Administration Made Secret Agreement to Hide Reclassification Program from Public

In February, the New York Times revealed that “thousands of declassified documents had been reclassified by executive branch agencies and removed from public access in questionable circumstances.” The Federation of American Scientists called the reclassification efforts “a threat to the integrity of the entire national security classification and declassification program,” and warned they would reduce the National Archives to a “mere repository of officially-sanctioned history.”

Now, thanks to the National Security Archive (a nonprofit based at George Washington University), we know how the reclassification scheme came about:

The National Archives and Records Administration secretly agreed to a covert effort, led by the Air Force, the CIA, and other still-hidden intelligence entities, to remove open-shelf archival records and reclassify them while disguising the results so that researchers would not complain, according to a previously secret Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

As part of the secret agreement, the National Archives “agreed that the existence of the program was to be kept secret as long as possible” and that “the withdrawal sheets indicating the removal of documents would conceal any reference to the program and ‘any reason for the withholding of documents.’” Read more about the secret agreement HERE.