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Government selectors, pages, etc.
Why low-level staffers are less likely to mishandle classified documents than their superiors.
By Curt_Anderson
January 19, 2023 1:56 pm
Category: Government

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LARRY PFEIFFER*: I've known several people who have retired, and after they retire, they're going through their box, and it's like, whoa, how did that [classified document] get in here? And they - you know, they call back to the building. Some security officer comes out, picks it up. Everybody's fine with it.

NPR's GREG MYRE: Yeah, that's undoubtedly true. And here's the irony. If you're a junior staffer, the likelihood of mishandling classified records is pretty low. To see that kind of information, you'd go into a secure room at your agency. You'd walk in empty-handed. You get briefed and read some classified documents. Then you walk out empty-handed. You really can't accidentally walk off with documents. But it's easier to make that mistake at the top levels of government. Here's Glenn Gerstell, former legal counsel at the National Security Agency.

GLENN GERSTELL**: An official, usually a more senior official who has both unclassified and classified documents in their workspace on their desk. I know of one case where someone had a three-ring binder, and the first 30 or 40 pages were all unclassified, and they didn't realize that in the back was an appendix that had a classified document.

*Retired CIA officer Larry Pfeiffer. He also served at the White House, where he ran the Situation Room.

**Glenn Gerstell, former legal counsel at the National Security Agency.


Cited and related links:

  1. npr.org

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Comments on "Why low-level staffers are less likely to mishandle classified documents than their superiors.":

  1. by Ponderer on January 20, 2023 7:50 am

    You can't expect Conservatives/Republicans to understand the concept of a mistake.

    It's a totally foreign concept to them. Since none of them have ever made a single mistake themselves in their entire lives.


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