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May 17, 1997

MEMORANDUM FOR SUBJECT: Report of the President's Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy

As you are aware, the Secrecy Commission published its report dated March 3, 1997, and Chairman (Senator) Daniel Patrick Moynihan and other Commissioners presented it to the President. The President wishes to ensure that the report's recommendations and other findings are acted upon promptly and effectively. Consequently, you should take the following actions, within the allotted time frames, and keep the NSC staff advised of the status of your efforts:

1. The Security Policy Board (SPB), through the Forum and other Board working groups, and the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), will review the report and take prompt and cooperative action on the report's 16 recommendations, evaluate its criticisms and suggestions for additional actions and accelerate implementation, where possible, of measures under development which conform to the report.

2. The SPB and ISOO will formulate coordinated plans with benchmarks and timelines for actions to be taken on issues raised in the report. These plans should be reported to the President through the National Security Advisor not later than 30 days from the receipt of this letter. Action on items should not be delayed based on this deadline.

3. The Security Policy Forum and ISOO will coordinate a response to the President through me, documenting progress to date on implementation of Executive Order 12958, specifically including declassification plans, excludable file series and particular achievements. The first progress report should be furnished to the NSC by July 15, 1997.

4. The agencies of the Security Policy Forum will work under OMB coordination with Commission and Congressional staff, evaluate the proposed statute, recommend those elements which can be adopted administratively, draft directives to do so and determine appropriate legislative language for the statute. Report your progress through the NSC staff to me as soon as possible, but no later than 90 days from the receipt of this letter.

5. The NSC will coordinate an interagency group to address improvements needed which are identified in the report on the part of the NSC, SPB, ISOO and agencies, particularly with respect to senior level guidance for, resources applied to and efficiency of classification and declassification.

6. The SPB Staff should provide me a progress report by August 31, 1997.

The Secrecy Commission's report is an opportunity to harness good ideas and accept valid criticisms to improve our security and make our efforts more efficient. It requires open-minded, cooperative interagency action. The NSC staff will participate and we will keep the President informed of your progress.

Samuel Berger
Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

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