Many confidential US government documents have disappeared. The press (TV, written press and radio) found guilty those who were entrusted with the newspapers. Here, I present my opinion that the federal agencies responsible for generating, classifying, distributing, monitoring and inventorying records share some of the blame.
Currently available technology provides effective and inexpensive schemes for securing documents. Inexpensive “security paper” for the home office and professional entities is readily available at office supply stores. Documents prepared with security paper cannot be copied. This includes the use of photocopiers at home or in the office. The text cannot be erased or modified. Technically advanced security papers may contain unique fibers, fluorescent elements, magnetic ink, chemical labels, new fonts and foil holograms. Embossed seals provide additional document security. Tamper-proof watermarks can mark the authenticated document as having been distributed to a named individual or group.
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Security papers are currently used for a variety of applications (eg birth certificates, bank checks, school transcripts and medical prescriptions).
The question arises as to why this technology is not applied to confidential government documents. An example of this is the confidential writing (February 2022) of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and his “1st draft” dealing with Roe-v-Wade, a case involving abortion and of which Americans have very conflicting opinions. . This 98-page document displayed a “NOTICE” on the first page stating: “This notice is subject to revision before publication…” A copy of this document was provided to Politico, a political journalism company. Politico placed Judge Alito’s document on the Internet for worldwide distribution. Even after a prolonged investigation, we don’t know how the document, known today as having significant legal, political, medical and economic impact, escaped the confines of the United States Supreme Court.
Furthermore, are we willing to accept the fact that the US Department of Justice and other government agencies do not know which “top secret” and “nuclear” documents are missing and how many are missing. More than 300 classified documents were recently recovered from Mar-a-Lago.
Municipal and school libraries across the country effectively track and recall loaned books, music, videos and other media. Why are so many of our government agencies so unable to handle highly classified documents?