DoD: Inspector General will have full access to classified info

The U.S. Department of Defense issued a new instruction on Friday to reinforce a policy that the DoD's Office of Inspector General is to have full access to all records.

The OIG's access to records includes classified records needed to perform its function. Only the Secretary of Defense can block the office's access to records.

"The OIG must have expeditious and unrestricted access to all records... regardless of classification, medium or format and information available to or within any DoD component, and be able to obtain copies of all records and information as required for its official use once appropriate security clearances and access are substantiated for the OIG DoD personnel involved," the instruction said.

The instruction strengthens the text of a previous version of the instruction which did not make the distinction that the OIG's access was independent of classification, format or medium.

The instruction clearly states only the Secretary of Defense may block access by invoking a statutory exemption which must then be justified in a report to Congress.

The new access provisions will give the OIG the ability to conduct internal oversight of the Pentagon's extensive classified programs and the classification system itself.

The Reducing Over-Classification Act of 2010 required an Inspector General of each executive branch agency to classify national security information and evaluate the agency's classification program. The first evaluation by the DoD's OIG is expected to be completed by September 30.

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U.S. Department of Defense

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