On Friday, the President issued the Second Open Government National Action Plan (NAP) as part of the Open Government Partnership, a cornerstone of his administration. I am very happy to report that the NAP contains the specific initiative, “Transform the Security Classification System.” Under this initiative, the President pledges to implement reforms that will keep classification to the “minimum required to meet legitimate national security needs.” He also reiterates his position that all classified information will be made available to the public through declassification once the need for secrecy has passed.
The NAP specifically references the PIDB’s report on Transforming the Security Classification System as a way forward to reduce classification and simplify the classification system for users. It includes the primary recommendation from the PIDB in our report: to establish a White-House led Security Classification Review Committee to drive reform and oversee the vetting of the fourteen recommendations in our report. We are pleased that the White House has taken our report seriously and is reviewing it in the inter-agency process. We understand Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco will be in charge of ensuring a full review. We look forward to a continuing dialogue on our report’s recommendations.
I am also gratified that the NAP specifically tasks the newly established Security Classification Review Committee to work with the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and Department of State to develop and implement a systematic review process for the declassification of historical information on nuclear programs (Formerly Restricted Data or FRD) that are obsolete. The process will focus on reviewing specific events and topics of historical nuclear policy interest and include ways for the public to identify priorities for declassification review.
When the President tasked the PIDB with studying the security classification system and recommending changes for transformation, he clearly intended to modernize and reform the system to one that will function today and in the future. We share the President’s vision of a security classification system that limits secrecy and promotes transparency whenever and wherever possible. We congratulate the President and thank him for his continued commitment to open the government and reform secrecy in the interest of both the national security and transparency and accountability of government.
We have already received many comments from our followers about what topics you would like to see declassified. Today, we present you with anew list of topics OLDER than 25 years.
View the List Here: Older Than 25 Years
Like our first category of topics 25 years old and younger, this list of older topics captures what we heard from Agency declassifiers, experts from the Presidential Libraries and the requester community. The topics are listed in alphabetical order, not by ranking.
All lists will remain active for comment while the blog is live. Please continue to make comments on this new list and also any other topics you think are important for prioritization.
Your comments will be posted as soon as possible. Please review our blog’s Comment and Posting Policy for more details. Thank you for your continued interest and participation.
Join the Declassification Prioritization Conversation. The PIDB wants to know what topics you would like to see declassified. Today, we present you with a list of topics 25 years old and YOUNGER.
View the List Here: Topics 25 Years Old and YOUNGER
This list captures topics we heard from Agency declassifiers, experts from the Presidential Libraries and the requester community. To clarify, the topics are listed in alphabetical order, not by ranking. Now we invite the public to comment on these topics and offer its own suggestions on what should be on this list of topics younger than 25 years.
Your comments will be posted as soon as possible. Please review our blog’s Comment and Posting Policy for more details. Thank you in advance for your continued interest and participation.
The Public Interest Declassification Board continues to advocate for transforming the security classification system. We now ask YOU to join the discussion about what the government should prioritize for declassification. Make sure the PIDB hears your voice by commenting on our blog, Transforming Classification, today through mid-January 2014.
Please check back-in early this afternoon to join the conversation to make the Prioritization List a reflection of all our needs.
In the coming weeks, we will begin posting this Prioritization List for public comment on our blog. The topics on the list fall into one of five categories: Topics Older than 25 Years, Topics 25 Years Old and Younger, Topics Related to Formerly Restricted Data (FRD) Information, General Topics of Interest, and Topics Specifically Gathered from Presidential Libraries.
We ask for your comments on the topics as we post them, as well as any additional topics you believe warrant inclusion on the List. We will post the first category of topics for comment TODAY following our public meeting. We will post a new category with topics for discussion on the following Mondays: *December 2, December 9 and December 16. *(Date Change Due to Holiday Week)* The week of December 16th will have two categories to discuss.
We hope the List will serve as a guide to aid agencies in reviewing the information the public wants to see. This is your opportunity to spark a much-needed conversation about the sustainability of the current declassification system and what our priorities collectively should be to make the most impact.
The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) declassified and publicly released documents relating to intelligence collection under sections 501 and 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The DNI has now declassified nearly 2,000 pages of documents since June. The declassified documents include Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinions and orders, reports to Congress on FISA activities, and internal documents from agencies on their FISA collection programs.
General Clapper began this effort at the direction of President Obama in June. We congratulate the DNI for his leadership regarding this declassification activity. Over the past year, we have heard from the public about its interest in documents related to the FISA. Gen. Clapper’s decisions support our recommendations to transform the security classification system. His declassification actions promote Government transparency and democratic discourse. These documents allow our citizens to judge the actions taken by the Government on their behalf to protect our nation’s security. The declassification actions also follow our recommendations to protect clearly defined intelligence sources and methods and to limit classification to only that information requiring protection for national security.
You may access more information about the declassification of these documents on the DNI website.
The Public Interest Declassification Board is very pleased to announce that Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) will participate as keynote speaker at the next public meeting of the PIDB. Senator Shaheen introduced the “Preserving American Access to Information Act” on August 1, 2013, which directly addresses many of the Board’s recommendations found in its 2012 Report to the President on Transforming the Security Classification System. The Bill promotes transparency and efficiency by reducing unnecessary classification and addressing the growing backlog of records awaiting declassification.
The PIDB will host this open meeting on Thursday, November 21, 2013 to discuss its recommendations and focus more specifically on declassification prioritization. To register and attend, please visit Eventbrite.
Be sure to stay connected to the Board’s activities and look for more information about the Board on our blog, Transforming Classification, and on the PIDB website.
The Public Interest Declassification Board will host an open meeting on Thursday, November 21, 2013 to discuss its recommendations to the President on Transforming the Security Classification System. The meeting will focus more specifically on declassification prioritization. Press and media are welcome to attend.
When: November 21, 2013 from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Doors Open: 9:15 a.m.
Where: The Archivist’s Reception Room, Room 105 in the National Archives Building
Address: 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC
(Note: Attendees must enter through the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance.)
Space is limited. You must confirm via Eventbrite in order to attend. Please note we require one form of Government-issued photo identification (e.g. driver’s license) to gain admittance.
In anticipation of the public meeting, the Board will re-engage its followers through its blog, Transforming Classification, where it will post its ideas of some of the most important topics for prioritized declassification review and requests members of the public join in the conversation online. Be sure to stay connected to the Board’s activities and look for more information about the Board on its website: http://www.archives.gov/declassification/pidb.
The Public Interest Declassification Board will hold a public meeting the morning of Thursday, November 21, 2013.
We will include more details about the agenda, location and time of the meeting, as well as information about how to register to attend in a future blog post.
Please visit the PIDB’s website, http://www.archives.gov/declassification/pidb/, and continue to follow the PIDB’s blog, Transforming Classification, for more information about the PIDB’s activities.
Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appointed Kenneth L. Wainstein to serve a three-year term as a member of the Public Interest Declassification Board. You can find a link to the Congressional Record announcing the appointment here. The members of the PIDB look forward to working with Mr. Wainstein as they continue their efforts to support a transformation of the security classification system.
The National Archives and Records Administration will host a “Grand Challenge to Industry” in an effort to support all Government agencies as they meet the requirements of the Managing Government Records Directive, particularly directive Goal A3.1. The goal of the industry day is for agency officials and industry leaders to collaborate in laying the “groundwork for a future of superior information management for agency and public access.”
The one-day workshop is an opportunity for vendors to “better understand the Federal information management vision, requirements, priorities, and business opportunities.” Senior Government leaders are asking industry leaders to create affordable automated solutions for managing government information. There will be information about a forthcoming Request For Information (RFI) and an opportunity for industry to ask questions.
The PIDB supports the National Archives’ efforts to engage industry and all Government agencies in seeking technological solutions that support the goals set by the President in his Memorandum on Managing Government Records. In our 2012 Report to the President on Transforming the Security Classification System, we recommended agencies improve records management overall by supporting and advancing the government-wide information management practices found in the President’s Memorandum and its Directive. Adopting modernized business practices and piloting and implementing new technological solutions will support the President’s goal to “improve performance and promote openness and accountability” through reformed records and information management policies and practices. Improving records and information management is critical to the Government’s ability to identify and provide meaningful, long-term access to historically valuable records. Moreover, it is imperative that agencies understand their information in order to apply appropriate risk management strategies to complete timely and accurate declassification of their permanent records prior to their transfer to the National Archives. Agencies continue to use information technology systems to store their information and defining and identifying permanently valuable records in these systems becomes more complex. We believe collaboration with industry through opportunities like this “Grand Challenge” is increasingly imperative. We appreciate the recognition of this challenge by Government leaders and encourage industry to participate.
You can find more information about the “Grand Challenge to Industry” at http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/prmd/industry-day.html.