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5 januari 2010

Obama Commits to Declassification, Begins Shift in Classification Programs

On December 28, 2009, President Obama issued Executive Order 13526 Concerning Classified National Security Information (the "Executive Order") and a Presidential Memorandum setting goals for declassification of historical records, a reduction in the number of original classification authorities, and promoting the use of new technologies in declassification.

In the Memorandum, President Obama states: "I expect that the order will produce measurable progress towards greater openness and transparency in the Government's classification and declassification programs while protecting the Government's legitimate interests, and I will closely monitor the results."

The Memorandum goes on to commit that "a backlog of more than 400 million pages of accessioned Federal records previously subject to automatic declassification shall be addressed in a manner that will permit public access to all declassified records from this backlog no later than December 31, 2013."

"President Obama is heading in the right direction to reduce excessive secrecy," said Meredith Fuchs, the Archive's General Counsel. "The focus on achieving public access to declassified records is directly responsive to the needs of the historical community."

"The impact of the public on the final order demonstrates that, even in the national security realm, there is a role for an informed public," commented Fuchs. "Hearing why specific provisions caused concern for the historical and archival communities allowed the Administration to develop better solutions to protect national security without inhibiting historical research."

A summary description of some of the key changes is available on our Unredacted Blog -- http://nsarchive.wordpress.com/
For more information, visit the Archive Web site: www.nsarchive.org
(Source: NSA)

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