NSA Declassifies Secret Document After Publishing It

from Secrecy News

May 14th, 2012 by Steven Aftergood


The National Security Agency last week invoked a rarely-used authority in order to declassify a classified document that was mistakenly posted on the NSA website with all of its classified passages intact.

The article is a historical study entitled Maybe You Had to Be There: The SIGINT on Thirteen Soviet Shootdowns of U.S. Reconnaissance Aircraft.  It was written by Michael L. Peterson and was originally published in the classified journal Cryptologic Quarterly in 1993.

Late in the afternoon of May 11 (not May 9 as stated on the NSA website), the NSA published a formally declassified version of the article with the annotation “Declassified and approved for release by NSA… pursuant to E.O. 13526 section 3.1(d)….”

Section 3.1(d) of executive order 13526 permits the declassification of properly classified information when there is an overriding public interest in doing so.  It is almost never cited and it is hard to think of another occasion when it has been used by any government agency to justify declassification.  It reads: . . . Read Complete Report


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