Thursday, July 11, 2013

Overclassification: Hypothetical Vacuum Cleaner Edition

I can't conceive of any reason that discussing the existence of a vacuum cleaner that may have been designed by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would raise any legitimate national security concerns. I mean, even if we assume that might have "intended to use the plans to conceal secret information or trick his jailers," how does that justify classifying the very existence of the vacuum? It's not like the existence of the vacuum tells us what that secret information is.

And for that matter, why can they tell us that KSM "enjoyed the Harry Potter series"? Because the CIA searched every page after he finished to see if he scrawled any secret messages in the margins, doesn't that make the Potter books just like the vacuum? Maybe the existence of Harry Potter as a fictional character should be a state secret.