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How hard is this reporting stuff? Is it too much to ask people who are paid to publish to get basic reporting right? Could they perhaps take a moment to think through the logic of documents, on their face, before and after drafting a news or analysis piece? Not that I have any strong opinions on the subject, but pardon me while I rant a bit about a Federalist article … and poor Senate Republican staff work.
The context is an excellent post by Scott Johnson at PowerLine “Dear AG Barr: Declassify This.” In that post, you will see a cover letter from Republican Senators to Attorney General Barr. This embedded copy is properly marked for it to be on an unclassified network. You may safely download a copy without imposing a serious burden on yourself and any network administrator. This is in marked contrast to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. And, briefly, The Federalist.
The Federalist crew originally cut and pasted or embedded the Senate document, compounding the error by Senate staffers. Now the Federalist has cleaned up its site, removing the embedded document. Good on them. Shame on the Senate staff, who have not corrected the error. What error? The cover letter is, by itself, unclassified and publicly releasable. However, it was the cover letter to a highly classified enclosure, made so by the level of classification asserted by the DOJ IG for four footnotes. Therefore, default classification for the cover letter is the same as the enclosure, same as the footnotes. Those classication markings go at the top and bottom of every page. The “unclassified” markings go inside, nearer to the body of the page.