U.S. reclassification program

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The U.S. intelligence community's secret historical document reclassification program is a project to reclassify certain documents that have already been declassified and released to the public through the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).


The previous declassification Executive Order 12958 signed in 1995, under the Clinton administration, was resisted by officials in the Defense Department and the U.S. intelligence community. The reclassification program was started in the fall of 1999 (Executive Order 13142). Security concerns were heightened by the Wen Ho Lee case, and "alleged" inadvertent release of nuclear secrets by the State Department.[1] 55 boxes of material were removed to the classified storage area on the sixth floor.[2]

It sought to be covert for as long as possible, but was revealed by the National Security Archive in February 2006.[3] By that point over 55,000 pages had already been reclassified, many dating back more than 50 years.

During the George W. Bush administration the scope of the program widened (Executive Order 13292), and was scheduled to end in March 2007.

The program has been criticized by experts, journalists and authors for reclassifying documents, which were in the public domain, where there is no reason to keep secret anymore.[4] An audit indicated that more than one third withdrawn since 1999, did not contain sensitive information.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://fas.org/sgp/news/2001/05/wp051901.html
  2. ^ "The Secret Reclassification Program", Organization of American Historians
  3. ^ "Declassification in Reverse", National security Archive, George Washington University
  4. ^ Scott Shane (February 21, 2006). "U.S. Reclassifies Many Documents in Secret Review". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ Scott Shane (April 27, 2006). "National Archives Says Records Were Wrongly Classified". The New York Times. 

External links[edit]