Releasing All We Can, Protecting What We Must

The Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) of the National Archives is responsible to the President of the United States for policy and oversight of the Government-wide security classification system. An open society in which the American public is informed and holds our government accountable is a defining factor of our democracy. Our ability to share information must be balanced by the need to hold certain information in confidence for periods of time to protect from harm our citizens, our democratic institutions, and our participation in the community of nations. ISOO ensures the development and application of policies which balance the disclosure, sharing, and protection of information related to national security.

President Obama issued Executive Order 13526 in December of 2009 calling for the first ever comprehensive Fundamental Classification Guidance Review (FCGR) of classification guidance across the Executive Branch of the government. These reviews are conducted to ensure that classification guidance reflects current circumstances as to what needs to remain classified and to identify classified information that no longer needs protection and can be declassified.

The first FCGR has now been completed and the agency reviews summarizing their reviews are available at Altogether, 3,103 classification guides were reviewed and 869 were either cancelled or consolidated.

This review is an investment in the future health of the classification system. It provides a means for Agency heads to ensure the proper protection of information that is vital to national security, while at the same time providing the basis to avoid over classification and unnecessary withholding of information from the public. These reviews will be conducted every five years.

Someone Talked
“Someone Talked, 1941-1945.” Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information, Domestic Operations Branch. Bureau of Special Services. (03/09/1943 – 09/15/1945) National Archives Identifier: 513672














2 thoughts on “Releasing All We Can, Protecting What We Must

  1. Mr. Ferriero,

    Are you planning to speak out about the closing of the Georgia State Archives? You have been silent while we have heard from the Canadian Archives, the president of ALA, the American History Association. It would mean alot if the National Archives would speak out about it.

    Thank you.

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