Per the article (Outline Link):
A memorandum summarizing the meeting was limited to all but a few officials with the highest security clearances in an attempt to keep the president’s comments from being disclosed publicly, according to the former officials, who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.
Applying a classification to “politically embarrassing” or “illegal activities” would clearly violate EO 13526, Part 1, Section 1.7, which states:
“In no case shall information be classified, continue to be maintained as classified, or fail to be declassified in order to:
(1) conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error; [or]
(2) prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency.
This is a 2009, executive order issued by Obama.
Executive orders carry the full force of the law.
This also, violates 28 CFR § 17.22, specifically section D:
(d) Information shall not be classified in order to conceal inefficiency, violations of law, or administrative error; to prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency; to restrain competition; or to prevent or delay release of information that does not require protection in the interest of national security.
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