6 July 1998: Link to Amendment as Substitute for S.712

3 July 1998

Date: Fri, 3 Jul 1998 09:33:23 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Substitute Secrecy Reform Act
To: jy@jya.com
From: nobody@shinobi.alias.net (Anonymous)

NCC Washington Update, vol. 4, #25 July 1, 1998
[National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History]

Senate Committee Adopts Substitute Bill for
Moynihan's Government Secrecy Reform Act

Senate Committee Adopts Substitute Bill for Moynihan's Government
Secrecy Reform Act -- On June 17 the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee
met to consider a substitute bill for S.712, the Government Secrecy Reform
Act of 1998.  By voice vote, with no negative votes heard, the Committee
passed the substitute bill proposed by Senator Fred Thompson (R-TENN), the
chair of the Committee, and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME).  The original
bill had provided a framework for reform but had lacked the specifics
which this bill provides.

The substitute bill make four major changes from the bill that was
originally introduced.  First, this bill eliminates the section calling
for the establishment of a National Declassification Center in an existing
agency -- which many had thought could be the National Archives -- and
instead expands the functions and oversight responsibilities of the
existing Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) and moves that
office from the National Archives to the Executive Office of the
President.  Second, the bill states that classified information must be
declassified after 25 years unless, as the bill summary states,
"extraordinary circumstances" require that it remain classified.  The
original bill had a 30 year time limit for most information to remain
classified.  Third, the substitute bill retains the balancing test of the
original bill; however, the revised bill establishes criteria to guide
agency classification decisions for weighing the concerns of national
security and the public interest in disclosure.  The national security
criteria are taken directly from President Clinton's E.O 12958 and the
public interest criteria are newly developed for the substitute bill.
Fourth, the substitute bill establishes a Classification and
Declassification Review Board composed of 5 public members to hear agency
and individual appeals regarding classification and declassification

Once the report for the amended S. 712 is filed, which is expected to
happen in mid-July, then the substitute bill will be referred to the
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for 30 days for their
consideration.  It is anticipated that the Intelligence Committee may hold
hearings and may have objections to the balancing test provision of the
bill.  Since there appears to be little attention in the House to this
legislation and since there are not many legislative days remaining before
adjournment, it is doubtful that this legislation will pass in the 105th

[end segment]

For background see: Original S.712: http://jya.com/s712.txt Floor debate of S.712 and meetings: http://jya.com/s712-more.txt