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Trump claims presidents can declassify documents ‘even by thinking about it

Couchpotato

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1% of those having abortions is 140,000 women. You call that insignificant ?
Not as significant as the other 99%, no. Are you ready to concede those abortions should be outlawed? Once that happens we can the remaining 1%.
 

Dagosa

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Not as significant as the other 99%, no. Are you ready to concede those abortions should be outlawed? Once that happens we can the remaining 1%.
Nope…you’re the one who hates women. We went through this decades ago.
 

Seymour Flops

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More than a little ironic that those who profess not to understand that a president has sole authority over classification and that if he thinks a document is declassified, then for his purposes it is also profess to believe that a person can change their sex by mere "thinking" that they are now female.
 

WorldWatcher

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More than a little ironic that those who profess not to understand that a president has sole authority over classification and that if he thinks a document is declassified, then for his purposes it is also profess to believe that a person can change their sex by mere "thinking" that they are now female.

Documents are not "declassified" it is the information in the document that is declassified.

For example lets say that there are 6 copies of a specific document containing specific classified information. One located in the White House, 5 located amongst various agencies which also need the document. In addition there are subordinate documents that contain (either in part of in whole some of the same classified information).

Under a normal process when the information contained in a highly classified documents is declassified (or downgraded) that impacts all copies of the document (it's information, and subordinate documents containing the same information in whole or portions of a subordinate document).

So If the FPOTUS "declassified" a document, he is really declassifying the information in that document. If the FPOTUS, while acting as POTUS, "declassified" the information without telling anyone (either directly or in writing) for that specific document, you end up with:
  • One copy of the information located at the White House being "declassified", and
  • Five copies of the information located at the responsible agencies still being classified as the responsible agencies will not know the information was declassified because they FPOTUS (while POTUS) just mentally declassified the information in his head.
The result is someone could be prosecuted for improper handling of classified material for actions related to the 5 responsible agency documents, but not for improper handling of the exact same document if the source of the document was the White House. By this we are talking about the information in the document and subordinate information which sourced the document which can have even wider reaching impacts.

The national security infrastructure cannot function in a reasonable way if the same information is both classified and declassified at the same time simply because the POTUS chooses not to tell anyone.

WW
 
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Couchpotato

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Documents are not "declassified" it is the information in the document that is declassified.

For example lets say that there are 6 copies of a specific document containing specific classified information. One located in the White House, 5 located amongst various agencies which also need the document. In addition there are subordinate documents that contain (either in part of in whole some of the same classified information).

Under a normal process when the information contained in a highly classified documents is declassified (or downgraded) that impacts all copies of the document (it's information, and subordinate documents containing the same information in whole or portions of a subordinate document).

So If the FPOTUS "declassified" a document, he is really declassifying the information in that document. If the FPOTUS, while acting as POTUS, "declassified" the information without telling anyone (either directly or in writing) for that specific document, you end up with:
  • One copy of the information located at the White House being "declassified", and
  • Five copies of the information located at the responsible agencies still being classified as the responsible agencies will not know the information was declassified because they FPOTUS (while POTUS) just mentally declassified the information in his head.
The result is someone could be prosecuted for improper handling of classified material for actions related to the 5 responsible agency documents, but not for improper handling of the exact same document if the source of the document was the White House. By this we are talking about the information in the document and subordinate information which sourced the document which can have even wider reaching impacts.

The national security infrastructure cannot function in a reasonable way if the same information is both classified and declassified at the same time simply because the POTUS chooses not to tell anyone.

WW
Of course we dont live in the 70's anymore where there are X number of copies of a classified document which are cataloged and kept track of in that way. While I agree that a President should inform the infrastructure in some way that he's declassifying this or that information there really is no legal requirement for him to do so, which I will also agree is fucking bat shit crazy and should have been something we realized was a problem and fixed 2 decades ago but whatever.
 

WorldWatcher

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Of course we dont live in the 70's anymore where there are X number of copies of a classified document which are cataloged and kept track of in that way. While I agree that a President should inform the infrastructure in some way that he's declassifying this or that information there really is no legal requirement for him to do so, which I will also agree is fucking bat shit crazy and should have been something we realized was a problem and fixed 2 decades ago but whatever.

If there are no paper documents today (as opposed to the 70's) then what were the classified documents collected as a function of the search warrant in the MAL store room and in the FPOTUS's desk draw on August 8th with highly classified cover sheets and documents (evidence photo submitted to the court)?

Of course there are still paper copies of documents and multiple controlled copies in multiple locations.

WW
 

Dagosa

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Not as significant as the other 99%, no. Are you ready to concede those abortions should be outlawed? Once that happens we can the remaining 1%.
The male who thinks 140,000 women‘s health is insignificant.
.
 

Dagosa

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Not as significant as the deaths of 1.26 million others. No.
Really, you actually think denying women the right to choose will work in preventing abortions ? It didn’t otherwise and more woman were maimed and killed when it drove them underground for non chemical. It’s really stupid when the majority are chemically induced very early in the pregnancy….
Its the typical male ignorance and hatred of women.
 

Couchpotato

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Really, you actually think denying women the right to choose will work in preventing abortions ? It didn’t otherwise and more woman were maimed and killed when it drove them underground for non chemical. It’s really stupid when the majority are chemically induced very early in the pregnancy….
Its the typical male ignorance and hatred of women.
All of them? No. No more than outlawing murder prevents all people from committing that crime. Should we legalize that too? It’s not about choice it’s about whether as a society we are willing to condone the killing of innocent human life. I’m not.
 

Dagosa

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All of them? No. No more than outlawing murder prevents all people from committing that crime. Should we legalize that too? It’s not about choice it’s about whether as a society we are willing to condone the killing of innocent human life. I’m not.
And the loss of women's rights over their own body ? Not even close. Only the pregnant woman should have the say, not white male bureaucrats.
 

Dagosa

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All of them? No. No more than outlawing murder prevents all people from committing that crime. Should we legalize that too? It’s not about choice it’s about whether as a society we are willing to condone the killing of innocent human life. I’m not.
Legalize something only murders who are mostly male ? Hell no.
 

Seymour Flops

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WW, I rearranged the order of your post, because I want to address your conclusion first, and then go over the points you made, since you worked hard on them and they are logical but for the flaw I point out first:
The national security infrastructure cannot function in a reasonable way if the same information is both classified and declassified at the same time simply because the POTUS chooses not to tell anyone.

WW
All that sounds very reasonable as what laws and regulations congress might think about passing - after congress proposes and the states agree, to amend the constitution to give Congress the power to regulate how information is classified.

Right now, the Constitution gives sole power to classify and declassify information to the president. The president can delegate authority to subordinates, but their power is only there so long as he delegates it.

I know that you disagree that a president should be the sole authority. But neither you, nor anyone on this thread or any other, has yet shown a law, rule, or regulation, that constrains the U.S. president from exercising his constitutional authority over classification and de-classification. Nor have they shown any law, rule or regulation that requires the president to take any specific action to declassify information. So, he can indeed just decide in his mind that information is declassified.

Just repeating "that sounds silly!" doesn't really advance the dialogue. Let's look at precedent of a president deciding in his mind about classified information.

Obama did exactly that about Hillary's emails:

President Obama turned a few heads on Fox News Sunday when host Chris Wallace asked him whether Hillary Clinton’s emails—some of which contained information since deemed to be classified—damaged national security. Obama replied, “There’s classified, and then there’s classified.” He went on, “There’s stuff that is really top secret, top secret—and there’s stuff that … you might not want out on the transom … but is basically stuff that you could get in open source.”


That story goes on to talk about how Obama tried to reduce the amount of information that is classified, and in fact did for original documents. But then the Deep State, the Entrenched Bureaucracy, or whatever you want to call them, decided to keep stamping stuff classified anyway.

Obama made a distinction between "classified" and "classified," when he was president. Maybe that distinction doesn't make sense to me. Maybe if I really, REALLY, REALLY hated Obama, I'd love to say that is a CRIME, because classified is classified, period. No backs. Tick-tock the game is locked!

But unfortunately for me, Obama was the president so he absolutely had the power to make that distinction. I realized that such a claim would be wrong, so I didn't make it.

The above snark wasn't aimed at you, but the others on here, who just keep repeating themselves.

Documents are not "declassified" it is the information in the document that is declassified.

For example lets say that there are 6 copies of a specific document containing specific classified information. One located in the White House, 5 located amongst various agencies which also need the document. In addition there are subordinate documents that contain (either in part of in whole some of the same classified information).
Correct. I think derivative might be more accurate than subordinate, but I know what you meant.
Under a normal process when the information contained in a highly classified documents is declassified (or downgraded) that impacts all copies of the document (it's information, and subordinate documents containing the same information in whole or portions of a subordinate document).
But it can be very slow to "trickle down" to those subordinate/derivative documents.

From the same Slate article above (not exactly a Trump cult rag, I'm sure you'll agree):

In the years of Obama’s presidency, the number of Original Classification Authorizations—new pieces of information that are deemed confidential, secret, or top secret—has gone down by 45 percent, from 4,109 in 2008 to 2,276 in 2014, the last year for which numbers exist. (The steepest decline, to 2,978, occurred in Obama’s first year; the dip has since been steady but slow.) This is a positive trend. In a memo dated March 23, Gen. Clapper called on the heads of the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies to reduce the number still further.

However, this has not been accompanied by a reduction in the number of classified documents. To the contrary, the number of derivative classifications— decisions to stamp specific documents classified based on a general decision about the subject at hand—has soared, from 23.2 million in 2008 to 77 million in 2014.


The deepstate loves secrecy. Knowledge is power and they want to keep it to themselves.
So If the FPOTUS "declassified" a document, he is really declassifying the information in that document.
Not necessarily. Remember that under the constitution, it is the president's prerogative and his alone to determine when, why, and how information is to be classifed, unclassified, declassified, or reclassified.

So, if he wants to declassify one copy of a document while not declassifying the information contained in order to make it publicly available, there is no law, rule or regulation that says that the president cannot do that.
If the FPOTUS, while acting as POTUS, "declassified" the information without telling anyone (either directly or in writing) for that specific document, you end up with:
  • One copy of the information located at the White House being "declassified", and
  • Five copies of the information located at the responsible agencies still being classified as the responsible agencies will not know the information was declassified because they FPOTUS (while POTUS) just mentally declassified the information in his head.
That's exactly right. If the POTUS wanted to declassify only his copy, but still require the responsible agencies to secure it, there is no law, rule, nor regulations that is binding on the president that says he cannot do that.
The result is someone could be prosecuted for improper handling of classified material for actions related to the 5 responsible agency documents, but not for improper handling of the exact same document if the source of the document was the White House. By this we are talking about the information in the document and subordinate information which sourced the document which can have even wider reaching impacts.
Yes, the old saying "rank has its privileges," is nowhere more true than in presidential designation of information as it relates to its being classified or unclassified. Just because a president can declassify a document so that he can take it with him to the Office of the Former President, does not mean that an agency head can then take all documents with the same information to his house.

Which is a silly point to even have to make, because nobody ever before got in a twist about senior officials taking classified documents home with them, for work purposes, until they thought they had yet another chance "Get Trump!"
 
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WorldWatcher

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I know that you disagree that a president should be the sole authority.

I provided a long post and you took the time to go through it and address different points, that is appreciated even though I definitely disagree with some of them. That is the nature of a discussion board.

However I will take exception to this one statement as it references me personally, no where does my posting indicate that I disagree with the concept that the President has ultimate classification and declassification if legally permissible. For example a President can't classify documents for strictly political gain or to hide evidence of a crime.

However when it comes to national security information as a function of government, I have no problem with the President having ultimate authority.

However for something to actually be classified or declassified the President cannot secretly and mentally do it. (S)he must tell someone so they can execute a legal order or document such classification or declassification actions again so that the procedures as it impacts derivative (yes, better word then subordinate - thank you.) classified information.

WW

(Note I use "ultimate" and you use "sole". There are others with legislative authority under the law and via the EO who have classification and declassification authority, so I use ultimate meaning the highest level.)
 

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