Classified Information Should Be...Classified
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Classified Information Should Be...Classified

You would think this is obvious.

Classified Information Should Be...Classified
The Logic Escapes Me

*Note: This article is meant to be read as a “stream of consciousness” piece, which means it is unfiltered and not heavily edited.

I feel like I shouldn’t feel the need to write this article. I feel like this should be common sense for the adults that run our government, the adults that work for our intelligence agencies, and the adults that work for our news networks. But classified information should be kept...classified. It’s a simple concept really.

When classified information is leaked, people’s lives could be on the line. Intelligence could possibly give us the tools to counter terrorism and increase the chances of safety for our military forces. If this information leaks, it gives our enemies the upper hand and puts the lives of our people in danger. Classified information should be protected at all costs, and those who have access to it must treat it with the utmost care. There are things that we, the American public, are better off not knowing. I believe that classified information is one of those things.

Lately, however, our country’s leaders, major news outlets, and even intelligence officials have treated classified information very lightly. First came the bombshell that President Trump had revealed classified information to Russian officials on May 10, 2017. Israel was apparently the source of this information, and this mishandling of intelligence may impact the relations between the U.S. and Israel. In addition, Trump’s main reason for leaking this information was for boastful purposes. According to US News, he was talking to the Russian officials about the “great intel” he regularly received before revealing to them the classified information about ISIS. Basically, our president disclosed sensitive information to foreign officials to show them how cool he was. It sounds so much more stupid when you phrase it like that, right? I honestly would be much less bothered by the situation if his decision to disclose the information was well planned and logical. Right now, ISIS is causing terror and taking thousands of innocent lives. This terrorist organization needs to be stopped at all costs. If that takes Trump colluding with Russia and allowing Russia access to classified information about ISIS as well, then fine. I mean, FDR and Churchill joined forces with Stalin to bring down Nazi Germany, right? Sometimes, it’s necessary to cooperate with a lesser evil to fight off the greatest evil. Trust me, I’m extremely patriotic and do not excuse Trump’s collusion with Russia, but if it is a necessary evil, so be it. But that is not the point right now. That is a tangent. And I should probably move on to my next point instead of going on tangents. The point is, Trump’s revelation of classified information was reckless and came from a place of arrogance rather than sincere thought. This shows that our president does not treat classified information with the care that he should. He allows his impulse to control his actions rather than attempting to make rational decisions. It makes me uncomfortable that the man occupying the highest office in our nation handles classified information in this manner.

President Trump, however, is not the only one poorly handling classified information these days. The New York Times has jumped on that bandwagon as well. Recently, the New York Times published photos of the scene of the terror attack in Manchester, including photos that may have alluded to the power source of the bomb as well as the ways in which the bomb could have been turned on and off. (I know it’s standard procedure to hyperlink this article, but I really can’t bring myself to do it. Yeah, I get it; the classified information is already out there, and I’m not really hurting anybody by linking the article. But it just feels wrong. I value our people’s safety, and it feels very unethical to link an article that pompously reveals classified information to all of its readers and outright disrespected the government, intelligence, and law enforcement of the United Kingdom. So, sorry for not following standard procedure, but I just really can’t bring myself to link the article. You can definitely search the depths of the Internet for it if you’re interested, though.) According to the NPR, the mayor of Manchester believed these leaks were “arrogant, wrong, and disrespectful.” Having this information without the opposition knowing would have given UK forces the “element of surprise” and a firmer grasp on the situation before any information was provided to the public. Therefore, the fact that the New York Times still has these photos up on its website even after the British government expressed their concerns over the sensitivity of the information is completely disrespectful and possibly threatening. Who else is to blame here? Whoever leaked the information in the first place, of course. An intelligence official. An intelligence official who was trusted to guard this information with his or her life but instead fed it to some journalist from the New York Times for whatever reason. Eye-catching stories and page views should not come before human lives. Publishing classified information on a large platform like the New York Times is extremely dangerous. Our enemies are now most likely aware of the extent of the information we have gathered and that gives them the upper hand. All because some guy wanted to have a cool story for the New York Times. See the pattern?

At this point during our discussion of classified information, I'm sure someone is expecting me to bring up Hillary Clinton and her emails. Yes, I believe that her mishandling of classified information and carelessness could have been considered a crime. Yes, I blame her for violating our national security with her irresponsibility. But the difference between her situation and these recent leaks? She did not leak classified information deliberately. Her irresponsible use of a private email server allowed hackers to have access to our nation's secrets, but ultimately, she did not disclose this information on purpose. President Trump and some of our intelligence officials clearly disclosed classified information on purpose. And the New York Times is keeping that information up on a web page on purpose. There's a clear difference there.

I understand that newspapers are supposed to be our source for truth. I understand why this journalist felt the urge to publish these photos. (I will never understand what prompted this intelligence official to divulge this information. Like seriously, it’s your job to receive top-secret information and not tell anyone about it. Clearly, you’re terrible at your job.) But ultimately, the truth should not come at the expense of human lives and national security. And looking cool in front of Russian officials should most definitely not be a reason for leaking classified information. There is a reason why some information is classified. Some information is dangerous for the public (which could include our enemies) to know. So to all news sources, please continue telling the truth. But also value our national security while you do it. Let’s keep our classified information classified and our world as safe as possible.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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