Staff members at the National Archives assured the Public Interest Declassification Board on Friday they are making progress on an electronic record management system and will be ready to receive an unprecedented number of documents and electronic records from the Bush Administration in January.
Assistant Archivist Michael Kurtz also offered his insight into changes the agency would like to see as part of the next administration’s executive order addressing declassification.
Kurtz, recognizing the pro-transparency focus of President-elect Obama, said the Archives wants to be prepared for the changes and offer input.
The current declassification order contains broad exemptions which are applied very differently within and across agencies, Kurtz and others said. An amended order could change the exemptions.
Kurtz also promoted the establishment of a new National Declassification Center as part of an amended or new executive order on classification. Such a facility would house government-wide declassification reviewers and projects and could be paid for by the agencies that classified the information.
The Archives is also preparing for the release of 9/11 Commission documents on Jan. 14. It expects about 4,200 pages to be made public then. There are ongoing efforts to review the remaining documents, videos, audio records and other information the Commission used.