Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa

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Afghanistan Data Inexplicably Classified After Years of Public Availability

Nov 06, 2017

WASHINGTON – A memo from the watchdog agency tasked with oversight of Defense Department spending on reconstruction in Afghanistan indicates that the U.S. Department of Defense suddenly classified data that was previously publicly available for years. The memo from the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) can be found here. Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has conducted extensive oversight work of federal spending in Afghanistan, which in many instances has been mismanaged and lacks proper documentation. Grassley made the following comment:

“If sensitive information that should’ve been classified was publicly available for extended amounts of time before eventually being classified, that raises serious questions about the Department of Defense’s classification process. According to SIGAR, the now-classified data doesn’t disclose information that could threaten U.S. or Afghan missions. It appears more likely that classification is being misused again, potentially to shield the department from scrutiny. Abusing classification as a tool to extinguish sunlight undermines public confidence that U.S. taxpayer dollars are being well-spent on America’s longest war. If security classification is being abused to hide waste and mismanagement or failed policies, those responsible should be held accountable. There can’t be accountability without transparency. These sudden classifications need to be explained, and if they’re improper, they should be reversed.”

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