Welcome to the Declassification Policy Forum. We are very interested in receiving your comments on how classified national security information policy should be revised. I am Martin Faga, Chairman of the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB), which is an advisory committee established to promote the fullest possible public access to a thorough, accurate, and reliable documentary record of significant U.S. national security decisions and activities.
On May 27, 2009, the President signed a Memorandum ordering the review of Executive Order 12958, as amended, "Classified National Security Information" (pdf). The review of the Order is to be completed within 90 days. On June 2, 2009, the National Security Advisor asked the PIDB to assist in this review by soliciting recommendations for revisions to the Order to ensure adequate public input as the review moves forward.
In response to this request, the PIDB will first solicit recommendations through this blog. We expect to receive thoughtful comments that further the discussion of policy in four areas: declassification policy, a National Declassification Center, classification policy, and technology issues and challenges. We will begin today with declassification policy and allow commenting on this topic for three days before moving on to the next topic.
Members of the Public Interest Declassification Board will post entries to frame the conversation, but we are really interested in hearing new and innovative ideas that might spark "new thinking" in the review process. Please restrict your comments to classified national security information in order to help the discussion be as productive as possible for the review team. While there are many important issues related to both openness and secrecy, this forum will focus specifically on Executive Order 12958, as amended, which includes classification, safeguarding, and declassification. Please do not include your recommendations for Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU), Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), executive privilege, or states secret privilege.
Because of the 90 day period for review, we want to make sure the content of public comments here is conveyed directly to the review process occurring right now. A summary of your comments will be periodically emailed to members of the Administration’s review team.
Please return to the blog to follow the conversation and participate in the four topics planned. The blog will conclude on Friday July 10, 2009. Additionally, on Wednesday July 8, 2009, the Board will host a public meeting at the National Archives to discuss the revisions and solicit public comment. For additional information on attending his meeting, please see the Federal Register Notice.
Give us your feedback throughout the process in our catergory at the OSTP blog. If you would rather email the PIDB directly instead of commenting on the blog, you may do so at: email@example.com.
Martin Faga is Acting Chair of the Public Interest Declassification Board
Response to Introduction from William Leary:
As the chair of the Interagency Policy Committee charged with reviewing Executive Order 12958, as amended, I would like to thank the members of the Public Interest Declassification Board for their efforts. I would also like to thank you, the public, as you submit your comments.
I encourage you to participate in this important discussion because through this Executive Order, the President will impart a uniform system for classifying, safeguarding, and declassifying national security information to the Executive branch of Government. It must address our national security requirements, the free flow of information, and the public’s access to information that no longer requires the protection of the classification system. It is therefore vital that we make our decisions during this review period with the perspectives of both the Executive branch and the public readily at hand.
This forum is historic in that we are asking for public input in this process as it unfolds. We will be following the comments and this forum closely over the next two weeks as we deliberate possible changes to the classification system to implement the President's direction.
Senior Director for Records and Access Management
National Security Council