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Designating government documents as “pseudo-classified”

US Congressman John L. Mica (R-FL) hears testimony about federal agencies using non-standard sensitivity markings, such as “For Office Use Only” to keep un-classified documents out of the hands of the public and other branches of government.

As an example, the Project on Government Oversight recently reported on a Department of Defense Investigator General report that the Pentagon labeled “For Office Use Only” to either withhold or to make it difficult for requestors to get information that should otherwise be public. An internal office policy, not a law, provides that only the report’s title, or a summary, be posted on its website — even though the document is not classified.

Use of “sensitivity” markings that are not legitimate security clearance categories, such as “secret” or “top secret”, means the requestor must make a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the documents.

Michael Gold

As the Florida editor for Watchdog Wire, my goal is to work with other citizen journalists, like you, to help compensate for the lack of mainstream news reporting to expose waste, fraud and abuse that exists in government. My colleagues at Franklin Center, and peers in the Citizen Watchdog movement, share a belief that government transparency and accountability is not a conservative or liberal idea – it is an American idea. A free flow of information is essential to maintaining our free republic, and that starts with a free press — and that starts with you.

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