Re[2]: "U" vs "C" vs ... in elsets
Mon, 07 Jun 1999 10:29 -0400

     It is this type of openness in our democracy that I and many others 
     are trying to defend, not restrict.  In the process of doing that some 
     of us have agreed to not disclose classified information.  I'm not 
     defending all of the classification rules or what gets classified, I'm 
     just saying that some of us have given our word not to break 
     classification rules based on our own whims.  I have no problem with 
     keeping my end of the bargain and I certainly don't want to give the 
     impression that I have violated classification guidelines and thus 
     broken my word.
     All I'm asking is that consideration be given to the selection of 
     certain letters that may give the appearance that those of us who have 
     security clearances have broken the rules.  As others have suggested, 
     there are good alternatives to using "C" and "S" in an elset.
     Having an elset generated by a group such as SEESAT that has 
     information that is classified by official sources is not, in itself a 
     security violation.  What would be a violation would be if I were to 
     confirm or deny the accuracy of such an elset.
     On the one hand there is the argument that since the taxpayer paid for 
     it, the release of the information shouldn't be restricted by 
     classification.  First, the taxpayer (of which I am one) paid for all 
     the government sponsored stuff to include how to build better rockets, 
     advanced sensors, nuclear weapons and all that such stuff.  In a 
     perfect world we would not need to classify certain information or 
     systems but I think we all realize that the world is not perfect.  On 
     the one hand we criticize the government when classified information 
     is not safeguarded and on the other demand that it be released because 
     secrets don't set well with our democratic society. It's hard to have 
     it both ways.
     Jeff Barker

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: "U" vs "C" vs ... in elsets
Author: (Jim Varney) at SMTPGATE
Date:    6/5/99 4:04 PM

On 4 Jun 99, Phil Rogers wrote:
> wrote:
> >
> >     Some members of this group are either in the US government or work
> >     directly with it.  The use of "C" in the "classification designator" 
> >     field presents us with a problem in that storing any elset with "C" 
> >     "S" in this field on an unclassified computer whould give the
> >     appearance of a security violation.  That's something we can't afford 
> >     and wastes a lot of time to resolve.
> I couldn't agree with you more. Security is not something to be taken 
> lightly even if the government itself has shown that it has not done
> such a good job of keeping its secrets at home. At best, it is childish 
> for some individuals to flaunt having information which they should not 
> have, to intentionally pass on such information or to bemoan the fact
> that the military classifies certain material at their own discretion.
I'll try to keep my rebuttal short, as it is close to off-topic.
I respect your position even though I don't agree with it.  A democracy 
works best when informed citizens make the government accountable for 
itself by exposing the government's mistakes. That's not childishness. 
It's civic participation.
I believe that satellites in the visual realm are astronomical objects. I 
also believe that the catalogs and positions of all astronomical objects 
should have free and open distribution. Therefore I applaud the efforts of 
the observers and elset maintainers on this list who publish the elsets of 
objects that would otherwise be unavailable.
Elset suppression has nothing to with national security. Not when every 
nation on earth has at least a pair of binoculars and a PC and could do
the same tracking as we do if they wanted to. Elset suppression is strictly a 
bureaucratic self-serving exercise. This is evident by SPACECOM calling
the elsets "official use only" -- even they can't bring themselves to calling 
them "classified."
Now if the use of "C" in my GPS elsets truly causes a problem for 
SeeSatters, I will be happy to change the code. I have a hard time 
believing, however, this scenario of an auditor confiscating computers. 
The real issue isn't the U or C -- it's the elset itself. I would think an 
auditor would want to know why you have Lacrosse elsets on your PC, 
regardless of whether they say U or C.
 -- Jim
Jim Varney        -121.398 W, 38.457 N, 10m
Member, Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society 
GPS Elsets
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