O.k., there's a bunch of 20-watt bulbs sitting around a room somewhere in the D.C. area. One suddenly flickers and shouts out, "Holy Mother of All the Saints Above, will yer look at t'is. We're giving away the fuckin' store."
He, she, or it was waving a piece of unclassified material that detailed the numbers of strategic weapons in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during the Cold War. But that wasn't the worst of it. We'd already given the information the information the Russkies. Wham! Reclassified.
Ah, you're no doubt thinking, "this is just a few dim bulbs amidst the brilliant light of the Bush administration." Wrong. According to a new report by the National Security Archives, a George Washington University nonprofit research group, our very own Pentagon is busy classifying material that had never been classified before. And the newly bulked-up and ready-to-take-on-all-terrorists CIA, aided and abetted by the Airforce, has been removing thousands of publicly available records from library shelves.
How bizarre is this? Nixon Defense Secretary Melvin Laird, in an open 1971 appearance before Congress, revealed "that the United States had 30 strategic bomber squadrons, 54 Titan intercontinental ballistic missiles and 1,000 Minuteman missiles." That information is now classified. I have now broken federal law by revealing classified information. This may be my last post — ever — unless they have internet access in jail.
This would be like Barney Frank trying to go back into the closet. Are these people idiots? Once it's public and published, you can't make it secret again unless — hey wait a minute — unless you're about to pull a 1984 on the American people. Nah, conspiracy theories depend on coordinated, intelligent people acting together. That knocks out the Bush administration.
It's gets sillier. In 1964, Defense Secretary Mevlin Laird sent a report to President Johnson on our military preparedness, including the number of U.S. and Soviet ballistic missiles and heavy bombers both sides were expect to have by 1970. It was declassified. And why not — the information is over 40 years old and anyone who cares has already seen it. Yet if you get a copy of the report now, American numbers are blacked out — but not the Soviet's.
William Burr, who wrote the National Security Archives report said, in effect, that you'd have a hard time finding more "dramatic examples of unjustifiable secrecy." The horses are out of the barn, the barn's burned down, and we're trying to get them to reenter the smoldering ruins.
It just isn't fair. How can we satirists and parodists (I know, it's not a word but style trumps accuracy sometimes) write satire and parody when the Bush Administration's actions are more bizarre than anything we could come up with.