30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Secrecy and FOIA

Mar 19, 2009 | News
Washington, D.C., March 19, 2009 - Attorney General Eric Holder today released new guidelines for federal agencies on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that reinforce the presumption of disclosure articulated by President Obama in his day one Memorandum on FOIA, issued January 21, 2009. Attorney General Holder’s memorandum provides practical guidance for implementing the presumption of disclosure, including by encouraging discretionary releases of records and releasing portions of records even when other portions are being withheld.
Mar 13, 2009 | News
Washington, DC, March 13, 2009 – The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) today won the fifth annual Rosemary Award for the worst Freedom of Information Act performance by a federal agency. The FBI’s reports to Congress show that the Bureau is unable to find any records in response to two-thirds of its incoming FOIA requests on average over the past four years, when the other major government agencies averaged only a 13% “no records” response to public requests.
Feb 26, 2009 | News
Washington, DC, February 26, 2009 – Today Secretary of Defense Robert Gates lifted a blanket ban on news media coverage of the honor guard ceremonies that mark the return of military casualties from abroad. The new policy will permit media coverage of the ceremonies, during which caskets draped with American flags are brought home from war, after consultation with the families of the fallen. The Obama administration’s move restores press access to the honor ceremonies, which had been the practice from World War II through the Panama invasion of 1989.
Feb 21, 2009 | News
Washington, D.C., February 21, 2009 - The Justice Department this week missed the opportunity to bring transparency to the controversy over deleted White House e-mail from the Bush administration by allowing briefing to continue on a motion that had been developed by the Bush Administration. The motion, filed by the Justice Department on January 21, just after the inauguration, sought to dismiss the White House e-mail litigation even while admitting that a secretive restoration process was still not finished. Yesterday the Archive responded to that motion.
Jan 21, 2009 | News
Washington, D.C., January 21, 2009 - On his first full day in office, President Barack Obama signed an executive order and two presidential memoranda heralding what he called a "new era of openness." Announcing a Presidential Memorandum on the Freedom of Information Act to reestablish a presumption of disclosure for information requested under FOIA, President Obama said that "every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information, but those who seek to make it known." The FOIA Memorandum articulates a presumption of
Jan 15, 2009 | News
Washington, D.C., January 15, 2009 - The federal magistrate judge overseeing the White House e-mail litigation today said the issue had reached "true emergency conditions" with only "two business days before the new President takes office" and that "the importance of preserving the e-mails cannot be exaggerated," according to the court's Memorandum Opinion issued this morning along with an Order and posted on the National Security Archive website, www.nsarchive.org.
Jan 14, 2009 | News
Updated Posting - January 14, 2009, 6:00 pm, Washington, D.C. – At a hearing today concerning the risks posed by the presidential transition to the recovery of millions of missing e-mails from the Executive Office of the President (EOP) in the National Security Archive's lawsuit seeking restoration of those e-mails, the White House acknowledged that it has done little to recover e-mail files from computer workstations and nothing to collect external media storage devices that could hold e-mails.
Nov 14, 2008 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., September 25, 2013 – During the height of the Vietnam War protest movements in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the National Security Agency tapped the overseas communications of selected prominent Americans, most of whom were critics of the war, according to a recently declassified NSA history. For years those names on the NSA's watch list were secret, but thanks to the decision of an interagency panel, in response to an appeal by the National Security Archive, the NSA has released them for the first time. The names of the NSA's targets are eye-popping.
Nov 12, 2008 | News
Washington D.C., November 12, 2008 - The Obama administration can act quickly after taking office in January to reverse the secrecy trend of the last eight years and restore openness in the executive branch, according to a set of new proposals posted online today by the National Security Archive.
Nov 10, 2008 | News
Washington D.C., November 10, 2008 - A court ruled today that the National Security Archive may proceed with its effort to force the White House to recover millions of Bush Administration Executive Office of the President (EOP) e-mail records before the presidential transition.

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