Wednesday, September 26, 2012

S 3564 Introduced – Declassification

Last week before the Senate took their extended election break Sen. Lieberman (I,CT) introduced S 3564, the Public Interest Declassification Board Reauthorization Act of 2012. The bill reauthorizes the PIDB that was initially established by the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (PL 106-567; Title VII) to advise the President “on the systematic, thorough, coordinated, and comprehensive identification, collection, review for declassification, and release to Congress, interested agencies, and the public of declassified records” {PL 106-567 §703(b)(1)}.

Lieberman’s bill makes two minor changes to the provisions for appointing members of the PIDB. More importantly it would extend the authorization of the PIDB from December 27th 2012 until 2018.

It’s odd that this bill was introduced this late in the session; there is no way that this can be taken up before the election and it seems to be too low a priority program to take up much time during the lame duck session. Normally I would expect that this is one of the many bills introduced during the last week before the election adjournment that were meant only to be introduced for electioneering purposes. That is unlikely in this case as Lieberman is retiring at the end of the 112th Congress.

The other odd thing about this bill is that it wasn’t introduced by someone on the Senate Intelligence Committee; that is where the bill originally came from. But not only was it introduced by Lieberman, but it was also referred to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, not the intel folks.

I have no explanation for these oddities; I just point them out. This bill will probably be taken up as a unanimous consent bill during the lame duck session. I hope this bill does pass; the more people working at declassifying outdated or misclassified material the better off the government will be in the long run.

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