NARA and Declassification

Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) - Legislative History

Authorizing Statute, as amended

Public Interest Declassification Act of 2000, as amended

Legislative History

PL 118-31 "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024" signed December 22, 2023, amended PL 106-567 a seventh time. The amendment:

  • Specified that a member whose term has expired may continue to serve until a successor has been appointed and sworn in, for up to one year after the date of term expiration.
  • Specified that the Board may, subject to the availability of funds, hire not more than 12 staff members.

PL 116-92 "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020," signed December 20, 2019, amended PL 106-567 a sixth time. The amendment:

  • Specified the Board is to meet In person not less than quarterly.
  • Removed the sunset date.
  • Specified that the Board was deemed not to have expired on December 31, 2018 and that length of terms of members serving on the Board as of December 31, 2018 did not include the period from December 31, 2018 until the date of this Act.

PL 113-126 "Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014," signed July 7, 2014, amended PL 106-567 a fifth time. The amendment:

  • Extended the life of the Board for an additional four years to December 31, 2018.
  • The Board received an appropriation of $1 million from PL 109-148 "the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2006," signed December 30, 2005

PL 112-235 "Public Interest Declassification Board Reauthorization Act of 2012," signed January 3, 2012, amended PL 106-567 a fourth time. These amendments:

  • Clarified the terms for appointments and filling vacancies of unexpired terms
  • Extended the life of the Board for an additional two years to December 31, 2014

PL 111-259 "Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010," signed October 7, 2010, amended PL 106-567 a third time. The amendment:

  • Improved the review authority of the Public Interest Declassification Board

Section 602 of PL 110-53 "Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007," signed August 3, 2007, amended PL 106-567 a second time. These amendments:

  • Clarified that the Board may conduct declassification reviews requested by Congress independently without a Presidential request and required that any recommendations by the Board derived from a Congressional Committee request had to be reported to that Committee
  • Allowed the Board to report recommendations in response to a Congressional request to the Chairman and ranking member of the requesting committee
  • Authorized funding for Board operations to come from the National Archives
  • Extended the life of the Board for an additional four years to December 31, 2012

Section 1102 of PL 108-458 "Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004," signed December 17, 2004, amended PL 106-567. These amendments:

  • Specified the Board is to report directly to the "President, the Vice President, the Attorney General, or other designee of the President." The other designee may not be an agency head or official authorized under E. O. 12958, or any successor order
  • Specified the Board could: "…review and make recommendations to the President in a timely manner with respect to any Congressional requests, made by the committee of jurisdiction, to declassify certain records or to reconsider a declination to declassify specific records."
  • Extended the life of the Board for an additional four years to December 31, 2008

Public Law (PL) 106-567 "Intelligence Authorization Act for 2001," signed on December 27, 2000, established the Public Interest Declassification Board (the Board).

Outlined responsibilities including promoting the fullest possible public access to a thorough, accurate, and reliable documentary record of significant U.S. national security decisions and significant U.S. national security activities in order to:

  • Support the oversight and legislative functions of Congress;
  • Support the policymaking role of the Executive Branch;
  • Respond to the interest of the public in national security matters;
  • Promote reliable historical analysis and new avenue of historical study in national security matters
  • Authorized funding of $650,000 for the Board’s activities (not appropriated)
  • Established December 31, 2004 as the initial sunset date for the Board