Press/Journalists

National Archives Reviewing Proposed CIA Records Schedule
Press Release · Friday, July 21, 2017

Washington, DC

New schedule will require long-term retention of administrative and select program records

The National Archives and Records Administration is in the final stages of the records scheduling process with the Central Intelligence Agency to authorize the disposal, after 30 years, of various categories of CIA records. Due to recent interest in CIA’s proposed schedule, National Archives is providing copies of their schedule, along with our appraisal report, which further clarifies the administration’s position on these long-term disposable records. These documents and other information on the scheduling process can be found on the National Archives’ records management blog, “Records Express.” 

The scheduling process includes the Archives’ appraisal report of CIA records, which is based on on-site review and discussions of agency business processes with CIA officials. As with all agency schedules, this schedule must be approved by the Archivist of the United States, following a public notice and comment period.

All agencies are required to manage their records under a National Archives-approved records schedule, using either the General Records Schedule or an agency-specific schedule reviewed and approved by the administration. The GRS provides records retention and disposal guidance for common program and administrative records created by more than 250 federal agencies within the U.S. Government’s Executive Branch. The GRS tells agencies, including CIA, the minimum time periods that specific categories of records must be retained and when to destroy them. The GRS includes records such as travel documents, payroll files, and building maintenance records, which can be disposed of in as little as 5 years. In consultation with the National Archives, federal agencies may exceed the retention periods defined in the GRS, but they are not allowed to reduce them.

As mentioned above, agencies may submit “agency-specific schedules” for National Archives’ approval. These schedules either extend GRS requirements, or cover agency-specific program records. As part of that process, the National Archives provides public notice in the Federal Register of all agency records proposed for disposal. Members of the public may then request copies of the schedules posted for review in order to understand the records and proposed dispositions, and to submit comments, if they wish, before the comment deadline. Agency records designated as “permanent” are not required to be published in the Federal Register and are eventually transferred to the National Archives for permanent retention and public access. All National Archives approved records schedules can be found here.

Additional Information
Appraisal Memo - Final
Schedule Process
Records Schedule

For immediate response to this press release, contact James Stossel at (301) 837-3046.

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For press information contact the National Archives Public and Media Communications Staff at 202-357-5300.

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This page was last reviewed on July 21, 2017.
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