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Obama orders creation of declassification center

By Michael D. Shear
President Obama created by executive order Tuesday a National Declassification Center to oversee efforts to make once-secret government documents public.

The order comes as part of Obama's promise to push government to err on the side of disclosure as it tackles the need to keep certain information from the public.

In a post on the White House blog, William H. Leary, the senior director of records and access management at the National Security Council, writes that the effort is aimed at shifting the burden of defending secrecy to the government.

"While the Government must be able to prevent the public disclosure of information that would compromise the national security, a democratic government accountable to the people must be as transparent as possible and must not withhold information for self-serving reasons or simply to avoid embarrassment," Leary wrote.

As a candidate, Obama promised to run the most open and transparent administration ever. He has released White House visitor log data for the first time, though only months after the visits. But his decision not to release some information about detainee torture and his acceptance of closed-door negotations on the health care bill in Congress have brought criticism from good-government groups.

In the executive order, Obama instructs the government not to keep secrets forever, eliminates the ability of intelligence officials to veto declassification decisions, and requires agencies to conduct reviews of their classification procedures.

By Michael D. Shear  |  December 29, 2009; 6:37 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Security  
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Next: Administration sees 'some linkage' between Detroit suspect, al-Qaeda


I read something on another website today that I thought was very interesting. This guy wanted to know IF Obamamama was born in the USA as he says, Did he register with the selective service when he turned 18???? Something to think about. My boys had to register. It is the law you know. Of course this man's question will NEVER be answered as Soros has sealed ANY and ALL records of this transparent prezz.

Posted by: sprayadhesive | December 31, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Is the boy wonder now going to disclose his birthplace of kenya and british citizenship and is he going to expose his nonexistent school records, amazing how NOBODY remembers him from school, I'm not the POTUS and people remember me???

Posted by: dougwalk | December 31, 2009 2:00 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: otisplumber | December 30, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

In or around 1990 the government refused to declassify documents relating to the Spanish American War in 1898.

No reason was given.

I suspect the documents relate to companies still in existence that were involved in defence procurement corruption, the sinking of the USS Maine, or scandals involving people in the war, such as members of the Rough Riders, related to powerful families still alive today.

Posted by: mlstoianoff | December 30, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Right wing crazies, your disdain for the constitution and America's democratic traditions have been noted and filed. You will receive your notices to report for deportation to your new homeland immediately. Uzbekistan welcomes you!

Posted by: sparkplug1 | December 30, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

There were reasons to classify information, to protect the sources and agents working to help gather the information. All this transparency will do is get agents and operatives killed. The deep cover agents that are funneling information about terrorist groups around the world will be placed at risk the sources of information that has helped us will dry up. This is clearly just further aid to our enemies like releasing the Gitmo detainees back to Yemen. This exposure of what was deemed secret which was done for a reason to protect National security now here he goes and puts it on display just who will the audience be? Americans checking to see if they are on a list somewhere, perhaps? Foreign nationals to find out who has been relaying their secrets to American agencies, most definitely! I know that what I did in Vietnam is not something that I want placed into review and I am sure there are others in the service that are now placing their lives on the line and would not want the information put out there for all to see for it might just cost them their lives.

Posted by: joshuasweet | December 30, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

He must have found a couple of more out of work lawyer friends from his college days. This is one jobs program that he seems to be able to start. Keep lawyers employed. Too bad he can't get other America's jobs.

Posted by: staterighter | December 30, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I think this is just a place to park those folks that put the TSA screening manual and the list of US nuclear sites on the internet.

Give them a "second chance" so to speak.

Posted by: oracle2world | December 30, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Let's start with The One's college records, birth certificate, citizenship while in Indonesia and his trip(s) to Pakistan. Nothing to hide? HA!

Posted by: rsgonner | December 30, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Team Obama: Justice Can't Wait -- Declassify the Bush-Cheney Microwave Torture Matrix


• Secret Bush legacy multi-agency federal program uses cell tower/GPS satellite microwave/laser electromagnetic radiation attack system to torture, impair, subjugate "targeted" citizens -- and oversees local "community watch" vigilante terrorism and financial sabotage campaigns.

See story at: ("Reporting" section)

Posted by: scrivener50 | December 30, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Bozo continues to mask the behavior of the urban street thug, that he is, with soaring rhetoric that is all BS! This incompetant bum and his chicago thugs are beyond belief. The only documents to be declassified will be those hurtful to the Bush presidency! Our disgusting First Clown has a failed to meet any of his lofty promises regarding transperancy, while continuing, in Bush fashion, to seek any "legal" remedy to shield the shenanigans of his dishonest, bumbling crew (the crips in Brooks Brother's suits) from any public disclosure and scrutiny. Currently, urban street thug #2, holder has instructed his people to violate the law and refuse to cooperate with a legal investigation by the American civil rights commisson into the Justice department's failure to prosecute the black panthers (another obama collecion of urban street thugs) for voter intimidation! They are also refusing to support a congressional investigation into the illegal firing of the americorp IG, who had,"remarkably" discovered that another obama street thug, kevin johnson had "misused" hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. If the compost and the rest of the lame stream media ever stop covering for the crooked, obamatuers, he would be impeached in less than 6 months. I would like to continue, but I'm going to hit the links! What an evil, disgusting bum.

Posted by: hughglass | December 30, 2009 6:21 AM | Report abuse

What most people don't realize is that back in the 1980's, the National Archive had a declassification backlog of 7 or 8 years. But to protect all those Vietnam era scumbags and profiteers, Ronald Reagan reduced the Archive's budget by over 90%.

Even if they completely reverse everything that Reagan did and start cutting into the last of the Vietnam records, the Iran Contra records, the BCCI and BNL records, all the stuff related to Kissinger, it's going to take 20 years or more before most of the truth about the Bush administration ever sees the light of day.


Posted by: lee8798 | December 30, 2009 5:40 AM | Report abuse

Don't prosecute Black Panthers blocking polling stations and don't disclose why. Prosecute CIA and Navy Seals. No info on Fort Hood killer , close Gitmo and send 'em back to yemen. Diclose secrets in a dead of night presidential order. This makes sense to libs !

Posted by: rfpzzzzz | December 30, 2009 2:36 AM | Report abuse

Wow! this is HUGE!
Cheney will probably have another coronary.
Yes, less secrecy and more transparency - thanks,Obama!

Posted by: angie12106 | December 30, 2009 2:35 AM | Report abuse

Barack Obama is a whacked out leftist. And a danger to all of us.

We have to impeach this nutcase now.

Posted by: SameOldTiredThinking | December 30, 2009 1:38 AM | Report abuse

What special interest group is putting the screws on President Obama to expose all of this information? Could it be the supportors of the A.C.L.U?????

Posted by: Rhonda5 | December 30, 2009 1:11 AM | Report abuse

But thats what we have the New York Times for

Posted by: GregoryTart | December 29, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Brilliant...expose even more of our national security to the terrorists.

Posted by: JCM-51 | December 29, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Who's the brains of this outfit anyway? He continues to undermind supporters on a daily basis even though his approval continues to drop.The wrong information has the potential to cost lives. This could be his most dangerous venture to this country and himself.

Think Mr. Transparent will unvault his masterpiece of healthcare.


Posted by: Canopus | December 29, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

ceflynline- ditto.

Posted by: katem1 | December 29, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Flat out HOORAY!! Get a bunch of retired classification specialists and start on Bush 1 SECRETS that Clinton declassified and Bush II reclassified. Then go after Cheney's papers, virtually none of which actually meet the criteria of any classification standard we ever had. Especially declassify every document that is classified in violation of the law, as for instance all the docs Cheney is trying to hide because they could get him indicted were they in the hands of prosecutors.

It has been a felony to classify documents to hide evidence of criminal activity since at least the sixties. It has been either a felony or a misdemeanor to over classify documents to hide improper activity for at least as long.

Posted by: ceflynline | December 29, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

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