secret Squirrel
    The scholarship of teaching and learning results in equal hatred from latte leftists and cappuccino conservatives.
    All opinions are mine and may or may not reflect those of my employer depending on the chance it might affect funding, politics, or the setting of the sun. As such these are my opinions you can get your own.

  9. #29
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Rancho La Espada, Blanchard, OK
    Posts
    1,065

    Default Nipr???

    Cav Guy, I'm not entirely sure what NIPR net is. I understand the SIPRnet is secure. But let me talk about something really unclas and unofficial - this site and my email (ou.edu). Generally, if I don't want something spread widely, I use my email account. It is relatively secure - not completely - but relatively so. If I want to discuss it more widely, I would do so here - knowing that I risk some bad guys having access but recognizing that not everybody monitors this site. If I want to carry on a discussion here more privately I go PM. There is also and always snail mail and the telephone. Bottom line, I think, is the uncommon qualities of common sense and good judgment.

    Sam, FOUO is NOT a classification but a protective marking. So, your doc has not been classified at all. Here are a couple of suggestions depending on how much you want to screw with the system:
    1. Ask the guy you were helping out to email you a copy - after all it's yours.
    2. Take your original (or recreate it if you must), put your name on it, and post it to your blog along with the story.
    3. Contact the agency that made it FOUO and threaten to sue them for violation of copyright - which exists even if you never registered it, as I'm sure you know.

    Let us know how it all comes out.

    Cheers

    JohnT

  10. #30
    Council Member Abu Suleyman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Montgomery, AL
    Posts
    131

    Default Where do we go from here?

    BLUF: The free flow of information is good, and we in this forum should educate ourselves, and those around us to ensure that information continues to flow.

    I think that it is obvious that I have touched a nerve here, and the problem is far greater than I originally feared. The question, then, is where do we go from here.

    As I see it, the problem is actually ignorance. (Isn't ignorance so often a part of the problem.) Of course there are three levels of ignorance:
    1) On the part of the government and government officials there is ignorance on the actual policy and the role that classifications and caveats play.
    2) On the part of academics there is ignorance about security clearances and procedures (and how to work with them, instead of against them).
    3) On the part of everyone on the role that non-governmental people could play in 'fixing problems'. Basically, I don't know that there is any plan at all, outside of fits and starts like HTS.

    Far from being helpless in this forum, there are many educated and connected people here. I think that if we do our homework, we could come up with enough information. I am looking into trying to find out what is already available, but if anyone knows of classes that you can take on classification procedures, that would be great.

    I look to the recent past, when Fermi and Oppenheimer helped end WWII by building the nuclear bomb, and luminaries such as George Kennan shaped foreign policy. (In fairness, Kennan was a Statie at the time.) Now we have an 'Us vs. Them' mentality, where 'Us' is the government (to include some contractors) and 'Them' is the people.

    I am not a Utopian who believes that state secrets should be out in the open. Nevertheless, there is already an abundance of information available which is not classified. I am also showing my political science colors when I say that I believe, even at the cost of sharing it with those who wish us in the West ill, we should make sure that information is more available rather than less. We cannot turn off the Internet, nor hide under a rock. It is far better that we talk about where we want to go and how to get there with as many people as possible to get as good an idea as possible.

    Open the curtains and let the light shine in!
    Audentes adiuvat fortuna
    "Abu Suleyman"

  11. #31
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Rancho La Espada, Blanchard, OK
    Posts
    1,065

    Default Once again

    spot on - at least from my perspective. But then, we political scientists should stick together.

    One additional comment regarding Kennan: His Long Telegram was the intellectual rationale for the containment policy and the strategy contained in NSC 68. Kennan published it under the nom de plume of "X" in Foreign Affairs while still in government. Clearly supports your premise of openness (as well as national self confidence).

    Cheers

    JohnT

  12. #32
    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Posts
    1,127

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    Cav Guy, I'm not entirely sure what NIPR net is. I understand the SIPRnet is secure. But let me talk about something really unclas and unofficial - this site and my email (ou.edu). Generally, if I don't want something spread widely, I use my email account. It is relatively secure - not completely - but relatively so. If I want to discuss it more widely, I would do so here - knowing that I risk some bad guys having access but recognizing that not everybody monitors this site. If I want to carry on a discussion here more privately I go PM. There is also and always snail mail and the telephone. Bottom line, I think, is the uncommon qualities of common sense and good judgment.
    The problem is the control over the forward button on other people's computers.

    NIPR is the unclassified military commercial internet backbone. It is the internet connection everyone has in DoD for computer use. It is not really restricted in any way than it is maintained through DoD gateways/routers rather than an ISP's.

    One thing I know the SWJEDs and others deal with is documents not labeled with a handling restriction. I see a lot of good AAR's from the field, with great tips for the troops. In them are tactics, techniques, and procedures that are not classified, but sensitive. I wouldn't want AQIZ to know about how company commanders are placing the .50 cal in their defensive perimeters in Afghanistan. However, that is not to the level of SECRET information, IMO. (actual base/location of data would be, but TTP is not generally) If it gets classifed secret, or confidential, I just reduced the number of people with access (not clearance, there is a difference) to see it by 99%. So these day's get gets labled UNCLASS/FOUO REL (release) NATO, etc. The understood instruction is "only distribute to those with official need, but unclassified". The second issue is unclassified assessments of operations/performance. Without a handling restriction, every email you send may wind up on the Washington Post, taken out of context, which reduces the community's willingness to share information.

    In the pre-internet age this was done through branch mags and a multitude of pamphlets. The enemy had limited access to them just due to physical separation and the costs to reprodouce, and then only after some time. Today these documents spread instantly.

    I don't know what the answer is, I just know that whether intended or not UNCLASS/FOUO has come to be the label that people attach to documents that are unclassified that we would prefer to stay within DoD, or at least allied, circles. Moving everything to SIPR isn't the answer, because of limited stations/access, and inablity to share SIPR with coalition partners.

    If it's not the right answer, we need to develop something to replace its use. We all know FOUO may leak out, but at least most responsible people (like the SWJED editors) won't forward FOUO stuff outside the military. Just bad OPSEC, and bad business.
    Last edited by Cavguy; 07-09-2008 at 02:36 PM.
    "A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
    Who is Cavguy?

  13. #33
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    3,195

    Default

    One of the things I see from a researcher's standpoint is that a good deal of stuff that used to be "for public release" is now being swept into AKO/AF Portal/other restricted access. Standard doctrine publications are part of this, and now Armor has gone behind the Internet "iron curtain." Not especially helpful for those of us that have an interest in such things, and I think it also extends beyond that.

    I tend to run closer to John and Abu's position (at least as I understand it). On one hand the military complains that people don't understand them, and then they start restricting access to what used to be open source information that might help people understand them. Sure, there's stuff you don't want the bad guys to know. I get that, and it makes sense. But I'm starting to feel that the broom is sweeping too wide now.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

  14. #34
    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Posts
    1,127

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    One of the things I see from a researcher's standpoint is that a good deal of stuff that used to be "for public release" is now being swept into AKO/AF Portal/other restricted access. Standard doctrine publications are part of this, and now Armor has gone behind the Internet "iron curtain." Not especially helpful for those of us that have an interest in such things, and I think it also extends beyond that.

    I tend to run closer to John and Abu's position (at least as I understand it). On one hand the military complains that people don't understand them, and then they start restricting access to what used to be open source information that might help people understand them. Sure, there's stuff you don't want the bad guys to know. I get that, and it makes sense. But I'm starting to feel that the broom is sweeping too wide now.
    Agree with the over-cautiousness. When the CSA issued the blog/internet OPSEC clampdown message in 2005 it had an immense chill. Everyone over-reacted. The army setting up special units to troll blogs and websites for OPSEC violations didn't help either. LTG Caldwell is leading the charge out from the dark ages, but as always, the Army has trouble not overcorrecting.
    "A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
    Who is Cavguy?

  15. #35
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,457

    Default

    As an intel guy I guess I'm of two minds on this issue and I've seen similar debates take place within the intelligence world. One of my jobs used to involve trying to get intelligence downgraded and/or released for the same reasons Cavguy lists for pushing info down to the unclass level - access. Information is of no value if the people who need it don't have access. In the intelligence world, a careful weighing takes place and information is often "sanitized" to remove source or whatever it is that keeps the info at the higher level. There are procedures and policies to accomplish this as well as personnel who are trained to do it.

    One thing that concerns me with the unclassified caveats is that it's not clear (to me at least) who adjudicates whether something is sensitive or not. Without some standard and without knowledgeable people weighing the costs and benefits of placing information in the classified, unclass or FOUO categories, there is likely to be inconsistency in how the caveats are applied. Another problem, which will hopefully be corrected through standardization, is that too often a document is simply labeled FOUO without any idea of what parts are actually sensitive. Paragraph markings are a good thing. Finally, there doesn't seem to be an expiration for FOUO unlike actual classified information. At what point does a FOUO document become simply unclassified with no restriction? Who knows. That's a problem.

  16. #36
    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Posts
    1,127

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post

    I tend to run closer to John and Abu's position (at least as I understand it). On one hand the military complains that people don't understand them, and then they start restricting access to what used to be open source information that might help people understand them. Sure, there's stuff you don't want the bad guys to know. I get that, and it makes sense. But I'm starting to feel that the broom is sweeping too wide now.
    I fielded the same complaint from a major (military friendly) author recently, who got great access from the USMC and less from the Army. When criticized that his upcoming book is "Marine centric", his basic response was "they gave me access, I tried the army, but they wouldn't give me access to FOUO stuff I need to tell the stories".

    Current security guidelines make no distinction between sharing with a US civilian (retired military) and a terrorist from Afghanistan. What drives the caution is the fear of losing a security clearance, which can end a career.
    "A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
    Who is Cavguy?

  17. #37
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    3,195

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
    I fielded the same complaint from a major (military friendly) author recently, who got great access from the USMC and less from the Army. When criticized that his upcoming book is "Marine centric", his basic response was "they gave me access, I tried the army, but they wouldn't give me access to FOUO stuff I need to tell the stories".

    Current security guidelines make no distinction between sharing with a US civilian (retired military) and a terrorist from Afghanistan. What drives the caution is the fear of losing a security clearance, which can end a career.
    I understand that, but a fair amount of the stuff that got swept up used to be classified for public release, distribution unlimited. Unless they recently upped the status on common FMs, that's how they were listed. Now...gone behind AKO.

    FOUO is an interesting classification, as Entropy pointed out. When exactly does it roll down? Does it ever?

    I understand the security clearance concern. That makes sense. But I don't think anyone's seriously considering the second and third level impact this shotgun approach could have in the long term for the Army (or they are it's not making much headway). IMO, anyhow.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

  18. #38
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Leavenworth, KS
    Posts
    27

    Default

    The reality is the roll some social scientist are filling down range are such that they are included in operations. So they are going out to the DAC meetings. They are speaking with the populous. They are doing link analysis. Those operations are inherently classified.

  19. #39
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    8,060

    Default Some

    I guess being the operative word.

  20. #40
    Council Member Abu Suleyman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Montgomery, AL
    Posts
    131

    Default I don't refer to stuff that is classified already

    Quote Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
    As an intel guy I guess I'm of two minds on this issue and I've seen similar debates take place within the intelligence world. One of my jobs used to involve trying to get intelligence downgraded and/or released for the same reasons Cavguy lists for pushing info down to the unclass level - access.
    Overclassification, and unnecessary classification are a seperate although related problem, and probably still on topic. However, what I am most concerned about is actually the taking of things that were never classified, and perhaps not even produced by the government and then classifying them.

    Here's a counterfactual example: I have heard, but cannot confirm, that Tom Clancy's "Hunt for Red October" and he and Larry Bond's work in "Red Storm Rising" were so close to the real thing that intelligence agents for both countries initially believed that they had a security leak, but that in reality it was primarily conjecture and derived from information readily available in the public library at the time. (For the purpose of this example assume that the previous premise is true.) What if the government had classified "The Hunt for Red October"? That is what many people are concerned about; that if they work with the government or even study issues related to the government and security issues they may have they work classified even though the information it is based on remains in the public domain.

    I agree that U.S. TTP's or current operations shouldn't be revealed. I don't think there is any value in hiding doctrinal manuals behind the AKO Electron Curtain, but it doesn't give me nearly as much heart burn. But plenty of people seem to believe that while two wrongs don't make a right, enough UNCLASS data compiled together can make a SECRET document, and that just strikes me as crazy.
    Audentes adiuvat fortuna
    "Abu Suleyman"

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •