Cornyn Discusses Classified Documents & Bill to Reform the Classification System

Today on the floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) discussed the need to reform the security classification system in this year’s Intelligence Authorization Act and highlighted his Sensible Classification Act, which would increase accountability and oversight of the classification system, limit overclassification, and direct federal agencies to justify security clearance requirements. Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video can be found here.

“Earlier this year, a trove of highly sensitive military documents began appearing online. These documents included classified assessments of the war in Ukraine.”

“Based on the nature of the leaked documents, there was widespread speculation that the source was a high-level military or intelligence professional, but we now know that was not the case. The source of the leak has been identified as a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard.”

“The issue isn’t just that too many people have access to classified information, but also that too much information is classified.”

“We’re presented with information briefed as classified, which could be just as easily learned by watching the news or reading the newspaper.”

“Still, these documents are classified at the same level that sensitive military documents and intelligence analysis has been classified.”

“We’re not doing nearly enough to declassify information for the public or our allies.”

“This is a very delicate balance between transparency and secrecy, but it’s time that we tune up the system.”

“The Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Senator Warner and I introduced a bill called the Sensible Classification Act, which includes critical reforms to modernize America’s classification system.”

“As the Senate Intelligence Committee prepares the Intelligence Authorization Act, I’ve offered this legislation as an amendment to that bill, which hopefully will be included as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.”

“Recent headlines have shone a light on the flaws of our classification system. It’s overwhelmed and in need of reform. That’s what the Sensible Classification Act aims to fix.”


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