"Top Secret Clearance" essentially means a spook has the right to stamp "Top Secret" on any document and nobody - even other spooks - are then allowed to read that document, or confirm the item should be top secret.
I'm certain no spook would ever abuse such a power...
Some corporations have redone their rating systems after having lost civil cases due to overclassifying. ("If this ridiculous example is Confidential, then my client can't be faulted for thinking that Confidential was meaningless.") Probably long past time for the government to go through a similar reclassifying exercise.
Top Secret is the highest of the three US general levels of classification: Confidential, Secret and Top Secret. To be classified as top secret, somethings disclosure must risk grave damage to the US. For example, key vulnerabilities in US weapons systems. There are additional clearances beyond these. Amongst these are Sensitive Compartmentalized Information (SCI), which includes intelligence data, and Q clearance for nuclear related information.
My ex used to have a Top Secret clearance. I am not revealing anything here to let you know that basically, the people that have these clearances have to justify their specialness by stamping all kinds of crap Secret.
He also used to work on a budget and there were all kinds of "black" items in the budget that he was not allowed to question. He used to try and was basically told, "dude, shut up, this is not a way to get promoted." So, he could jigger with little line items but someone's multi-million dollar pork project (and some of these projects were just so laughable you would not believe) - no way he could cut that out of the budget. Let the troops use substandard armor as long as the fat cats in Kansas have their boondoggle to fill up their bank accounts.
Wasn't this adequately covered in 1984 by Val Kilmer?
It seems the top secret classification is most often applied when our government does not want the people to be aware of our governments criminal activity.
I'm sure that legitimate things are classified top secret as well, but how would be really know?
Top Secret means: The President must not know.
Anyone that deals in 'Top Secret' information is kidding themselves that it will stay that way for long. Punishing people that tell the citizenry what our Government does in our name is wrong-minded. We should be punishing the people that stamp every NSA pizza order 'Top Secret' and firing anyone that thinks it will stay that way. They obviously aren't bright enough to be entrusted with our 'secrets' anyway.
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