Executive Order 10964
AMENDMENT OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO.
"SAFEGUARDING OFFICIAL INFORMATION IN THE INTERESTS OF
THE DEFENSE OF THE UNITED STATES"
By virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and statutes of the United States, and deeming such action necessary in the best interest of the national security, it is ordered that Executive Order No. 10501 of November 5, 1953, as amended, be, and it is hereby further amended as follows:
1. Section 4 is amended—
(A) By substituting for the first paragraph thereof the following:
"SEC. 4. Declassification, Downgrading, or Upgrading. When classified information or material no longer requires its present level of protection in the defense interest, it shall be downgraded or declassified in order to preserve the effectiveness and integrity of the classification system and to eliminate classifications of information or material which no longer require classification protection. Heads of departments or agencies originating classified information or material shall designate persons to be responsible for continuing review of such classified information or material on a document - by- document , category, project, program, or other systematic basis, for the purpose of declassifying or downgrading whenever national defense considerations permit, and for receiving requests for such review from all sources. However, Restricted Data and material formerly designated as Restricted Data shall be handled only in accordance with subparagraph 4(a) (1) below and section 13 of this order. The following special rules shall be observed with respect to changes of classification of defense information or material, including information or material heretofore classified: "
(B) By deleting paragraphs (a), (e), (g), (h), and (i) and inserting in lieu thereof the following:
"(a) Automatic Changes. In order to insure uniform procedures for automatic changes, heads of departments and agencies having authority for original classification of information or material, as set forth in section 2, shall categorize such classified information or material into the following groups:
"(1) Group 1. Information or material originated by foreign governments or international organizations and over which the United States Government has no jurisdiction, information or material provided for by statutes such as the Atomic Energy Act, and information or material requiring special handling, such as intelligence and cryptography. This information and material is excluded from automatic downgrading or deelassification.
"(2) Group 2. Extremely sensitive information or material which the head of the agency or his designees exempt, on an individual basis, from automatic downgrading and declassification.
"(3) Group 3. Information or material which warrants some degree of classification for an indefinite period. Such information or material shall become automatically downgraded at 12 year intervals until the lowest classification is reached, but shall not become automatically declassified.
" (4) Group d. Information or material which does not qualify for, or is not assigned to, one of the first three groups. Such information or material shall become automatically downgraded at three-year intervals until the lowest classification is reached, and shall be automatically declassified twelve years after date of issuance.
"To the fullest extent practicable, the classifying authority shall indicate on the information or material at the time of original classification if it can be downgraded or declassified at an earlier date, or if it can be downgraded or declassified after a specified event, or upon the removal of classified attachments or enclosures. The heads, or their designees, of departments and agencies in possession of defense information or material classified pursuant to this order but not bearing markings for automatic downgrading or declassification are hereby authorized to mark or designate for automatic downgrading or declassification such information or material in accordance with the rules or regulations established by the department or agency that originally classified such information or material."
"(e) Information or Material Transmitted by Electrical Means. The downgrading or declassification of classified information or material transmitted by electrical means shall be accomplished in accordance with the procedures described above unless specifically prohibited by the originating department or agency. Unclassified information or material which is transmitted in encrypted form shall be safeguarded and handled in accordance with the regulations of the originating department or agency."
"(g) Upgrading. If the recipient of unclassified information or material believes that it should be classified, or if the recipient of classified information or material believes that its classification is not sufficiently protective, it shall be safeguarded in accordance with the classification deemed appropriate and a request made to the reviewing official, who may classify the information or material or upgrade the classification after obtaining the consent of the appropriate classifying authority. The date of this action shall constitute a new date of origin insofar as the downgrading or declassification schedule (paragraph (a) above) is concerned."
" (h) Departments and Agencies Which Do Not Have Authority for Original Classification. The provisions of this section relating to the declassification of defense information or material shall apply to departments or agencies which do not, under the terms of this order, have authority for original classification of information or material, but which have formerly classified information or material pursuant to Executive Order No. 10290 of September 24, 1951."
"(i) Notification of Change in Classification. In all cases in which action is taken by the reviewing official to downgrade or declassify earlier than called for by the automatic downgrading-declassification stamp, the reviewing official shall promptly notify all addressees to whom the information or material was originally transmitted. Recipients of original information or material, upon receipt of notification of change in classification, shall notify addressees to whom they have transmitted the classified information or material."
2. Section 5 is amended—
(A) By adding a new paragraph (a) thereto, as follows:
" (a) Downgrading-Declassification Markings. At the time of origination, all classified information or material shall be marked to indicate the downgrading-declassification schedule to be followed in accordance with paragraph (a) of section 4 of this order."'
(B) By relettering the present paragraphs (a) through (i) as (b) through (j), respectively.
3. Section 6 is amended—
(A) By deleting from the second sentence of the first paragraph the words "physical or mechanical."
(B) By deleting paragraphs (a) and (b) and by inserting in lieu thereof the following:
"(a) Storage of Top Secret Information and Material. As a minimum, Top Secret defense information and material shall be stored in a safe or safe-type steel file container having a three-position dial-type combination lock, and being of such weight, size, construction, or installation as to minimize the possibility of unauthorized access to, or the physical theft of, such information and material. The head of a department or agency may approve other storage facilities which afford equal protection such as an alarmed area, a vault, a vault-type room, or an area under continuous surveillance.
"(b) Storage of Secret and Confidential Information and Material. As a minimum, Secret and Confidential defense information and material may be stored in a manner authorized for Top Secret information and material, or in steel file cabinets equipped with steel lockbar and a changeable three-combination dial-type Padlock or in other storage facilities which afford equal protection and which are authorized by the head of the department or agency.
"(c) Storage or Protection Equipment. Whenever new security storage equipment is procured, it should, to the maximum extent practicable, be of the type designated as security flling cabinets on the Federal Supply Schedule of the General Services Administration.,"
(C) By relettering the paragraphs (c) through (g) as (d) through (h), respectively.
4. Paragraphs (c) and (d) of section 8 are amended to read as follows:
"(c) Transmitting Secret Information and Material. Secret information and material shall be transmitted within and between the forty-eight contiguous States and the District of Columbia, or wholly within Alaska, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a United States possession, by one of the means established for Top Secret information and material, by authorized courier, by United States registered mail, or by the use of protective services provided by commercial carriers, air or surface, under such conditions as may be prescribed by the head of the department or agency concerned. Secret information and material may be transmitted outside those areas by one of the means established for Top Secret information and material, by commanders or masters of vessels of United States registry, or by the United States registered mail through Army, Navy, Air Force, or United States civil postal facilities; provided, that the information or material does not at any time pass out of United States Government control and does not pass through a foreign postal system. For the purposes of this section registered mail in the custody of a transporting agency of the United States Post Office is considered within United States Government control unless the transporting agent is foreign controlled or operated. Secret information and material may, however, be transmitted between United States Government or Canadian Government installations, or both, in the forty-eight contiguous States, the District of Columbia, Alaska, and Canada by United States and Canadian registered mail with registered mail receipt. Secret information and material may also be transmitted over communications circuits in accordance with regulations promulgated for such purpose by the Secretary of Defense.
"(d) Transmitting Confidential Information and Material. Confidential information and material shall be transmitted within the forty-eight contiguous States and the District of Columbia, or wholly within Alaska, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a United States possession, by one of the means established for higher classifications, or by certified or first-class mail. Outside those areas Confidential information and material shall be transmitted in the same manner as authorized for higher classifications. "
5. Section 13 is amended to read as follows:
"SEC. 13. 'Restricted Data,' Material Formerly Designated as 'Restricted Data,' Communications Intelligence and Cryptography. (a) Nothing in this order shall supersede any requirements made by or under the Atomic Energy Act of August 30, 1954, as amended. 'Restricted Data,' and material formerly designated as 'Restricted Data,' shall be handled, protected, classified, downgraded, and declassified in conformity with the provisions of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, and the regulations of the Atomic Energy Commission.
"(b) Nothing in this order shall prohibit any special requirements that the originating agency or other appropriate authority may impose as to communications intelligence, cryptography, and matters related thereto."
6. A new section 19 is added reading as follows:
"SEC. 19. Unauthorized Disclosure by Government Personnel. The head of each department and agency is directed to take prompt and stringent administrative action against any officer or employee of the United States, at any level of employment, determined to have been knowingly responsible for any release or disclosure of classified defense information or material except in the manner authorized by this order, and where a violation of criminal statutes may be involved, to refer promptly to the Department of Justice any such case."
7. Sections 19 and 20 are renumbered as sections 20 and 21, respectively.
JOHN F. KENNEDY
September 20, 1961.