Friday, August 24, 2012



The Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO)

The Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) is responsible to the President for policy and oversight of the Government-wide security classification system and the National Industrial Security Program. ISOO receives authority from: "Classified National Security Information," Executive Order 13526 was released by the White House on December 29, 2009

Executive Order 12829, as amended "National Industrial Security Program" [PDF]
ISOO is a component of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and receives policy and program guidance from the National Security Council (NSC).
ISOO has three components:

The Classification Management Staff: Develops security classification policies for classifying, declassifying and safeguarding national security information generated in Government and industry. The Operations Staff: Evaluates the effectiveness of the security classification programs established by Government and industry to protect information vital to our national security interests. 

Controlled Unclassified Informatin Office (CUI) of ISOO

Develops standardized CUI policies and procedures that appropriately protect sensitive information through effective data access and control measures.

To contact ISOO please email or ISOO Staff.

Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB)

The Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) is an advisory committee established by Congress in order to promote the fullest possible public access to a thorough, accurate, and reliable documentary record of significant U.S. national security decisions and activities. The President appointed Nancy Soderberg as Chair and Martin C. FagaWilliam H. Leary, and Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker as members. The Minority Leader of the House appointed David Skaggs and the Speaker of the House appointed William O. Studeman. The Majority Leader of the Senate appointed Sanford Ungar.

The Director of the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), serves as the PIDB Executive Secretary, and the ISOO staff provides staff support on a reimbursable basis.

Background: Section 1102 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 extended and modified the PIDB as established by the Public Interest Declassification Act of 2000 [PDF document] (P.L. 106-567, title VII, Dec. 27, 2000, 114 Stat. 2856).

Functions: Advises and provides recommendations to the President and other executive branch officials on the systematic, thorough, coordinated, and comprehensive identification, collection, review for declassification, and release of declassified records and materials of archival value, including records and materials of extraordinary public interest.

Promotes the fullest possible public access to a thorough, accurate, and reliable documentary record of significant U.S. national security decisions and activities in order to: support the oversight and legislative functions of Congress; support the policymaking role of the executive branch; respond to the public interest on national security matters; and promote reliable historical analysis and new avenues of historical study in national security matters. 

Advises the President and other executive branch officials on policies deriving from Executive Orders regarding the classification and declassification of national security information. 

Reviews and makes recommendations to the President with respect to any Congressional request, made by the committee of jurisdiction, to declassify certain records or to reconsider a rejection to declassify specific records.

Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel

The Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP) provides the public and users of the classification system with a forum for further review of classification decisions.

The protection of the national security requires that some of the work of the U.S. Government be done outside the purview of its citizenry. In order to ensure an informed public while simultaneously protecting certain information, checks and balances are needed over the classification system.

Establishment: The Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel, or "ISCAP," was created under Executive Order 12958, "Classified National Security Information," when it was signed on April 17, 1995. Today the ISCAP receives its guidelines from Executive Order 13526. The ISCAP held its first meeting in May of 1996 and has met regularly since that time.

Functions:  Section 5.3 of E.O. 13526, directs the ISCAP to perform four critical functions: Classification Challenges: deciding on appeals by authorized persons who have filed classification challenges under Section 1.8 of E.O. 13526; 
Exemptions from Automatic Declassification: approving, denying or amending agency exemptions from automatic declassification, as provided in Section 3.3 of E.O. 13526; and  Mandatory Declassification Review Appeals: deciding on mandatory declassification review appeals by parties whose requests for declassification under Section 3.5 of E.O. 13526, have been denied at the agency level.

Inform Decisions: appropriately inform senior agency officials and the public of final Panel decisions on appeals under Sections 1.8 and 3.5 of E.O. 13526. 

How to appeal to the ISCAP:
Article VIII section A(3) of the ISCAP bylaws indicates that:

1) If the appellant has not received an initial decision for a MDR within one year of its filing, the requestor may appeal directly to the ISCAP. The appeal must be filed within 60 days of the agency's failure to meet the time frames established in paragraph (A)(3)(b) of this article. If the agency denies the initial request, it must notify the requestor of his or her right to file an administrative appeal.

2) Failure by the agency to make a final decision within 180 days for an agency level administrative appeal will permit the requestor to appeal directly to the ISCAP. The appeal must be filed within 60 days of the agency's failure to meet the time frames established in paragraph (A)(3)(b) of this article.

3) If the agency denies the administrative appeal, it must notify the requestor in writing of the final determination and the reasons for the denial. It must notify the requestor that he or she may, within 60 days of the receipt of the notification, file an appeal with the ISCAP.

Membership: The ISCAP member body consists of senior level representatives appointed by the Departments of State, Defense, and Justice, the National Archives, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the National Security Advisor. Each shall be represented by a senior-level representative who is a full-time or permanent part-time Federal officer or employee designated to serve as a member of the Panel by the respective agency head. The President shall designate a Chair from among the members of the Panel. The Director of ISOO serves as its Executive Secretary, and ISOO staff provides program and administrative support for the panel. The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency may appoint a temporary representative to participate as a voting member in all Panel deliberations and associated support activities concerning classified information originated by the Central Intelligence Agency.

[I want to thank Joe Backes - see his JusticeforJFK blog - for pointing out the significance of these agencies.]

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