The military is usually pretty good about terminology and has handily invented lots of it.

But when it comes to 'Classified'... yikes. It's just awful.

What I mean, in case it isn't obvious, is that 'classified' can be a verb and 'Classified' (which is not commonly capitalized, but I'm trying to maintain modicum of sanity in here) is a level of classification.

So a document might be classified as Classified, or it might be classified as Unclassified, or it might be unclassified.

Or a document previously classified as Classified might be declassified so now it is classified as Unclassified.

How did such a abominable situation come to exist and persist?

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    @EdwinAshworth Good idea. A stiff drink is always helpful. – Mick Jul 24 '19 at 21:11
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    "Classified" isn't a classification. "Confidential", "secret", and "top secret" are. (And I suspect that there is one higher than "top secret", but I wouldn't want to ask.) – Hot Licks Jul 24 '19 at 21:21
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    @HotLicks As a former military with "top secret security clearance", I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you. No hard feelings. – Cascabel Jul 24 '19 at 21:24
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    @Mick 'classified', not 'glassified'. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 24 '19 at 21:39
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    @EdwinAshworth Nice timing. I just poured myself a rum and coke. Cheers! – Mick Jul 24 '19 at 21:43

Nothing is classified as "Classified". Things (generally information) are classified at some level, say as "Secret", "Top Secret", plus perhaps "NOFORN", "SCI" or "SAP" etc. When talking about some information and trying to indicate it's not to be discussed openly one might refer to it (the information) as "Classified".

OK: "Hey, what's the top speed of that new jet?"

"Sorry, that's classified."

Telling someone some information being asked about is "Top Secret", etc., is against the rules. So one must simply say, "It's classified". In other words, the actual classification is classified.

Not OK: "Hey, what's the top speed of that new jet?"

"Sorry, that's Top Secret."

The very fact that the info is "Top Secret" rather than simply "Secret" indicates a higher level of sensitivity, which could be interpreted as meaning that's one really special jet.

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    And now that you told us this you have to kill us. – Hot Licks Jul 25 '19 at 1:59
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    Actually @HotLicks that decision is classified. – Cascabel Jul 25 '19 at 3:29

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