The Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) recently sent a letter to President Obama expressing its serious concerns about the federal government’s performance regarding declassification and providing citizen access to government information. The Board stated, “We have to sound a note of alarm about how well the Government is doing in this area. In fact, we have concluded that this fundamental principle of self-government is at risk an, without decisive action, the situation is likely to worsen.”
The PIDB went on to cite four major reasons why the current declassification system is deficient:
1. The volume of classified records vastly exceeds the agencies’ capacity to perform timely declassification;
2. No coordinated inter-agency process exists for efficient consideration of multiple and, often conflicting, agency interests;
3. Without strong leadership on declassification, agencies have proven risk averse; and
4. New technologies have made the already daunting declassification problem much bigger.