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Federal Intelligence Agencies REclassify Thousands of Documents

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#1 spy1


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Posted 24 February 2006 - 12:50 PM

Federal Intelligence Agencies REclassify Thousands of Docume

Intelligence agencies have reclassified about 9,500 documents that were
available to the public for years at the National Archives, according to
a recent report by the New York Times. The effort began seven years ago
after the CIA and five other agencies complained about the implications
of a declassification order signed by President Clinton in 1995. About
8,000 documents have been reclassified during the Bush presidency alone.

Documents that have been taken off the Archive's shelves through the
program include decades-old reports from the State Department, as well
as historical documents that researchers photocopied and have kept in
their files.

The National Archives' Information Security Oversight Office launched an
investigation into the program after receiving complaints from
historians and reviewing 16 reclassified documents, none of which were
found to warrant secrecy. Furthermore, the office had not been informed
of reclassifications made through the program, even though a 2003 law
requires reclassifications to be reported to the office. While the
office cannot order that the documents be declassified, its director,
William J. Leonard, is the President's top advisor on classification
policy and may urge the White House to terminate the program.

A hint of the reclassification program's existence came in 2004, when a
State Department official informed the agency's Historical Advisory
Committee that the CIA had been reclassifying State Department
documents. In that meeting, CIA officials "claimed the right to remove
documents from the open files that, in their view, had never been
'properly declassified.'"

Under current executive orders, secret documents must be made public
after 25 years unless there is a compelling reason to keep them

New York Times, U.S. Reclassifies Many Documents in Secret Review:

A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
--George Washington


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