January 30, 2007
By Elisabeth Grant
The National Coalition for History reports (in its January 27th newsletter) that the Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) met last week and heard frustrations about the current declassification process. Chairman L. Britt Snider presided over the meeting, and board members David E. Skaggs, Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, and Admiral William O. Studeman, USN (Ret.) were also present. The board heard from Mark Zaid (litigator and executive director of the James Madison Project), Meredith Fuchs (General Counsel to the National Security Archive), and Scott Armstrong (executive director of the Information Trust), all of whom had experienced the declassification process and had suggestions and comments to make. Meredith Fuchs was quoted as saying the current declassification process is “subjective, expensive, and sometimes ridiculous.” Scott Armstrong expressed as strong an opinion of the process “stating that he had given up on it. He alleged that selective declassification has become a tool for shaping and controlling public debate.”
Read more about the PIDB meeting, as well as articles on the National Archives Oversight Subcommittee, a Fedearl Appeals Court ruling on Copyright Restrictions, a deal to make Smithsonian images available commerically, and more on this week’s NCH Washington Update.