Presidential Libraries


The Remote Archives Capture Program (RAC)

In 1995, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Archives and the Presidential Libraries proposed to the intelligence and classifying community a cooperative interagency plan called the Remote Archive Capture (RAC) project.  The purpose was to digitize all classified Presidential papers so that the scanned images could be brought to Washington, D.C for a declassification review by the equity-holding agencies.  Once in Washington, the scanned documents are prepared and made available to the primary classifying agencies at a centralized CIA center for review and declassification of their equities.  Upon the completion of their review, the scanned images of the documents are returned to the Presidential Libraries on a TOP SECRET/SCI system.  The Presidential Libraries use these decisions to process and release their textual collections.  Newly declassified RAC Presidential documents from the Johnson and Carter  Administrations, and soon at other Presidential Libraries, can be electronically searched and accessed in  the Library’s research rooms on standalone computers.

Given the budgetary constraints and the larger volume of records, the RAC Project from Reagan’s second term forward, will no longer focus on scanning all classified records.  Instead the Presidential Library staffs will focus on equity identification, application of delegated guidance, and preparation of records for prioritized scanning.  When the records are 25 years old, Libraries will have the files ready for scanning, prioritized with Library and customer input.  Researchers at these Libraries will be able to request a declassification review by:

  1. a mandatory review request,
  2. a FOIA request for review,
  3. requesting a review under the 25-year provisions of EO 13526. 

Any researcher request for materials that meet the 25-year provisions of EO 13526 will be scanned and prioritized through the National Declassification Center (NDC).