Senior Biden official says information classification system undermines national security and public trust

The intelligence community’s decision to broadly classify much of its information and documents is eroding public trust in the government and hampering decision-making, national intelligence director April HainesApril HainesVirtual Realities May Solve Fermi Paradox of Aliens Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Former Top Saudi Intelligence Official Overnight Defense & National Security – Russian Military Moves Concern MORE said Thursday in a letter to lawmakers.

The recognition comes in response to an October letter from Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenate Democrats urge Biden to secure beefed up child tax credit in Energy and Environment spending deal overnight – High Court to hear water rule case Democrats face reduced program after setbacks MORE (D-Oré.) and jerry moranGerald (Jerry) MoranThese Senate seats are up for grabs in 2022 Energy and Environment Overnight – Starting from Scratch on Climate, Spending Bill Eight senators call on Biden to reverse course on US solar tariffs era Trump MORE (R-Kansas), longtime critics of a classification system they say needs reform.

Haines supported this view, writing that “the shortcomings of the current classification system undermine our national security, as well as crucial democratic goals, by obstructing our ability to share information in a timely manner, whether with our intelligence partners, our supervisory bodies or, where appropriate, with the general public.

“This reduces the ability of the intelligence community (IC) to effectively support the decision-making of high-level policy makers and further erodes the fundamental trust our citizens have in their government,” Haines continued.

Last year, senators called the classification system ‘outdated’, while good governance and transparency groups argued the system may be too restrictive, allowing the government to hide important information from the public. or cover up failures.

Government employees face massive consequences for leaking such information, while attempts to obtain it through public records requests can require litigation that drags on for years.

Haines’ letter refers to some included examples of the intelligence community’s efforts to reform the system, but ironically these details are excluded from the public release of his letter because it cannot be considered unclassified “until deleted attachments”.

“Director Haines clearly recognizes that the currently broken classification system harms the national security of the United States while eroding public trust in government. The DNI has offered to work with us to reform the system, and as members of the Senate Intelligence and Appropriations Committees, we intend to do so,” Wyden and Moran said in a joint statement.