Summary: S.712 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (07/22/1998)

Government Secrecy Reform Act of 1998 - Authorizes the President, in accordance with this Act, to protect from unauthorized disclosure, information owned by, produced by or for, or under the control of the executive branch, when there is a demonstrable need to do so in order to protect the national security of the United States.

Sets forth requirements for the establishment of standards and procedures for classifying and declassifying information. Authorizes information to be classified, and classified information under review for declassification to remain classified, only if the harm to national security expected from disclosure of such information outweighs the public interest in disclosure. Sets forth factors to be considered in determining harm to national security and public interest.

Bars information from remaining classified under this Act after ten years after the date of original classification. Authorizes an agency official to provide for declassification earlier than such date. Permits declassification 25 years after the date of classification under certain conditions and sets forth additional requirements for other postponements of declassification.

Prohibits the declassification or release of information without the approval of the agency that originated the information, except as provided in this Act.

Directs the President to establish procedures for declassifying information that was classified before this Act's effective date. Requires such procedures to include procedures for the automatic declassification of information that has remained classified for more than 25 years as of such date.

(Sec. 3) Establishes within the Executive Office of the President the: (1) Office of National Classification and Declassification Oversight (Office) to carry out specified duties with respect to the coordination and oversight of classification and declassification policies and practices of Federal agencies; and (2) Classification and Declassification Review Board to decide on appeals by agencies which challenge declassification orders or determinations not to concur in postponement of declassification of the Director of the Office and on appeals by persons who have filed requests for mandatory declassification review.

(Sec. 5) Authorizes agencies to appeal Board decisions or actions to the President. Makes the President's decision on such appeals final.

(Sec. 6) Prohibits judicial review of any provision of, or action taken under, this Act, except as otherwise provided by the Freedom of Information Act.