Security Classification Policy and Procedure: E.O. 12958, as Amended
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
Pagination or Media Count:
Largely prescribed in a series of successive presidential executive orders issued over the past 50 years, security classification policy and procedure provide the rationale and arrangements for designating information officially secret for reasons of national security, and for its declassification as well. President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued the first executive order E.O. 8381 in 1940. Current security classification policy may be found in Executive Order 12958, which was signed by President William Clinton on April 17, 1995. It prescribes a uniform system for classifying, safeguarding, and declassifying national security information. As issued, E.O. 12958 declared, If there is significant doubt about the need to classify information, it shall not be classified. Additionally, the order stated If there is significant doubt about the appropriate level of classification, it shall be classified at the lower level. President George W. Bush amended Executive Order 12958 via Executive Order 13292 on March 25, 2003. E.O. 13292 made many changes to E.O. 12958, and eliminated both of the aforementioned significant doubt provisions. On May 27, 2009, President Barack Obama ordered a review of E.O. 12958. The National Security Advisor is required to submit to the President recommendations and proposed revisions to E.O. 12958 within 90 days. President Obama signed an executive order on December 29, 2009, that revoked E.O. 12958 and prescribes a uniform system for classifying, safeguarding, and declassifying national security information. The order made a number of significant changes to current information policies, such as 1 requiring the establishment of a National Declassification Center at the National Archives 2 ending the E.O. 13292 policy of empowering the Director of Central Intelligence to block declassification actions and 3 declaring that no information may remain classified indefinitely.
- Information Science
- Government and Political Science
- Military Intelligence