The White House issued an executive order last week to formalize procedures for sharing classified information with state, local and private sector entities. The new order does not alter or amend previous orders on national security classification or access to classified information, but it should facilitate increased sharing of classified information with non-federal officials.
The closest thing to a policy innovation in the new order seems to be a provision that “a duly elected or appointed Governor of a State or territory… may be granted access to classified information without a background investigation” once he or she has signed a non-disclosure agreement and “absent disqualifying conduct as determined by the clearance granting official” (Section 1.3b).
“Information sharing” in this context is a paradoxical term that also implies “information non-sharing” with those who are not cleared for access to the information. For that reason it is a mixed blessing that some otherwise qualified persons may choose to forgo. See Executive Order 13549 on “Classified National Security Information Program for State, Local, Tribal, and Private Sector Entities,” August 18, 2010.