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Frederick M. Kaiser, Protection of Classified Information by Congress: Practices and Proposals (CRS Report RS20748) (Aug. 31, 2011) (full-text).


This report analyzes the protection of classified national security and other controlled information. Congress uses such information to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities, particularly overseeing the executive, appropriating funds, and legislating public policy.

Congress has established numerous mechanisms to safeguard controlled information in its custody, although these arrangements have varied over time, between the two chambers, and among offices in each. Both chambers, for instance, have created offices of security to consolidate relevant responsibilities; but these were established nearly two decades apart. Other differences exist at the committee level, regarding the availability and use of information in committees' custody. Proposals for change, some of which are controversial and could be costly, usually seek to set uniform standards or heighten requirements for access.