Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel
c/o Information Security Oversight Office
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, N. W., Room 500
Washington, D. C. 20408
Telephone 202/219-5250
Fax: 202/219-5385
E-mail: [email protected]

MEMBERS
DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE
Carl A. Darby
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Carol A. Haave
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
James A. Baker
NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION
Michael J. Kurtz
NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL
William H. Leary, Acting Chair
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Margaret P. Grafeld

Executive Secretary
J. William Leonard, Director
INFORMATION SECURITY OVERSIGHT OFFICE

Highlights of Activities of the
Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel
January - December 2002

Executive Order 12958, "Classified National Security Information" (E.O. 12958), created the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel, or "ISCAP." The Order directed the ISCAP to perform three critical functions: (1) deciding on appeals by parties whose requests for declassification of information under the mandatory declassification review (MDR) provisions of the Order have been denied by the classifying agency; (2) approving, denying or amending agency exemptions from the automatic declassification provisions of the Order; and (3) deciding appeals brought by authorized holders who challenge the classification status of information. The work of the ISCAP is crucial to the implementation of E.O. 12958, as ISCAP's decisions determine the cutting edge between what information is declassified and what information remains classified.

Senior officials appointed by the Secretaries of State and Defense, the Attorney General, the Director of Central Intelligence, the Archivist of the United States, and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs make up the voting members of the ISCAP. At the time of the issuance of this communiqué, William H. Leary serves as the ISCAP's acting chair. Other members serving at the end of the period covered by this communiqué are: James A. Baker, Counsel for Intelligence Policy and Review, Department of Justice; Carl A. Darby, Director of Information Management Services, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); Carol A. Haave, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Security and Information Operations, Department of Defense; Dr. Michael J. Kurtz, Assistant Archivist of the United States, National Archives and Records Administration; and Frank M. Machak, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Records and Publishing Services, Department of State.

The Director of the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), J. William Leonard, serves as the ISCAP's Executive Secretary, and ISOO provides its staff support. Interested persons may inquire about the ISCAP by contacting the ISCAP staff at ISOO at the mailing address, e-mail address, or telephone or fax numbers above.

To date, nearly the entirety of the ISCAP's caseload for which it has reached final decisions has consisted of mandatory declassification review appeals. During 2002, the ISCAP decided upon 101 documents that remained fully or partially classified upon the completion of agency processing. These documents were contained in 37 appeals. The ISCAP voted to declassify 11 documents (11%) in full, to declassify portions of 56 others (55%), and to affirm the agencies' decisions in their entirety for 34 documents (34%).

The ISCAP decided upon 1 appeal seeking the declassification of 5 documents created during the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and in the custody of his Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas. The ISCAP fully affirmed the prior classification of all previously denied portions of the 5 documents. The 5 Eisenhower Administration documents consisted of letters and memoranda among the papers of C.D. Jackson, "Special Assistant to the President," detailing exchanges between Jackson and Allen Dulles.

In 2002, the ISCAP decided upon 23 appeals filed by 3 distinct appellants seeking the declassification of 61 documents created during the administration of President John F. Kennedy, which reside at his Presidential Library in Boston, Massachusetts. The ISCAP declassified the entirety of the previously classified information in 3 documents and declassified portions of 37 documents. The ISCAP voted to affirm the classification of the entirety of the denied information in 21 documents.

Most of the Kennedy Administration documents involved in these ISCAP appeals related to Italy during the early 1960s. These documents included CIA Information Reports, National Security Council memoranda and State Department messages between the American Embassy in Rome and the Department of State. The ISCAP also decided upon Kennedy Administration documents concerning Haiti and Japan.

In addition, during last year, the ISCAP decided upon 20 documents in 6 appeals filed by 2 appellants for documents created during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson, now in the custody of his Presidential Library in Austin, Texas. The ISCAP declassified the entirety of the previously classified information in 1 document and declassified portions of 12 documents. The ISCAP affirmed the classification of all of the previously classified information in 7 documents.

Among the Johnson Administration documents, the ISCAP decided upon 12 documents pertaining to activities in the Dominican Republic during 1965 and 1966. These include Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) correspondence to the President and others.

The ISCAP also decided upon other Johnson Administration documents, including State Department correspondence regarding Italy and an Intelligence Report and a chronology related to the Pueblo incident.

In 2002, the ISCAP decided upon 3 appeals filed by 1 appellant seeking the declassification of 8 documents created during the administration of President Richard M. Nixon, which are in the custody of the Nixon Presidential Materials Staff in College Park, Maryland. The ISCAP voted to declassify the entirety of the previously classified information in 7 documents and to declassify additional portions of 1 document. These documents included several pieces of correspondence from either Henry Kissinger or Brent Scowcroft to the President.

The ISCAP also decided upon 4 appeals seeking to declassify 7 documents within the custody of Executive Branch agencies. Specifically, it decided to affirm the classification of the substance of 1 document located at the CIA, and to affirm the classification of portions of 1 document and to declassify additional portions of 5 others located at the FBI. The document at the CIA summarized the U.S. Intelligence Budget for Fiscal Year 1984 through 1999. The documents at the FBI included 4 from the early 1980s and 2 from 1975, all related in part to Lyndon LaRouche.

As 4 of the documents in the custody of the agencies are less than 25 years old, they are held to a different standard for classification than the bulk of the material that comes before the ISCAP. Whereas the standard for documents more than 25 years old is set in Section 3.4 of E.O. 12958, the standard for material less than 10 years old can be found in Section 1.5, and the standard for material more than 10 years old and less than 25 years old can be found in Section 1.6 of the Order.

From May 1996 through December 2002, the ISCAP has declassified information in 76% of the documents on which it has voted (104 documents in full, 29%; 165 documents in part, 47%). The ISCAP has voted to affirm the agency's classification action fully for 86 documents (24%). ISCAP actions from May 1996 through December 2002 illustrate how faithful application of the Order's standards results in unprecedented access to historically valuable records and to a balanced approach to the declassification of more recently-created documents.

The ISCAP is pleased to report that agencies are declassifying more of the information they process under the MDR provisions of E.O. 12958. Over time, the ISCAP has seen a decrease in the number of documents that come before it classified in their entirety or with substantial portions classified. The ISCAP has also found that agency classification decisions more closely adhere to the principles of the Order. As such, the ISCAP has reversed agency positions in fewer of the documents before the Panel.

The ISCAP also approved 2 declassification guides submitted by Executive Branch agencies in accordance with Section 3.4(d) of E.O. 12958 and the applicable provision of its government-wide implementing directive (32 C.F.R. Part 2001.51(i)). When approved, these declassification guides authorize the exemption of information determined by an agency to fall within one or more exemption categories listed in Section 3.4(b) of the Order. In order for the ISCAP to approve a guide, the guide must provide: a comprehensive description of the information proposed for exemption; a distinct relationship to a specific exemption; a rational justification or explanation of the need for exemption; and a fixed date or event for automatic declassification. During 2002, the ISCAP approved guides submitted by the Department of the Navy and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

During this period, the ISCAP heard its first appeal of a classification challenge filed pursuant to Section 1.9 of E.O. 12958. This appeal sought to reverse the decision of the Defense Department that portions of an abstract regarding Global Positioning System Monitor Station data were classified. The ISCAP affirmed the prior classification of 4 portions of the document under Section 1.5(g) of the Order.

The following benchmarks of the ISCAP's work are notable:

Documents declassified by the ISCAP are made available through the entity that has custody of them, usually a Presidential Library. For assistance in identifying and requesting copies of such documents, or for any other questions regarding the ISCAP, please contact the ISCAP staff at ISOO at the mailing address, e-mail address, or telephone or fax numbers above.


Source: ISCAP