The Foreign Service Journal - June 2014 - page 19

JUNE 2014
provided extensive lists of my sourcing to
prove that all information was acquired
from publicly available sources.
To their credit, the CIA ran a clear
and transparent process and withdrew
practically all objections in response to
my appeal.
In contrast, the Defense Department’s
process was opaque and problematic.
DOD redacted a map that is in a pub-
lished, official departmental history and
was provided to me by the Special Opera-
tions Command history office for republi-
cation. Other redacted materials included
common unit names and the title of one
SOCOM component command listed on
website. DOD denied
my appeal even when confronted with
clear and convincing evidence that none
of the material was classified.
My only recourse was to sue the U.S.
government, which I declined to do.
DOD refused to provide explanations
for their redactions. And, unfortunately,
State never pushed back or advocated
on my behalf within the interagency
to challenge some of the more absurd
redactions. It was a failure to protect my
rights as an American citizen and a gov-
ernment employee. Luckily for me, the
material that was redacted was not vital
to my book, but that is not necessarily
going to be the case with other reviews.
The good news is that most clearance
requests take just a few weeks and do
not entail interagency review. In fact, for
straightforward materials like op-eds, or
time-sensitive situations like interview
requests, State can often act in days or
DOD redacted a map that is in a published,
official departmental history and was
provided tome by the Special Operations
Command history office for republication.
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