Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (07/30/2008)

Improving Public Access to Documents Act of 2008 - (Sec. 3) Amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to develop and administer policies, procedures, and programs within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to implement the controlled unclassified information framework for the marking and disclosure of homeland security information under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. Defines such framework as a single set of policies and procedures governing the designation, marking, safeguarding, and dissemination of terrorism-related controlled unclassified information that originates in federal agencies. Requires the Secretary to coordinate with the Archivist of the United States and consult with representatives of state, local, tribal, and territorial government and law enforcement, organizations with expertise in civil rights, civil liberties, and government oversight, and the private sector to develop such policies, procedures, and programs.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) create a standard format for unclassified finished DHS intelligence products and require all such products to be prepared in such format; (2) ensure that policies protect the national security as well as the information privacy and legal rights of U.S. persons; (3) establish an ongoing auditing mechanism that randomly selects controlled unclassified information from each DHS component to assess whether applicable policies, procedures, rules, and regulations have been followed, describe any problems with their administration, and recommend improvements in awareness and training to address the problems; (4) establish a process to allow employees to challenge the use of controlled unclassified information markings; (5) institute a series of penalties for DHS employees and contractors that fail to comply with requirements under this Act; (6) maintain a publicly available list of all documents designated as controlled unclassified information; and (7) create a process for the public to notify the DHS Inspector General of concerns about the implementation of the framework.

Requires the Secretary to ensure that: (1) information is designated and marked as controlled unclassified information only if a statute or executive order so requires or the Secretary determines that the information is controlled unclassified information; (2) information is not designated as controlled unclassified information to conceal violations of law or for other improper purposes; and (3) the framework is administered in a manner that ensures appropriate sharing of information.

(Sec. 4) Requires the Secretary to: (1) assess technologies by which an electronic identification number or marker can be assigned to each DHS employee and contractor with controlled unclassified information designation authority to track which documents have been designated by which employee or contractor, to determine the circumstances when such documents have been shared, to identify and address misuse of information markings, and to assess the information sharing impact of any such problems or misuse; (2) develop an implementation plan for a DHS standard for such technology with appropriate benchmarks; and (3) provide a copy of the implementation plan to the House Homeland Security Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Directs the Secretary, in coordination with the Archivist, to: (1) require annual training for each DHS employee and contractor with controlled unclassified information designation authority or those responsible for analyzing, producing, or communicating written controlled unclassified information; and (2) ensure that such training is conducted efficiently in conjunction with any other security, intelligence, or other training programs required by DHS.

Requires the Secretary to: (1) implement a program to detail DHS personnel to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for one year for purposes of training and educating DHS personnel to better understand the controlled unclassified information framework, bolstering NARA's ability to conduct oversight, and ensuring that the policies and procedures established by the Secretary remain consistent with those established by the Archivist; and (2) report to Congress, in coordination with the Archivist, on the advisability of expanding the detailee program government-wide and on the administrative and monetary costs of full compliance. Terminates the detailee program on December 31, 2012.