A dozen civil society organizations, including TCP, expressed appreciation for direction the Office of the Director of National Intelligence provided to the heads of major intelligence agencies urging them to consider concrete changes in the way they classify and declassify information and to look at implementing a proactive discretionary declassification program.
In an April 25 letter to DNI James Clapper, the groups wrote: “[O]verclassification is a longstanding and widely acknowledged problem in the federal government. Far too much information is unnecessarily classified, is classified at too high a level, or remains classified too long. A periodic review of classification guides can be a potent mechanism for limiting classification activity.”
A proactive discretionary declassification program could “serve the public interest in obtaining timely government information and reduce the burden that the current declassification system places on agencies,” the groups wrote. They encouraged the intelligence agencies to incorporate input from public stakeholders in the review process.
Among the groups joining TCP in supporting the ODNI’s efforts are Access Now, American Library Association, Brennan Center for Justice, Center for Democracy and Technology, Demand Progress, Electronic Frontier Foundation, New America’s Open Technology Institute and OpenTheGovernment.org.