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The White House, Executive Order 12958: Classified National Security Information, 60 Fed. Reg. 19825-19843 (Apr. 17, 1995) (full-text), as amended by Executive Order 13292.


This Executive Order prescribes a uniform system for classifying, safeguarding, and declassifying national security information, including information relating to defense against transnational terrorism. It requires agency heads to

The order also gives the Director, Information Security Oversight Office (an organization under the National Archives and Records Administration), the authority to conduct on-site security inspections of the Executive Office of the President's and other executive branch agencies' classified programs.

This Order also established the concept of automatic declassification, in which all classified records shall be automatically declassified on December 31 of the year that is 25 years from the date of their original creation, unless properly exempted from declassification.