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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

St Augustine native, Michael Gold, is editor at Historic City News. He is an advocate for grassroots citizen journalism whose job is holding public figures accountable to the public. Founded on the Internet in March 2000, HCN has developed from a periodic newsletter, to an interactive platform, to a publication read by the area’s most engaged citizens. Historic City News is focused on news originating from or having an impact on St Augustine and St Johns County. Contact by e-mail

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