Interagency Secrecy Reviews Draw to a Close

Two 90-day interagency reviews of government secrecy policies that were ordered by President Obama on May 27 are now essentially complete.

A review of the current executive order on classification policy is finished except for a few “sticky” issues pertaining to intelligence agency authorities, according to one participant in the interagency process.  The recommendations of that review have not yet been transmitted to the White House.  A separate review of procedures for handling “controlled unclassified information” (CUI) produced recommendations that were sent to the White House last week, though the contents have not been disclosed.

Both reviews were the subject of considerable public comment, and the resulting recommendations include at least some proposed changes that are directly traceable to public input, the participant said.  But he also cautioned against overly high expectations for the outcome, especially given the insular character of the deliberative process, which was dominated by agency classification personnel.  “You’ve got a bunch of foxes designing security for the henhouse,” he said.

The recommendations that were produced by the interagency reviews must still be reviewed by the White House and then approved or modified, a process that could take months.  A decision on whether to invite additional public comment has not yet been announced.

No Responses to “Interagency Secrecy Reviews Draw to a Close”

  1. smintheus September 2, 2009 at 9:39 PM #

    With regard to CUI, one reform that’s essential is to require that the (non) classification expire after a set number of years unless a review shows that an extension is necessary. Another critical reform would be to ensure that FOIA requests related to CUI docs get reviewed by an independent panel that’s authorized to release them if warranted.

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