The Protection of Classified Information: The Legal Framework
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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Recent incidents involving leaks of classified information have heightened interest in the legal framework that governs security classification, access to classified information, and penalties for improper disclosure. Classification authority has generally rested with the executive branch, although Congress has enacted legislation regarding the protection of certain sensitive information. While the Supreme Court has stated that the President has inherent constitutional authority to control access to sensitive information relating to the national defense or to foreign affairs, no court has found that Congress is without authority to legislate in this area. This report provides an overview of the relationship between executive and legislative authority over national security information, and summarizes the current laws and regulations that form the legal framework protecting classified information.
- Information Science
- Government and Political Science