Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pentagon Papers contest

The National Security Archive has published all three versions of the Pentagon Papers which allow for a side by side comparison.  Now for the first time you can see what the government tried to hide.

They even have an index that helps with the cross referencing.  The Archive has also undertaken to make available an Index that permits cross-referencing among the various versions we are displaying—not only the pdf panels but also the page numbers in the printed editions of these works. An introduction to the Index makes clear how it is organized and can be used.

As you may recall when NARA undertook the mission to finally and formally declassify the entire Pentagon Papers someone tried THIS YEAR to classify and withhold 11 words.  The folks at NSA have coined a new term for these types of people "securocrats." I love it.  These 11 words were already declassified in 1971.

As they explain:

NARA’s release of the Pentagon Papers was accompanied by a fresh demonstration of inappropriate secrecy policy. In reviewing these documents for declassification, one authority sought to suppress eleven words on one page. What was silly about this exercise was that the “11 Words” were not classified. That is, in effect an agency sought to make secret a passage of the Pentagon Papers that had already been reviewed and declassified by the United States Government in 1971. Since classification is supposed to protect information that can damage the national security of the United States, the idea that the “11 Words” pose a danger to the nation in 2011 after having been in the open for four decades was startling. Calmer heads finally prevailed and the government relented and released the documents with no deletions. But it has not revealed what the “11 Words” actually were.

Needless to say, the “11 Words” episode occasioned a playful guessing game in which people have tried to identify the offending passage. The National Security Archive posted its own set of eleven candidates. Here we would like to extend an invitation to interested readers to send us your own guesses. Accordingly we are sponsoring an “11 Words Contest.” 

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