Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB)

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Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB)

JUST RELEASED: The PIDB published its 2014 Supplemental Report, Setting Priorities: An Essential Step in Transforming Declassification.  The Supplemental Report focuses on topic-based declassification prioritization.  In it, the PIDB makes the case for the government to adopt a centralized approach to topic-based prioritization and recommends specific policy and process changes aimed at improving access to historically significant records most sought-after by the public.  With input from the public, agency classifiers, declassifiers and historians, the recommendations found in this supplemental report are meant to assist the Records Access and Information Security Interagency Policy Committee/Classification Reform Committee (RAIS IPC/CRC) in its work of evaluating the PIDB's 2012 Report recommendations and developing a government-wide approach to transforming classification.

Setting Priorities: An Essential Step in Transforming Declassification – December 2014 

Setting Priorities-An Essential Step in Transforming Declassification–December 2014

Please visit the PIDB’s blog Transforming Classification, for more information about the PIDB’s activities.

Transforming Classification


The Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) is an advisory committee established by Congress in 2000, in order to promote the fullest possible public access to a thorough, accurate, and reliable documentary record of significant U.S. national security decisions and activities. The President appointed Nancy E. Soderberg as chair of the Board and William H. Leary as a member of the Board. The Minority Leader of the House appointed David E. Skaggs and the Speaker of the House appointed William O. Studeman.  The Majority Leader of the Senate appointed Sanford J. Ungar and the Minority Leader of the Senate appointed Kenneth L. Wainstein.

The Director of the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), serves as the PIDB Executive Secretary, and the ISOO staff provides staff support on a reimbursable basis.


Section 311 of the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014, Section 2 of the Public Interest Declassification Board Reauthorization Act of 2012, Section 602 of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, and Section 1102 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 extended and modified the PIDB as established by the Public Interest Declassification Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-567, title VII, Dec. 27, 2000, 114 Stat. 2856).


  • Advises and provides recommendations to the President and other executive branch officials on the systematic, thorough, coordinated, and comprehensive identification, collection, review for declassification, and release of declassified records and materials of archival value, including records and materials of extraordinary public interest.
  • Promotes the fullest possible public access to a thorough, accurate, and reliable documentary record of significant U.S. national security decisions and activities in order to: support the oversight and legislative functions of Congress; support the policymaking role of the executive branch; respond to the public interest on national security matters; and promote reliable historical analysis and new avenues of historical study in national security matters.
  • Advises the President and other executive branch officials on policies deriving from Executive Orders regarding the classification and declassification of national security information.
  • Reviews and makes recommendations to the President with respect to any Congressional request, made by the committee of jurisdiction, to declassify certain records or to reconsider a rejection to declassify specific records.

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