President Obama last week issued an executive order that would speed up the release of classified material to the public, and could lead to the declassification of material that might otherwise have never been made public. Among other provisions, the executive order creates a principle that no records may be classified indefinitely, eliminates the right of certain intelligence officials to "veto" declassification, and orders that information never be classified if "significant doubt" exists about the need to classify. Historians and other scholars have complained for years, and in particular during the last Bush administration, that classification rules were impeding their work. Details about the executive order may be found on the Web site of the National Coalition for History.
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