January 27, 2022

Senators Wyden and Moran Welcome DNI’s Recognition that the U.S. Must Fix the Broken Declassification System

Washington, D.C. – Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., welcomed Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines’ acknowledgement that the U.S. declassification system is failing and in need of urgent repair, in response to their request that she take swift and meaningful actions to reform the country’s broken declassification system.  In her response, Director Haines acknowledged the serious dangers posed by the current system while noting that necessary reform efforts have not yet been prioritized or adequately funded.

“Director Haines clearly recognizes that the current broken classification system harms U.S. national security while eroding the public’s trust in government.  The DNI has offered to work with us to reform the system and, as members of the Senate Intelligence and Appropriations Committees, we intend to do so,” said Wyden and Moran.

Director Haines’ letter was accompanied by non-public examples of efforts currently underway within the Intelligence Community.

“We are encouraged by programs to automate the declassification review process,” the senators said.  “We agree with the DNI that efforts such as these need to be better prioritized and funded.  There must also be a process by which the most effective modernization processes are identified as best practices and applied across the government.”

“In addition to modernizing the declassification system, it is also long past time to fix the executive orders that control classification and declassification.  We have asked the DNI to coordinate with the National Security Council to make needed updates and we intend to reach out to the Administration to address this critically important reform.”

The senators’ original letter to Director Haines is available here and her response is available here.

Efforts by Senators Wyden and Moran to reform the declassification process were the subject of a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee in September 2020:

Senator Wyden included amendments to the classified annex to the Fiscal Year 2022 Intelligence Authorization Act advancing efforts to accelerate declassification and promote declassification reform.


Press Contact

Keith Chu (Wyden) 202-224-5244