Statement of Representative Shays

Statement of Rep. Christopher Shays, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations

September 1, 2005

In the battle against terrorist ideologies, we deny ourselves essential ammunition by indulging a culture of excessive secrecy. The tragedy of 9/11 should have taught us the full dimension of the threat can only be discerned through broad and detailed information sharing. But this report card says clearly that Cold War relics and bureaucratic habits have not yet given way to the new national security imperative to openness.

Rather than find better methods to share information with those who need to know it, including the public, too much time and money is being spent inventing new ways to keep secrets from each other. Of particular concern is the pernicious proliferation of "SBU" (sensitive but unclassified) designations which impose new, almost wholly unregulated access barriers to public documents and data. The volume and impact of the pseudo-classifications is growing. This report will help clear a path through the prickly underbrush of vague SBU markings that further inhibit the free flow of critical information.

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