It was an interesting experience watching our team argue before the U.S. District Court of Appeals that the EFF’s lawsuit against AT&T for helping the NSA spy on conversations without warrants should be dismissed because it impinges on state secrets. While the judges probed both sides, I read some signs from their grilling of the U.S. Government’s lawyer that they really have some concern over the important issues. They appear to realize that we can’t leave such programs completely without judicial oversight just because an NSA official declares them to be state secrets.
As one judge said, “are we supposed to bow down” before such declarations?
Anyway, this inspired me to make up a new list of all the different classifications for secret information:
- Unclassified (Ordinary documents)
- Sensitive (to delay FOIA)
- Double Super Secret (For Time Magazine Only)
- Treated as Top Secret (Non-secret document from Vice President’s Office)
- Leakable (Identity of covert agents married to those causing political trouble)
- Top Secret
- SCI (Sensitive Compartmented Information)
- Embarrassing (Highest possible classification)