Bills to reduce security classifications

June 26, 2008 at 6:25 PM

WASHINGTON, June 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. House Homeland Security Committee unanimously voted for two bills Thursday that would reduce excessive security classifications.

The bills, authored by Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment, are an effort to cut down on what is seen by many critics to be excessive use of security classifications.

Officials say H.R. 4806, if passed by the full House, would mandate specifically identifying paragraphs in a document that are classified while leaving the rest of the document untouched.

The bill calls for classification training and limiting the number of people permitted to classify documents, among other measures to reduce classifications by the Homeland Security Department.

The other bill, H.R. 6193, brings the number of information control markings down to seven from more than 100 that can be used on unclassified information.

"This administration is among the most secretive in American history," Harman said in a statement.

"Instead of classifying and reclassifying everything that moves, the federal government should remove barriers to information sharing and access -- and carefully apply classified and sensitive but unclassified markings to protect sources and methods, not turf."

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