Advisory board urges declassification reformsBreaking News
Declassification policy must"take into account the interest of ordinary citizens in having as 'thorough, accurate, and reliable' a record of their country's history as soon as it is possible to provide it," wrote Martin Faga, acting chair of the Public Interest Declassification Board (and former director of the National Reconnaissance Office) in his transmittal letter.
Towards that end, the Board calls for establishment of a National Declassification Center to coordinate declassification activity, to improve its efficiency, and to stabilize the declassification program. It urges new procedures to identify historically significant categories of records, and to prioritize their declassification.
The Board advocates expedited processing of Presidential records, and asks the President to affirm that historical editions of the President's Daily Brief are subject in principle to declassification, a position strongly opposed by the Central Intelligence Agency.
The report perceptively reaches deep into the nuts and bolts of classification policy to recommend that information classified as"Formerly Restricted Data" under the Atomic Energy Act be handled as defense information subject to declassification under the President's executive order, a step that would significantly expedite the declassification of historical records pertaining to nuclear weapons policy.
The report adopts one recommendation that was advocated by the Federation of American Scientists in testimony before the Board last year, namely the creation and release of a public database of declassification activities.
"All departments and agencies should be required to record declassification decisions on a single computerized system... and within five years to make databases available to the public that contain at least pertinent information such as the titles of the documents and the locations where they are available," the report states.
Many of the Board's dozens of recommendations seem thoughtful, well-founded and readily achievable. It is uncertain, though, whether they will find a receptive audience in the final year of the Bush Administration or a champion in the current Congress.
"Improving Declassification," a report to the President from the Public Interest Declassification Board, was principally authored by L. Britt Snider, the Board chairman until last October. A copy is posted here:
The Board's own web site is here:
comments powered by Disqus
- Rubio Surges Into Second In New Hampshire
- Branstad Says Cruz Ran ‘Unethical’ Campaign
- Christie Highlights Santorum’s Endorsement of Rubio
- Portman Comes Out Against Trade Deal
- Megyn Kelly Gets a Book Deal
- A Big List of the Bad Things Clinton Has Done
- An Unambiguous Sign Sanders Won Last Night’s Debate
- Still Friends at the End
- Quote of the Day
- Trump Still Leads as Clinton Slips
- Clinton Can’t Shake Image as Wall Street’s Friend
- Maddow Doesn’t See Sanders Winning
- Why Does the Media Still Shield Chelsea Clinton?
- Bush Jokes His Mother May Have Abused Him
- Rubio Closes the Gap in New Hampshire
- Humans Hard-Wired to Teach, Anthropologist Says
- Parents outraged after students shown ‘white guilt’ cartoon for Black History Month
- Maryland is once again considering retiring its state song
- One of the last remaining Nazis goes on trial in Germany
- A historian’s advice to students thinking of getting a PhD in a tough economic climate
- German historian Heinz Richter cleared of charges
- English professor uses literature to help cure historical amnesia
- WSJ features an article by a conservative calling for the abolition of Black History Month
- Mary Beard, herself a bestselling author, wonders why more women historians aren't