ISOO Director Addresses the Automatic Declassification Deadlines and Declassification Review Requirements

ISOO Director Mark Bradley issued a memorandum to Senior Agency Officials reminding them of the December 31, 2020 deadline for automatic declassification and agency declassification review requirements. In consultation with the National Security Council and legal counsel, ISOO determined that Executive Order 13526, “Classified National Security Information,” does not permit a waiver or delay in automatic declassification due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ISOO strongly recommends that agencies that do not believe they can review all 25-year old permanent records before the onset of automatic declassification on December 31, 2020 adopt a risk-based approach and prioritize the review of their most sensitive records.  Originating agency information in 25-year old permanent records that are not reviewed prior to December 31,2020 will be automatically declassified.  Agencies must still review permanent records for other agency equities prior to transferring those records to NARA.

Please direct any questions related to this issue to Beth Fidler at elizabeth.fidler@nara.gov.