This order establishes an open and uniform program for managing information that requires safeguarding or dissemination controls pursuant to and consistent with law, regulations, and Government-wide policies, excluding information that is classified under Executive Order of December 29, , or the Atomic Energy Act, as amended. At present, executive departments and agencies agencies employ ad hoc, agency-specific policies, procedures, and markings to safeguard and control this information, such as information that involves privacy, security, proprietary business interests, and law enforcement investigations. This inefficient, confusing patchwork has resulted in inconsistent marking and safeguarding of documents, led to unclear or unnecessarily restrictive dissemination policies, and created impediments to authorized information sharing. The fact that these agency-specific policies are often hidden from public view has only aggravated these issues. To address these problems, this order establishes a program for managing this information, hereinafter described as Controlled Unclassified Information, that emphasizes the openness and uniformity of Government-wide practice.

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Part 6- General Provisions This order prescribes a uniform system for classifying, safeguarding, and declassifying national security information, including information relating to defense against transnational terrorism.

Our democratic principles require that the American people be informed of the activities of their Government. Nevertheless, throughout our history, the national defense has required that certain information be maintained in confidence in order to protect our citizens, our democratic institutions, our homeland security, and our interactions with foreign nations.

Classification Standards. This provision does not: 1 amplify or modify the substantive criteria or procedures for classification; or 2 create any substantive or procedural rights subject to judicial review. Classification Levels.

Classification Authority. Agency heads are responsible for ensuring that designated subordinate officials have a demonstrable and continuing need to exercise this authority.

Each delegation shall identify the official by name or position. Such training must include instruction on the proper safeguarding of classified information and on the sanctions in section 5.

Original classification authorities who do not receive such mandatory training at least once within a calendar year shall have their classification authority suspended by the agency head or the senior agency official designated under section 5. A waiver may be granted by the agency head, the deputy agency head, or the senior agency official if an individual is unable to receive such training due to unavoidable circumstances. Whenever a waiver is granted, the individual shall receive such training as soon as practicable.

When an employee, government contractor, licensee, certificate holder, or grantee of an agency who does not have original classification authority originates information believed by that person to require classification, the information shall be protected in a manner consistent with this order and its implementing directives.

The information shall be transmitted promptly as provided under this order or its implementing directives to the agency that has appropriate subject matter interest and classification authority with respect to this information. That agency shall decide within 30 days whether to classify this information. Classification Categories. Information shall not be considered for classification unless its unauthorized disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause identifiable or describable damage to the national security in accordance with section 1.

Duration of Classification. Upon reaching the date or event, the information shall be automatically declassified. Except for information that should clearly and demonstrably be expected to reveal the identity of a confidential human source or a human intelligence source or key design concepts of weapons of mass destruction, the date or event shall not exceed the time frame established in paragraph b of this section.

Identification and Markings. In accordance with standards prescribed in directives issued under this order, the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office may grant and revoke temporary waivers of this requirement. The Director shall revoke any waiver upon a finding of abuse. Foreign government information retaining its original classification markings need not be assigned a U. Whenever such information is used in the derivative classification process or is reviewed for possible declassification, holders of such information shall coordinate with an appropriate classification authority for the application of omitted markings.

Classification Prohibitions and Limitations. Any such decision by the Director may be appealed by the agency head to the President through the National Security Advisor. Public access shall remain suspended pending a prompt decision on the appeal.

The requirements in this paragraph also apply to those situations in which information has been declassified in accordance with a specific date or event determined by an original classification authority in accordance with section 1. Classification Challenges. These procedures shall ensure that: 1 individuals are not subject to retribution for bringing such actions; 2 an opportunity is provided for review by an impartial official or panel; and 3 individuals are advised of their right to appeal agency decisions to the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel Panel established by section 5.

Fundamental Classification Guidance Review. The initial fundamental classification guidance review shall be completed within 2 years of the effective date of this order.

Part 2 - Derivative Classification Sec. Use of Derivative Classification. For information derivatively classified based on multiple sources, the derivative classifier shall carry forward: A the date or event for declassification that corresponds to the longest period of classification among the sources, or the marking established pursuant to section 1.

Derivative classifiers who do not receive such training at least once every 2 years shall have their authority to apply derivative classification markings suspended until they have received such training. Classification Guides. These guides shall conform to standards contained in directives issued under this order.

Part 3 - Declassification and Downgrading Sec. Authority for Declassification. In some exceptional cases, however, the need to protect such information may be outweighed by the public interest in disclosure of the information, and in these cases the information should be declassified. When such questions arise, they shall be referred to the agency head or the senior agency official.

That official will determine, as an exercise of discretion, whether the public interest in disclosure outweighs the damage to the national security that might reasonably be expected from disclosure. Any such decision by the Director may be appealed to the President through the National Security Advisor. The information shall remain classified pending a prompt decision on the appeal.

Rather, the classified information must be considered on the basis of its content. Transferred Records. Such records may be declassified or downgraded by the agency in possession of the records after consultation with any other agency that has an interest in the subject matter of the records.

However, the Archivist may require that classified records be accessioned into the National Archives when necessary to comply with the provisions of the Federal Records Act. This provision does not apply to records transferred to the Archivist pursuant to section of title 44, United States Code, or records for which the National Archives serves as the custodian of the records of an agency or organization that has gone out of existence.

All classified records shall be automatically declassified on December 31 of the year that is 25 years from the date of origin, except as provided in paragraphs b — d and g — j of this section. If the date of origin of an individual record cannot be readily determined, the date of original classification shall be used instead.

The agency head may appeal such a decision to the President through the National Security Advisor. A The information of concern shall be referred by the Center established by section 3. B If an agency fails to provide a final determination on a referral made by the Center within 1 year of referral, or by the centralized facilities referred to in section 3.

C If any disagreement arises between affected agencies and the Center regarding the referral review period, the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office shall determine the appropriate period of review of referred records. D Referrals identified prior to the establishment of the Center by section 3.

Unless otherwise determined, such information shall be declassified when comparable information concerning the United States nuclear program is declassified. An agency head may appeal such a decision to the President through the National Security Advisor. The information will remain classified while such an appeal is pending. Systematic Declassification Review. Agencies shall prioritize their review of such records in accordance with priorities established by the Center.

Mandatory Declassification Review. However, the Archivist shall have the authority to review, downgrade, and declassify papers or records of former Presidents and Vice Presidents under the control of the Archivist pursuant to 44 U.

Review procedures developed by the Archivist shall provide for consultation with agencies having primary subject matter interest and shall be consistent with the provisions of applicable laws or lawful agreements that pertain to the respective Presidential papers or records.

Any final decision by the Archivist may be appealed by the requester or an agency to the Panel. They shall release this information unless withholding is otherwise authorized and warranted under applicable law. These procedures shall apply to information classified under this or predecessor orders. They also shall provide a means for administratively appealing a denial of a mandatory review request, and for notifying the requester of the right to appeal a final agency decision to the Panel.

Processing Requests and Reviews. Notwithstanding section 4. In cases in which the originating agency determines in writing that a response under paragraph a of this section is required, the referring agency shall respond to the requester in accordance with that paragraph.

National Declassification Center. Once established, all referral processing of accessioned records shall take place at the Center, and such agency facilities and operations shall be coordinated with the Center to ensure the maximum degree of consistency in policies and procedures that relate to records determined to have permanent historical value.

Part 4 - Safeguarding Sec. General Restrictions on Access. When adequate to achieve equivalency, these standards may be less restrictive than the safeguarding standards that ordinarily apply to U. An agency head or senior agency official may waive this requirement for specific information that originated within that agency.

Such actions shall be taken only in accordance with directives implementing this order and any procedure issued by agencies governing the classified information, which shall be designed to minimize the classified information that is disclosed under these circumstances and the number of individuals who receive it. Information disclosed under this provision or implementing directives and procedures shall not be deemed declassified as a result of such disclosure or subsequent use by a recipient.

Such disclosures shall be reported promptly to the originator of the classified information. For purposes of this section, the Director of National Intelligence may issue an implementing directive governing the emergency disclosure of classified intelligence information.

Recipients shall cooperate fully with distributors who are updating distribution lists and shall notify distributors whenever a relevant change in status occurs. Special Access Programs. Unless otherwise authorized by the President, only the Secretaries of State, Defense, Energy, and Homeland Security, the Attorney General, and the Director of National Intelligence, or the principal deputy of each, may create a special access program.

For special access programs pertaining to intelligence sources, methods, and activities but not including military operational, strategic, and tactical programs , this function shall be exercised by the Director of National Intelligence. These officials shall keep the number of these programs at an absolute minimum, and shall establish them only when the program is required by statute or upon a specific finding that: 1 the vulnerability of, or threat to, specific information is exceptional; and 2 the normal criteria for determining eligibility for access applicable to information classified at the same level are not deemed sufficient to protect the information from unauthorized disclosure.

In addition, the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office shall be afforded access to these programs, in accordance with the security requirements of each program, in order to perform the functions assigned to the Information Security Oversight Office under this order. An agency head may limit access to a special access program to the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office and no more than one other employee of the Information Security Oversight Office or, for special access programs that are extraordinarily sensitive and vulnerable, to the Director only.

Part 5 - Implementation and Review Sec. Program Direction. These directives shall be binding on the agencies. Directives issued by the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office shall establish standards for: 1 classification, declassification, and marking principles; 2 safeguarding classified information, which shall pertain to the handling, storage, distribution, transmittal, and destruction of and accounting for classified information; 3 agency security education and training programs; 4 agency self-inspection programs; and 5 classification and declassification guides.

Such directives shall be consistent with this order and directives issued under paragraph a of this section. Information Security Oversight Office. If granting access to specific categories of classified information would pose an exceptional national security risk, the affected agency head or the senior agency official shall submit a written justification recommending the denial of access to the President through the National Security Advisor within 60 days of the request for access.

Access shall be denied pending the response; 5 review requests for original classification authority from agencies or officials not granted original classification authority and, if deemed appropriate, recommend Presidential approval through the National Security Advisor; 6 consider and take action on complaints and suggestions from persons within or outside the Government with respect to the administration of the program established under this order; 7 have the authority to prescribe, after consultation with affected agencies, standardization of forms or procedures that will promote the implementation of the program established under this order; 8 report at least annually to the President on the implementation of this order; and 9 convene and chair interagency meetings to discuss matters pertaining to the program established by this order.


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It recognizes that it is essential that the public be informed concerning the activities of its Government, but that the interests of the United States and its citizens require that certain information concerning the national defense and foreign relations be protected against unauthorized disclosure. Information may not be classified under this Order unless its disclosure reasonably could be expected to cause damage to the national security. If there is reasonable doubt about the appropriate level of classification, it shall be safeguarded at the higher level of classification pending a determination by an original classification authority, who shall make this determination within thirty 30 days. The authority to classify information originally as Top Secret may be exercised only by: 1 the President; 2 agency heads and officials designated by the President in the Federal Register; and 3 officials delegated this authority pursuant to Section 1.


The President Executive Order 13526



Classified National Security Information


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