When the President Promises, Who Delivers?
April 17, 1995, President Clinton proclaimed that our Government was not purposely hiding anything from its people and to prove it, he signed Executive Order 12958.
Among other things, the Executive Order spelled out the following:
Archivist in conjunction with the Director of the Information Security
Oversight Office and those agencies that originate classified information,
shall establish a Government wide database of information that has been
declassified. The Archivist shall also explore other possible uses of
technology to facilitate the declassification process.
years I’ve been asking the branches of the military, NARA, and DPMO for this
list of declassified documents. Only the Air Force has ever responded.
Recently, I contacted the Information Security Oversight Office about their progress and they responded with:
This Order was amended on March 28, 2003, and, with that amendment, the section on a declassification database changed.
Currently, Section 3.7 of Executive Order 12958, as amended, reads as follows:
Sec. 3.7. Declassification Database.
(a) The Director of the
Information Security Oversight Office, in conjunction with those agencies
that originate classified information, shall coordinate the linkage and
effective utilization of existing agency databases of records that have been
declassified and publicly released.
The email from the ISOO went on to say “. . . my office has undertaken some initial steps in planning the system of linkages that the Order prescribes, but there are still several hurdles that need to be overcome before this project can move forward to its next step.”
My next email admittedly
was a bit more passionate and contained the following:
To which I received no reply!
It now appears that I have misunderstood Section 3.7 of the amended Executive Order, but now that the Archivist has been removed from the process, I don’t know who else to contact.
The question still remains: When the President signs an executive order, who is supposed to make sure that it is carried out?
From experience, we know that newly released classified documents often have portions redacted to protect national security. Even so, we have the right to see these 50 year old bits of information in the hope that it will take us further down the trail in finding the demise of our missing loved-ones.
I’ve asked my Senators and Congressman for help, but no response has been received thus far.