June 09, 2022

Wyden and Moran Urge Administration to Update Executive Order on Classification System, Invest in New Declassification Technology

Problems with current classification system “undermine our national security,” according to DNI Avril Haines

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., urged President Biden to update the executive order governing classification and declassification in order to solve urgent problems that undermine both national security and transparency into government actions.

“The failures of the current obsolete system have been extensively documented in reports from the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) of the National Archives and the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB), and in public testimony from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. As the Director of National Intelligence reiterated earlier this year, deficiencies in the current system ‘undermine our national security, as well as critical democratic objectives,’ they wrote in a letter to President Biden, released today. 

The senators urged President Biden to make updating Executive Order 13526, which sets the rules for government classification, a priority within his administration.

“The complex interagency process necessary to achieve this long-overdue reform demands active leadership from the White House.  We therefore urge that the National Security Council be resourced to undertake this process and that you make clear, to the NSC and across the executive branch, that your administration views the completion of a new or amended executive order as an urgent priority, Wyden and Moran wrote.

The senators’ full letter to President Biden is here.

Wyden and Moran have led the Senate’s efforts to reform the classification system, which costs more than $18.5 billion each year to maintain, and introduced the Declassification Reform Act in 2020. The senators previously wrote to Director Haines about the urgent need to modernize classification systems. 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)

Tom Brandt (Moran)