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Senators Ask Biden to Amend Executive Order on Classification, Declassification

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Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., have called on the White House to update the executive order that establishes rules for government classification and declassification to address urgent concerns in the current system that undermine national security.

The lawmakers wrote a letter to President Biden urging the administration to make a priority the updated executive order, Wyden’s office said Thursday.

“The complex interagency process necessary to achieve this long-overdue reform demands active leadership from the White House. We therefore urge that the National Security Council be resourced to undertake this process and that you make clear, to the NSC and across the executive branch, that your administration views the completion of a new or amended executive order as an urgent priority,” the lawmakers wrote in the May 25th letter.

Wyden and Moran also called on the Biden administration to make investments in automatic declassification and related technology platforms “to adapt the classification and declassification system to a digital environment.”

In January, the lawmakers agreed with Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, a 2022 Wash100 Award winner, that efforts to improve the declassification system need to be prioritized and funded.

The two senators proposed the Declassification Reform Act in 2020 and have led the upper chamber’s efforts to introduce reforms to the government’s classification system.