Classified Information Procedures Act

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Classified Information Procedures Act
Great Seal of the United States
Other short titlesClassified Information Procedures Act of 1980
Long titleAn Act to provide certain pretrial, trial, and appellate procedures for criminal cases involving classified information.
Acronyms (colloquial)CIPA, CICTPA
NicknamesClassified Information Criminal Trial Procedures Act
Enacted bythe 96th United States Congress
EffectiveOctober 15, 1980
Public law96-456
Statutes at Large94 Stat. 2025
Titles amended18 U.S.C.: Crimes and Criminal Procedure
U.S.C. sections created18 U.S.C. Appendix §§ 1-16
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the Senate as S. 1482 by Joe Biden (DDE) on July 11, 1979
  • Committee consideration by Senate Judiciary, House Intelligence (Permanent), House Judiciary
  • Passed the Senate on June 25, 1980 (Passed)
  • Passed the House on September 22, 1980 (Passed, in lieu of H.R. 4736)
  • Reported by the joint conference committee on September 30, 1980; agreed to by the Senate on September 30, 1980 (Agreed) and by the House on October 2, 1980 (Agreed)
  • Signed into law by President Jimmy E. Carter on October 15, 1980

The Classified Information Procedures Act or CIPA (Pub.L. 96–456, 94 Stat. 2025, enacted October 15, 1980 through S. 1482) is codified as the third appendix to Title 18 of the U.S. Code, the title concerning crimes and criminal procedures. The U.S. Code citation is 18 U.S.C. App. III. Sections 1-16.

Legislative revision history[edit]

The hidden table below lists the acts of Congress that affected the act directly. The years in which the legislative revisions were made appear in bold text preceding the Public Laws that enacted them. The links to the codification and the section notes may provide additional information about the legislative changes, as well.

Applicable executive orders[edit]


The primary purpose of CIPA was to limit the practice of graymail by criminal defendants in possession of sensitive government secrets. "Graymail" refers to the threat by a criminal defendant to disclose classified information during the course of a trial. The graymailing defendant essentially presented the government with a "dilemma": either allow disclosure of the classified information or dismiss the indictment.

The procedural protections of CIPA protect unnecessary disclosure of classified information.[2][3]

CIPA was not intended to infringe on a defendant's right to a fair trial or to change the existing rules of evidence in criminal procedure,[4] and largely codified the power of district courts to come to pragmatic accommodations of the government's secrecy interests with the traditional right of public access to criminal proceedings.[citation needed] Courts therefore did not radically alter their practices with the passage of CIPA; instead, the Act simply made it clear that the measures courts already were taking under their inherent case-management powers were permissible.[citation needed]

CIPA, by its terms, covers only criminal cases. CIPA only applies when classified information is involved, as defined in the Act's Section 1.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Title 18, Appendix III Codification Source, Legal Information Institute (LII), Cornell University Law School.
  2. ^ Congressional Research Service Summary of S.1482, 1980-09-30
  3. ^ "Senate Report 110-442 - State Secrets Protection Act (Senate Judiciary Committee, 110th Congress)". The Library of Congress. 2008-08-01. Retrieved 2009-04-21.
  4. ^ S. Rep. No. 96-823 at 8
  • Brian Z. Tamanaha, A Critical Review Of the Classified Information Procedures Act, 13 Am. J. Cr. L. 277 (1986).

External links[edit]