Press/Journalists

Press Release
January 13, 2009

Information Security Oversight Office Releases
FY 2008 Annual Report to the President

Contact Information

  • ISOO
    Room 100
    National Archives and Records Administration
    700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC, 20408-0001

    ISOO contact info Telephone:   202-357-5250
    Fax:   202-357-5907
    E-mail:   isoo@nara.gov
  • NARA public affairs contact National Archives
    Public Affairs Staff
    202-357-5300
  • ISOO web site

Washington, DC…The Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) announced today that it has released its Report to the President for Fiscal Year 2008. The Report is accessible on the ISOO web site (www.archives.gov/isoo/).

The Report profiles data about the Government-wide security classification program during Fiscal Year 2008.

In his transmittal letter to the President, ISOO Director William J. Bosanko wrote:

Our oversight efforts continue to identify shortcomings in agency implementation of basic requirements. Of particular concern are requirements related to implementing directives, security education and training, classification guides, and self-inspections. . . . requirements that have been in effect since 2003 and in many cases since 1995. At a time where we would expect to find increasing stability in the program, we are instead finding failure with basic requirements.

Bosanko also notes that the security classification system is effective “. . . only when agency heads demonstrate personal commitment and direct senior management and resources to make it work.” His letter explains that the current policy “…has served the country well in terms of protecting national security information and enabling declassification at a level that an open society expects and deserves. However, further refinement is necessary, particularly to address the ways in which classified information is created and used in today’s electronic environment and to address the processing of multi-agency materials subject to automatic declassification.”

Highlights of the report include:

Classification

  • Executive branch agencies reported 4,109 original classification authorities.
  • Agencies reported using the ten-year-or-less declassification instruction for 58 percent of original classification decisions.
  • Executive branch agencies reported 23,217,557 derivative classification decisions.
  • Agencies reported 23,421,098 combined classification decisions.
  • Sixty-seven percent of the classification guides reported as being currently in use had not been updated within the past five years as required by E.O. 12958, as amended.

Declassification

  • Under automatic declassification and systematic declassification review, agencies declassified 31,443,552 pages of historically valuable records.
  • There are an estimated 51 million pages of records containing the equities of multiple agencies that require review by December 31, 2009. ISOO is not confident agencies will meet this deadline.
  • Agencies received 8,264 initial mandatory declassification review requests, the highest ever reported.
  • Under mandatory review, agencies declassified 190,291 pages in their entirety, declassified 50,219 pages in part, and retained classification of 20,774 pages in their entirety.
  • Agencies reported carrying over 5,843 initial mandatory declassification review requests into FY 2009.
  • Agencies received 196 mandatory declassification review appeals and processed 178 appeals, the largest number of appeals processed in a single fiscal year.
  • On appeal, agencies declassified 1,189 pages in their entirety, 1,501 pages in part, and retained classification of 3,782 pages in their entirety.

Hard copies of the Report will be available within the next two months. Write: ISOO, Room 100, National Archives and Records Administration, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20408-0001; telephone, 202-357-5250; fax, 202-357-5907; or e-mail, isoo@nara.gov.

Established in 1978, ISOO is responsible to the President for overseeing the Government-wide security classification program, and receives policy and program guidance from the National Security Council. ISOO has been a component of the National Archives and Records Administration since 1995. ISOO Reports to the President from prior years are available on its web site.

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For press information please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

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