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Over at OSTP: Declassification Policy Forum

Since Monday, the Declassification Policy Forum has seen over 40 comments posted with recommendations for revisions to Executive Order 12958, as amended, "Classified National Security Information."  The conversation has been very productive and informative.  For the full discussion, please see the Declassification Policy entry.  Here are a few of your many ideas to improve declassification policy:
  • A new executive order should be designed for the electronic environment.
  • The older information is, the less need there should be for a declassification review. There should be a "drop-dead" date of 50, 75, or 100 years for declassification. 
  • We should re-think the principle that only the classifying agency has the authority to declassify a document.
  • Each agency that classifies information should be required to spend a fixed percentage of the amount spent on classification on declassification. 
  • The only human intelligence sources that should be eligible for continued classification are those that could be placed in physical jeopardy if disclosed. 
  • There should be incentives for personnel to produce material at the lowest classification levels possible.
  • The CIA veto at the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP) should be eliminated.
  • The ISCAP should provide more information about its decisions to the public.
  • The Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) should have declassification authority, which would strengthen its oversight capabilities. 
  • There should be an expert panel to identify records concerning events which should be classified for longer than 25 years and allow the remainder of the records to be automatically declassified.
  • There should be a central public database for declassified documents.
  • Decisions to continue classification should be based on the substance of the information to be released and on the real damage to national security that could occur if disclosed.
  • If prioritization of records is done, it should be done by archivists in the final, or access, phase of the declassification process, to identify records for scanning, electronic distribution, or other levels of processing and description.
We have heard from those of you who are participating in the Declassification Policy Forum that it would be helpful if the period allowed for commenting were extended.  We have taken this into consideration and will be extending the comment period on all topics until Sunday, July 19, 2009.  We will continue to summarize comments in a posting at the end of the third day of each posting.  If you are unable to post your comments to the Declassification Policy Forum, please email to submit your comments. 
Tomorrow, the Declassification Policy Forum will begin its second topic, "Envisioning a National Declassification Center."  The Public Interest Declassification Board is looking for your ideas on the possible creation of a National Declassification Center that would promote interagency cooperation for declassification.  This idea is being considered in the Administration’s review of Executive Order 12958, as amended, "Classified National Security Information."  We look forward to having a productive discussion.

To comment on this post, visit the OSTP blog.
Public Interest Declassification Board Support Staff