Millions of pages of secret historical documents being unveiled to the public

Richard Peterson/Shutterstock.com

The government’s three-year-old National Declassification Center has completed its task of evaluating a backlog of 361 million pages of classified documents to determine which can be released to the public, the National Archives and Records Administration announced on Thursday.

In its sixth biannual report, the center, which President Obama established by executive order in January 2010 to work across agencies to boost transparency, said the now -complete assessment process has so far resulted in the release or reclassification of 90 million historical pages.

One batch of documents, for example, involved the long-controversial Katyn Forest massacre of 1940, in which thousands of Polish military officers were executed. Historians for years debated whether the Germans or the Soviets were responsible, with consensus settling on the latter.

“To reach that milestone,” said NDC Director Sheryl Shenberger, “our staff voluntarily worked extra hours, deciphering old, sometimes almost indecipherable notes in project folders; cracking open dusty boxes; analyzing their contents for potential equity and quality review concerns; and scrupulously capturing all significant data points.”

Complete processing of the backlog, which covers documents older than 25 years, is to be done by Dec. 31, 2013. Some of the delay, affecting 100 million pages, is related to sensitivities over nuclear weapons information.

In a press release, the NDC said it is improving its data capture and analysis metrics, identifying chokepoints in the process and compiling better statistics on production.

(Image via Richard Peterson/Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.