Declassification Reviews of Certain Documents Concerning the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001

CourtExecutive Office Of The President
Citation86 FR 50439
Publication Date09 Sep 2021
Record Number2021-19578
Federal Register, Volume 86 Issue 172 (Thursday, September 9, 2021)
[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 172 (Thursday, September 9, 2021)]
                [Presidential Documents]
                [Pages 50439-50441]
                From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
                [FR Doc No: 2021-19578] Presidential Documents
                Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 172 / Thursday, September 9, 2021 /
                Presidential Documents
                [[Page 50439]]
                 Executive Order 14040 of September 3, 2021
                
                Declassification Reviews of Certain Documents
                 Concerning the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001
                 By the authority vested in me as President by the
                 Constitution and the laws of the United States of
                 America, I hereby order as follows:
                 Section 1. Policy. Many Americans continue to seek full
                 accountability for the horrific attacks of September
                 11, 2001 (9/11), including 9/11 survivors and victims'
                 family members. As the 20th anniversary of 9/11
                 approaches, the American people deserve to have a
                 fuller picture of what their Government knows about
                 those attacks. Although the indiscriminate release of
                 classified information could jeopardize the national
                 security--including the United States Government's
                 efforts to protect against future acts of terrorism--
                 information should not remain classified when the
                 public interest in disclosure outweighs any damage to
                 the national security that might reasonably be expected
                 from disclosure. The significant events in question
                 occurred two decades ago or longer, and they concern a
                 tragic moment that continues to resonate in American
                 history and in the lives of so many Americans. It is
                 therefore critical to ensure that the United States
                 Government maximizes transparency, relying on
                 classification only when narrowly tailored and
                 necessary. Thus, information collected and generated in
                 the United States Government's investigation of the 9/
                 11 terrorist attacks should now be disclosed, except
                 when the strongest possible reasons counsel otherwise.
                 Sec. 2. Declassification Reviews. The Attorney General
                 and the heads of any other executive departments and
                 agencies (agencies) that originated relevant
                 information shall complete declassification reviews:
                 (a) not later than September 11, 2021, of the
                 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) electronic
                 communication dated April 4, 2016, from the subfile
                 investigation described in chapter V of the 2015 Report
                 of the Congressionally-directed 9/11 Review Commission
                 to the Director of the FBI (subfile investigation),
                 which was identified but withheld in full during
                 discovery in In re Terrorist Attacks on September 11,
                 2001, MDL No. 03-1570 (S.D.N.Y.);
                 (b) not later than 60 days after the date of this
                 order, of:
                (i) all other records that previously were withheld as classified, in full
                or in part, during discovery in In re Terrorist Attacks on September 11,
                2001; and
                (ii) the 2021 FBI electronic communication closing the subfile
                investigation;
                 (c) not later than 120 days after the date of this
                 order, of all interview reports, analytical documents,
                 documents reporting investigative findings, or other
                 substantive records (including phone records and
                 banking records, if any) from the FBI's initial
                 investigation of the 9/11 terrorist attacks--known as
                 the Pentagon/Twin Towers Bombings (PENTTBOM)
                 investigation--that reference the individual subjects
                 of the subfile investigation and may be found through
                 search terms, keyword identifiers, and other diligent
                 means; and
                 (d) not later than 180 days after the date of this
                 order, of all records from any separate FBI
                 investigation other than the PENTTBOM investigation or
                 the subfile investigation of any individual subjects of
                 the subfile investigation that are relevant to the 9/11
                 terrorist attacks or to any of the individual subjects'
                 connection to an agency relationship with a foreign
                 government.
                [[Page 50440]]
                 Sec. 3. Standards for Declassification. (a) Consistent
                 with Executive Order 13526 of December 29, 2009
                 (Classified National Security Information), the
                 Attorney General or the head of any other agency that
                 originated the information, as the case may be, shall
                 be responsible for conducting the declassification
                 reviews and making declassification determinations for
                 information that originated within their respective
                 agency. Information may remain classified only if it
                 still requires protection in the interest of the
                 national security and disclosure of the information
                 reasonably could be expected to result in damage to the
                 national security. Information shall not remain
                 classified if there is significant doubt about the need
                 to maintain its classified status. Nor shall
                 information remain classified in order to conceal
                 violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative
                 error or to prevent embarrassment to a person,
                 organization, or agency.
                 (b) Even when information requires continued
                 protection in the interest of the national security,
                 the Attorney General or the head of any other agency
                 that originated the information, as the case may be,
                 should determine, as an exercise of discretion, whether
                 the public interest in disclosure of the information
                 outweighs the damage to the national security that
                 might reasonably be expected from disclosure.
                 (c) Upon the completion of the declassification
                 reviews under section 2 of this order, the Attorney
                 General and the heads of any other agencies that
                 originated relevant information shall ensure that, as
                 to all information subject to such reviews but not
                 declassified pursuant to such reviews:
                (i) such information meets the requirements for classification, in
                accordance with Executive Order 13526;
                (ii) all non-classified information is disentangled from any classified
                information and, to the extent practicable, made available to the public
                under section 5 of this order; and
                (iii) all information is nonetheless declassified, in accordance with
                section 3.1 of Executive Order 13526, or any successor order, when the
                Attorney General or the head of any other agency that originated the
                information, as the case may be, determines that the United States
                Government's interest in classification is outweighed by the public's
                interest in disclosure.
                 Sec. 4. Report to the President and the Congressional
                 Intelligence Committees. Upon completion of each
                 review, the Attorney General, in consultation with the
                 heads of any other agencies that originated relevant
                 information, shall submit to the President, through the
                 Assistant to the President for National Security
                 Affairs, and to the congressional intelligence
                 committees, reports on the results of the
                 declassification reviews completed under section 2 of
                 this order, including a justification for each decision
                 not to declassify information pursuant to such reviews.
                 Sec. 5. Public Release. Upon completion of each review,
                 the Attorney General, in consultation with the heads of
                 any other agencies that originated relevant
                 information, shall make publicly available information
                 declassified as a result of the declassification
                 reviews completed under section 2 of this order, except
                 for information the disclosure of which would
                 materially impair confidential executive branch
                 deliberations.
                 Sec. 6. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order
                 shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
                (i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or
                the head thereof; or
                (ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget
                relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
                 (b) This order shall be implemented consistent with
                 applicable law, including the Privacy Act, and subject
                 to the availability of appropriations.
                [[Page 50441]]
                 (c) This order is not intended to, and does not,
                 create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural,
                 enforceable at law or in equity by any party against
                 the United States, its departments, agencies, or
                 entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any
                 other person.
                
                
                 (Presidential Sig.)
                 THE WHITE HOUSE,
                 September 3, 2021.
                [FR Doc. 2021-19578
                Filed 9-8-21; 8:45 am]
                Billing code 3295-F1-P
                

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