Press/Journalists

Press Release
May 9, 2011

Public Interest Declassification Board Blog Challenges the Public on Secrecy Suggestions

Washington, DC…The Public Interest Declassification Board (the Board) invites the public to participate and submit their suggestions on how to reform the secrecy system. On the Board’s Transforming Classification blog, launched on March 16, 2011, the Board posted eight draft recommendations on how to transform the classification and declassification system over an eight week period and invited public comments. Over 60 responses have been posted on the blog to date.

In the latest blog entry, the Board solicits public suggestions on how to transform the classification and declassification system. Once submitted, the Board will post these suggestions on the blog for public comment.

Go directly to the blog [blogs.archives.gov/transformingclassification/] or access it via the Board’s web site [www.archives.gov/pidb/]. The Board will accept submissions through May 13, 2011, and comments on all blog posts though June 4.

In December 2009, President Obama asked the Board to design a fundamental transformation of the security classification system. In response to his request, the Board has developed proposals to address the shortcomings of the current system and tackle the challenges of digital records. By reducing inefficiencies and increasing public access, its proposals aim to improve the classification and declassification system’s capacity to protect and serve the American people.

The Board’s own recommendations include:

  • Using technology to automate and streamline the declassification process;

  • Creating a comprehensive metadata strategy for classified records;

  • Opening up our nuclear history by eliminating the “FRD” (formerly restricted data) classification category for certain categories of historical records, including obsolete war plans and storage locations;

  • Ending the concept of “Agency ownership” of historical records;

  • Ensuring that the Classified records of Congress are systematically reviewed;

  • Encouraging discretionary declassification of contemporary records; and

  • Designing a new access system for the electronic environment.

The Public Interest Declassification Board is an advisory committee established by Congress to promote the fullest possible public access to a thorough, accurate, and reliable documentary record of significant U.S. national security decisions and activities. Appointed by the President and Congressional leadership, the Board is composed of former senior leaders in the Executive and Legislative branches and distinguished members of the press and the academy. More information on the Board is available on their web site [www.archives.gov/pidb/].

For more information, contact the Public Interest Declassification Board staff at 202-357-5250 or pidb@nara.gov.

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For Press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

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