Presidential Libraries

The Declassification of Presidential Papers and Records

The Declassification of Presidential Papers and Records

The declassification of Presidential papers and records presents some unique issues and concerns which normally require a page-by-page review and referral to the originating agency rather than declassification by using guidance delegated to the Archivist.  These factors include: 

  1. Presidential papers, because of their highest policy and classification level, often contain equities, information in which a classifying agency has an interest and needs to review before declassification.  Therefore, little declassification authority for these records has been delegated to the Archivist.

  2. The records often contain multiple agency equities requiring referral to more than one agency.  Several equities can be present in a single Presidential document.

  3. A majority of these papers and records are located around the country in Presidential Libraries, far away from the classifying agency or agencies authorized to declassify them.

  4. The statutory authorities governing Presidential papers and records usually require a page-by-page review for other concerns such as statutory restrictions and privacy.