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Executive Order No. 12958 states that, with a few exceptions, federal records are to be automatically declassified when they become 25 years old. Even so, said the Archives' Jeanne Schauble, "no agencies have been willing to let their records be automatically declassified without them having some opportunity to make sure there's nothing in them they feel needs continued classification."
"It gets to be a rather complex process," Jeanne said. "I can say that after review generally somewhere from 85 to 90 percent will be cleared."
In some agencies, the number of documents that are declassified is classified.