Declassification in Full of the 1954 Oppenheimer Hearing

The PIDB congratulates the Department of Energy’s Office of Classification Management for declassifying the complete 1954 Oppenheimer Hearing Transcript.  President Obama’s Second Open Government National Action Plan tasked Government agencies, including the Department of Energy, to systematically review and declassify historical data on nuclear activities.  The PIDB is pleased to see the Department of Energy actively working to declassify historical nuclear information and supporting the goals in the National Action Plan. According to the DOE’s OpenNet website, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) held a four-week, closed-door hearing in April and May of 1954 to determine the security clearance status of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer.  The AEC previously released a redacted form of the original transcript, In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer: Transcript of Hearing before Personnel Security Board, in 1954.  The Department of Energy has re-reviewed the nineteen volumes of transcripts and has released them in their entirety without any redactions.  For the first time, the public and historians can read and use these full transcripts and gain new insight into an aspect of U.S. Cold War and nuclear weapons policy history.   The PIDB also commends the Department of Energy for providing the public with specific information on how to view the newly declassified information and identify the previously redacted/segregated “Classified Testimony.”  This additional effort of creating a cross-reference volume entitled, “Record of Deletions” of the declassified portions will aid researchers in their understanding of the records, an important step in the support of open government and transparency.

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