Just a note to say we're getting you an answer. Thanks for your patience!
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Here's what our ISOO representative says:
There are specific Government-wide regulations concerning the reclassification of information that either has been officially declassified or has been declassified without proper authority. These regulations can be found in part 1.7(c) of Executive Order 13526 and in 32 C.F.R. Part 2001.13. These regulations specify the steps an agency must take in order to reclassify information. One of those steps is that the agency must evaluate whether the information can be reasonably recovered without drawing undue attention to it.
To answer this specific question, there is no national policy concerning the publication by persons outside the U.S. Government of documents that were once available to the public but which were later reclassified.
I hope that helps!
You answer was VERY helpful, thanks!
But that second part of your answer -- no national policy concerning the publication by persons outside the U.S. Government of documents that were once available to the public but which were later reclassified -- kind of puts civilians, like myself, on the spot.
Suppose I obtained a document from NARA that was unclassified (of course). But it has since been re-classified -- say, for instance, Pres. Obama's executive order made that document classified. And then I discover, somehow, that the document on my desk was now classified (perhaps I was informed of a withdrawal slip in a box at NARA).
What do I do? a) publish a classified document and worry about being arrested? b) don't publish a document because I took too long to finish my book, and not publish a book I've been working on for nearly a decade, or c) that fuzzy area in-between a) and b), not know what to do.
I don't like fuzzy areas.
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It sounds like this has gone out of our purview and you may want to consult a legal expert. Please keep us posted and let us know what happens. Good luck with your book!
So you know, a document I ordered from NARA in 2012, which I thought had been re-classified, wasn't. So you probably won't have to visit me in jail anytime soon. However, there's another document -- which NARA hasn't yet been able to quote or (apparently) locate -- was withdrawn in 2010 and forwarded to the CIA for a classification review. The CIA then declassified it (AGAIN!) and moved into a different folder. I'm anxious to see what that document says...