How to Request Mandatory Declassification Review

Step 1

Determine whether or not you can request Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR).

In order to request MDR, the information is classified and the following conditions met:

  1. The request for a review describes the document or material containing the information with sufficient specificity to enable the agency to locate it with a reasonable amount of effort
  2. The document or material containing the information responsive to the request is not contained within an operational file exempted from search and review, publication, and disclosure under 5 U.S.C 552 in accordance with law
  3. the information has not been reviewed for declassification within the past 2 years. If the agency has reviewed the information within the past 2 years, or the information is the subject of pending litigation, the agency shall inform the requester of this fact and of the requester's appeal rights.

Step 2

Draft your request for Mandatory Declassification Review.

  • In your request, specifically mention MDR under E.O. 13526, and not the Freedom of Information or Privacy Acts.
  • Identify the document or information to be reviewed with as much specificity as possible, e.g., “Embassy London telegram 88994 of August 22, 1997.”

Please Note

As a general rule, MDRs should be filed only for the declassification and release of information known to be classified. MDRs will not be opened for general requests for information, e.g. “information on Tonga-U.S. relations from 2002 to the present”, though that may be an appropriate subject of a FOIA request.

Although the purpose of an MDR is to provide declassification review of classified material, material that has been declassified pursuant to the review may nonetheless be withheld for other reasons, most typically because withholding is required by the FOIA.

If the agency has reviewed the information within the past 2 years, or the information is the subject of pending litigation, the agency shall inform the requester of this fact and of the requester's appeal rights.

Step 3

Send your request to the Department of State

You may mail or fax your request for Department of State records to the following: Address Office of Information Programs and Services
A/GIS/IPS/RL
U. S. Department of State
Washington, D. C. 20522-8100
Facsimile (202) 261-8579

Please write “Mandatory Declassification Review" on the envelope or the subject line of your fax.

01-11-2016