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NARA’s declassification audit

*This is an update to the original story posted on FGI.*

On April 26, U.S. Archivist Allen Weinstein and Information Oversight Office Director J. William Leonard released the results of their audit into the secret reclassification of 55,000+ previously declassified pages of public records (there are various numbers floating around out there and it’s unclear whether the archivist is counting *pages* of records, or complete records).

Archive General Counsel Meredith Fuchs reacted by stating,

“We are stunned to learn that this program is even larger than we were previously told. For the last two months we thought only 9,500 records were reclassified. In fact more than twice that number were reclassified, and we now know that re-reviews happened at Presidential libraries as well as at NARA and that between 24 and 36 percent of those should not have been reclassified.”

Commenting on the specific findings, Fuchs noted, “This report confirms our fears that some Executive Branch agencies are willing to pour taxpayer dollars into efforts to control all information for all time without considering whether it is necessary or even feasible. Not only did this surreptitious reclassification program draw attention to information that otherwise would likely have remained obscure, but it did so at tremendous cost. I can’t imagine that we are any safer today than we would be if this reclassification program had never taken place.”

Read more from the National Security Archive

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