Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB)

News and Notices

  • PIDB Member Ken Wainstein participated in a panel addressing ongoing national security issues on March 18, 2014 sponsored by the American University, Washington College of Law's Collaboration on Government Secrecy. For more information, visit the PIDB Blog.
  • PIDB Member Admiral William Studeman (ret.) was the keynote speaker at National Security Law & Policy Journal Symposium “Whistleblowers, Leakers, and Traitors: An Evolving Paradigm" held on February 25, 2014 at Georgetown. PIDB Member Ken Wainstein participated on the panel, "A New Paradigm of Leaking.
  • On September 17, 2013, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appointed Kenneth L. Wainstein to serve a three-year term as a member of the Public Interest Declassification Board.
  • On August 1, 2013, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Jim Risch (R-ID) introduced the "Preserving American Access to Information Act". The Bill is designed to promote transparency and efficiency by reducing unnecessary classification and addressing the growing backlog of records awaiting declassification.

Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB)

Declassify or not . . .that’s our question.

The Public Interest Declassification Board thanks those who submitted comments to our blog, Transforming Classification.  For the past eight weeks, we asked YOU for topics you feel the Government should prioritize for declassification review.  We appreciate all those who contributed ideas.  We plan to include the content from the blog in an upcoming report where we will discuss declassification prioritization and elaborate on our recommendations for improving declassification across Government.  We will publish our findings and recommendations in the coming weeks. 

Please continue to stay informed of the Board’s activities by visiting our blog, Transforming Classification, which remains open for viewing and discussion about the posts and comments listed.

Transforming Classification

History:

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 Soderberg as chair of the Board and Martin C. Faga, William H. Leary, and Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker as members. The Minority Leader of the House appointed David Skaggs and the Speaker of the House appointed William O. Studeman.  The Majority Leader of the Senate appointed Sanford 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.

Background:

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 [PDF](P.L. 106-567, title VII, Dec. 27, 2000, 114 Stat. 2856).

Functions:

  • 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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