Executive Order 13526

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Executive Order 13526
Classified National Security Information
Seal of the President of the United States
TypeExecutive order
Executive Order number13526
Signed byBarack Obama on December 29, 2009
Federal Register details
Federal Register document numberE9-31418
Publication dateJanuary 5, 2010
Document citation75 FR 705

Executive Order 13526 was issued on December 29, 2009, by United States President Barack Obama.[1] It is one of a series of executive orders from US Presidents outlining how classified information should be handled. It revokes and replaces the previous Executive Orders in effect for this, which were EO 12958 (text) and EO 13292 (text).


As a component of the Obama Administration's initiative to improve transparency and open-access to the Federal Government and the information it produces formally introduced upon taking office in late January 2009[2] and as a result of an agency-wide review and recommendation process ordered in May of that same year,[3] the issuance of EO 13526 was ultimately prompted by several factors.

One factor was the large backlog of documents scheduled to be automatically declassified on December 31, 2009, and how to deal with that reality.[4] Another factor was delivering on a campaign promise.[5]

These latest regulations, at the time, went into full effect on June 25, 2010, except for sections 1.7, 3.3, and 3.7, which were effective immediately on December 29, 2009.[6][7] [8]

Significant changes[edit]

EO 13526 restated the authorized list of designees who can originate classification, in effect rescinding any previous designations made by officials or agency heads to subordinates.

A significant provision of EO 13526 is the creation of the National Declassification Center. The major focus is the idea that information should become declassified systematically as soon as practicable. Specific time limits are mentioned for different kinds of information, but there is also the provision that information that still needs to be classified can stay classified. Mechanisms are outlined for periodic reevaluation of the need to classify information, even if the result of the evaluation is to keep the information classified


It has been claimed[by whom?], but not substantiated, that many classified documents are still illegally blocked from FOIA requests and treated as such despite the fact that classification must not be used to "conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error; or to prevent embarrassment". [citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Promoting Openness and Accountability by Making Classification a Two-Way Street, by William H. Leary, Special Adviser to the National Security Advisor and Senior Director for Records and Access Management, National Security Staff, 29 December 2009
  2. ^ Ed O'Keefe (January 21, 2009). "New Obama Orders on Transparency, FOIA Requests". The Washington Post.
  3. ^ "Obama Wants Classified Information Review". USA Today. Associated Press. May 27, 2009.
  4. ^ Michael J. Sniffen (May 28, 2009). "Obama Orders Review of Top Secret Classification". Fox News (AP).
  5. ^ Angie Dbronic Holan (December 30, 2009). "Executive Order Creates National Declassification Center". Tampa Bay Times (PolitiFact).
  6. ^ Part 1, Sec. 1.3(a)(1) & 1.3(c)(2), Executive Order 13526 of December 29, 2009, Classified National Security Information, Federal Register - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Vol. 75, No. 2, 5 January 2010, p.708.
  7. ^ Order of December 29, 2009, Original Classification Authority, Federal Register - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Vol. 75, No. 2, 5 January 2010, p.735.
  8. ^ Part 6, Sec. 6.2(g) & 6.3, Executive Order 13526 of December 29, 2009, Classified National Security Information, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 5 January 2010

External links[edit]