View Header


                       Office of the Press Secretary
                             (Athens, Greece)
For Immediate Release                                  November 19, 1999


Executive Order on Declassification

The President today signed an Executive Order that furthers the Administration's policy of openness and its goal of declassifying historically valuable records over 25 years old.

As the recently released Information Security Oversight Office Report for 1998 shows, from the time the President issued Executive Order 12958 in April 1995 through September 1998, Federal agencies have declassified 670 million pages of permanently valuable records. This unprecedented achievement represents almost 80 percent of the total number of pages declassified since 1980.

However, several hundred million pages of 25-year-old records remain to be declassified. The order signed today extends the deadline for agency declassification of such records, recognizing the practical limits of agency declassification resources. By extending the deadlines, the Order provides time for the agencies to thoroughly review the remaining documents. This step thus ensures that any information contained in those records that should remain classified for reasons of national security will not inadvertently be released through automatic declassification.

These efforts promote significant visibility into the decision-making processes of American government, and a far more complete and accurate accounting of our Nation's history. The primary sources made available under this program will underpin the writing of American and world history by generations of researchers.

# # #