October 26, 2022

Wyden, Moran Secure Commitment from Biden Administration to Reform Classification System, Continue Push to Update Executive Order on Classification System

“It is my continued view that deficiencies in the current system undermine our national security, as well as critical democratic objectives,” said DNI Avril Haines

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., today applauded a new commitment from Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to reform the classification system and invest in new declassification technology.

“The failures of the current classification system make our country both more vulnerable and less transparent — it’s a lose-lose proposition,” Wyden said. “I’m pleased that the Biden administration is committed to reforming the classification system and investing in new declassification technology. I’ll continue watching closely to ensure the White House gets it done and ultimately heeds my call to update the executive order governing classification.” 

“There is widespread recognition that the government’s ability to keep up with the amount of classified information is outdated and insufficient,” said Sen. Moran. “I appreciate the administration’s commitment to take steps to reform the declassification system, and I look forward to seeing how that commitment is implemented.”

In a recent letter, Senators Wyden and Moran urged President Biden to make updating Executive Order 13526, which sets the rules for government classification, a priority within his administration to solve urgent problems that undermine both national security and transparency into government actions.

In response to the joint Wyden-Moran letter, Director Haines announced a White House-led process to update the Executive Order, noting the Intelligence Community’s full support for the process and committing to including the views of Congress, advocacy organizations and academic partners.  Additionally, Haines shared efforts currently underway within the Intelligence Community (IC) to improve the declassification process. Her response is available here. A document highlighting declassification efforts currently underway within the IC 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. In October 2021, 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.  He successfully pushed the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to address the need for reform and modernization as part of the Fiscal Year 2023 Intelligence Authorization Act.


Press Contact

Keith Chu (Wyden) / Tom Brandt (Moran)