June 15, 2023

Wyden Secures Historic Declassification Reform Legislation, Prohibition on the Denial of Security Clearances for Past Cannabis Use, Protections for Intelligence Community Whistleblowers

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., secured key provisions that reform the country’s broken classification and declassification system, prohibit the denial of security clearances for potential intelligence community employees based solely on past cannabis use, and protect Intelligence Community whistleblowers, in the 2024 Intelligence Authorization Act that passed the Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday afternoon.

Wyden, a senior member of the Intelligence Committee, applauded the committee for including these provisions.

“This bill includes historic bipartisan legislation reforming the country’s broken classification and declassification system,” Wyden said. “This legislation, which I authored with Chairman Warner and Senators Moran and Cornyn, addresses the chronic problem of overclassification.  I am especially pleased that it includes the reform legislation I introduced with Senator Moran in 2020 to ensure that the country’s obsolete declassification system is modernized so that records that need to be declassified actually get released to the public. The bill also includes my provision to ensure that cannabis use will not disqualify intelligence community applicants from serving their country. It’s a commonsense change to ensure the IC can recruit the most capable people possible. Finally, the bill includes critically important provisions to protect Intelligence Community whistleblowers.”

Wyden’s provisions include:

  • Classification and declassification reform legislation addressing overclassification.  The legislation includes Sen. Wyden’s Declassification Reform Act of 2020 which designates the DNI as Executive Agent and directs her to reform and modernize the declassification system.
  • A prohibition on the denial of a security clearance solely because of past cannabis use.

The following provisions from the Senate’s FY23 bill, that were stripped out in the previous conference committee, are also in the 2024 bill:

  • Ensuring that the IC can’t use a pretext to revoke a whistleblower’s security clearance.
  • Removing the damages cap for whistleblowers.
  • Ensuring that whistleblowers can come straight to Congress.
  • Prohibiting the public disclosure of a whistleblower’s identity as a reprisal.


Press Contact: Keith Chu