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FAS Intro: The following draft amendment to executive order 12958 would extend the current April 2000 deadline for automatic declassification of 25 year old historically valuable records by an additional 18 months. It is now being circulated among executive branch agencies by the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), and may be signed by the President in late May or June.


Executive Order

Amendment to Executive Order 12958

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to extend the time within which all classified information contained in records more than 25 years old that have been determined to have historical value under title 44, United States Code, should be automatically declassified, it is hereby ordered that Executive Order 12958 is amended as follows:

Section 1. In the first sentence of Sec. 3.4(a) of Executive Order 12958, the words "within five years from the date of this order" are deleted and the words "within six and one half years from the effective date of this order" are inserted in lieu thereof.*

Section 2. Insert the following new sentence at the end of Sec. 3.4(a): "For records otherwise subject to this paragraph for which a review or assessment conducted by the agency and confirmed by the Information Security Oversight Office has determined that they:

all classified information in such records shall be automatically declassified, whether or not the records have been reviewed, within 8 years from the date of this order, except as provided in paragraph (b), below."


*ISOO Note: there is an unintentional error in the revision language. Specifically, the White House has agreed to a general eighteen month extension to the current automatic declassification deadline established in E.O. 12958, i.e., until mid-October 2001. As Section 1 of the proposed amendment is currently written, however, the general extension would be for two years, since the "effective date" of the Order was October 14, 1995, while the date of the Order was April 17, 1995. To correct this error, the current language in Section 1 will likely be amended either by deleting the word "effective" or by deleting the words "and one half."

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