Draft Order Would Set New Limits on Classification





DRAFT ORDER WOULD SET NEW LIMITS ON CLASSIFICATION

"No information may remain classified indefinitely," according to a draft of an Obama Administration executive order on national security classification policy.

As a statement of principle, this may seem tame and self-evident. But until now, no Administration has been willing to make such a categorical statement about the temporal limits of national security secrecy, and it may have significant policy consequences...

... The draft order states (section 3.3g) that all records are to be automatically declassified no more than 50 years from the date of origin, with the sole exception of records that would identify a confidential human intelligence source. And even such intelligence records must be declassified no more than 75 years from the date of origin, with no exceptions. This is something new. An existing requirement for "automatic declassification" at 25 years would remain in place, but at the 25 year point there are still nine expansive exemptions to declassification. Under the new policy, the exemptions would diminish over time and then disappear altogether...

... A National Declassification Center would be established to facilitate interagency review of historical records and to resolve quality control issues, presumably leading to more complete and expeditious access to such declassified records (section 3.7)...





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