Security Classified and Controlled Information: History, Status, and Emerging Management Issues [Updated February 11, 2008] [open pdf - 204KB]
"The security classification regime in use within the federal executive branch traces its origins to armed forces information protection practices of the World War I era. The classification system -- designating information, according to prescribed criteria and procedures, protected in accordance with one of three levels of sensitivity, based on the amount of harm to the national security that would result from its disclosure -- attained a presidential character in 1940 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued the initial executive order prescribing these information security arrangements. […] In the current environment, still affected by the long shadow of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, several issues have arisen regarding security classified and controlled information. […] Some agencies were recently discovered to be withdrawing archived records from public access and reclassifying them. Critically evaluating this activity, ISOO has indicated that the federal government needs to apply a more integrated approach among the classifying agencies. The force of, and authority for, information control markings, other than security classification labels, have come under congressional scrutiny, prompting concerns about their number, variety, lack of underlying managerial regimes, and effects. Among those effects, contend the Government Accountability Office and the manager of the Information Sharing Environment for the intelligence community, is the obstruction of information sharing across the federal government and with state and local governments. These and related matters, including remedial legislation (H.R. 984), are examined in this report, which will be updated as events warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33494