ERIC Number: ED226387
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Jan
Reference Count: 0
Brown, Karen M.
Journalists and other investigators are daily using declassified government documents to shed light on historical and current events, but few have discovered how to tap the wealth of documents once classified but now in the public realm. An executive order from President Reagan eliminating declassification procedures and allowing released documents to be reclassified makes it more likely that documents will remain classified. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has provided access to many documents, although the National Security Administration is virtually excluded from the FOIA. Filing an FOIA request is an "action-producing" mechanism that forces an agency to act upon a request within 10 working days, but it also helps to know one of three key people in an agency: an archivist, an agency librarian, or a records manager. The key source of declassified materials is the National Archives and Records Service, with its 11 archives libraries. Declassified materials may also be found at the Washington National Records Center and in presidential libraries throughout the country. The Carrollton Press system, in Connecticut, contains declassified documents originating from the CIA, the State Department, and various branches of the Defense Department. Access to classifed and declassified documents varies markedly among agencies. A computer data bank with information on which documents from which agencies have been declassified could be a substantial help in answering the backlog of requests for information. (HTH)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Freedom of Information Center, Columbia, MO.
Identifiers: Executive Order 12356; Freedom of Information; Freedom of Information Act