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Drastic Changes in U.S. Secrecy Rules Expected

March 18, 1994|Reuters

NEW YORK — As part of an overhaul of secrecy rules urged by President Clinton, the National Security Council has drafted an order that would make public millions of documents from the Cold War and slash the number of new secret records, it has been reported.

The New York Times said in today's editions that the order would require the declassification of secret records after 25 years, while newly created secret documents would be declassified after 10 years at most.

Under the prevailing executive order issued by the Ronald Reagan Administration, the presumption was that most secret documents would remain so indefinitely.

Only the head of an agency would have the power to stop a document's release under the new order, the report said.

It added that the order would create the least secretive policy on government records since the birth of the nation's modern national security apparatus in 1947.

If Clinton signs the draft order, as expected, the new rules could begin to take effect by the end of the year, the newspaper said.

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