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Classification security is a prescribed uniform system that establishes standards for the protection of national security information (NSI). A national classification security system protects defense-and foreign relations–related information obtained during our interactions with other nations as directed by the president. The president, using constitutional authority, administers the protection of classified information via executive orders (EO). Since 1940, various presidents have established classified security programs for the protection of NSI. The unauthorized release of NSI to the public would cause varying degrees of damage to national interests. The current EO 13526 provides the authority and guidance for defining, protecting, marking, and declassifying NSI throughout the life cycle of the records.

Since the first EO dealing with NSI (EO 8381 issued in 1940), the classification security system ...

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