30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Secrecy and FOIA

Apr 8, 2004 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., 12 April 2004 - President Bush on Saturday, 10 April 2004, became the first sitting president ever to release publicly even a portion of his Daily Brief from the CIA. The page-and-a-half section of the President's Daily Brief from 6 August 2001, headlined "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US," had generated the most contentious questioning in last week's testimony by national security adviser Condoleezza Rice before the commission investigating the September 11th attacks. Dr.
Mar 11, 2004 | News
Washington D.C., 11 March 2004 - The National Security Archive, together with America's leading library and archival associations and four public interest groups, filed a joint amicus brief today in the U.S. Supreme Court case brought by Vice President Richard Cheney to prevent discovery into the makeup of his controversial energy policy task force.
Feb 26, 2004 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., 26 February 2004 - Diaries, e-mail, and memos of Iran-contra figure Oliver North, posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive, directly contradict his criticisms yesterday of Sen. John Kerry's 1988 Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee report on the ways that covert support for the Nicaraguan contras in the 1980s undermined the U.S. war on drugs. Mr. North claimed to talk show hosts Hannity & Colmes that the Kerry report was "wrong," that Sen.
Feb 4, 2004 | Briefing Book
Dear President Fox, Something remarkable has happened in Guatemala. You owe it to your country to take notice. On January 20, the Guatemalan Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a senior military officer, Col. Juan Valencia Osorio, for plotting and ordering the political assassination of Guatemalan anthropologist Myrna Mack Chang in 1990. The colonel has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Nov 17, 2003 | Briefing Book, FOIA Audit
Washington D.C., November 17, 2003 - The oldest Freedom of Information requests that are still pending in the U.S. government date back to the late 1980s, before the collapse of the Soviet Union, according to the Freedom of Information Act Audit released today by George Washington University's National Security Archive. The oldest still-pending request is a 1987 inquiry from San Francisco Chronicle reporter Seth Rosenfeld on FBI activities at the University of California at Berkeley.
Jul 4, 2003 | Briefing Book
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 4 - George Washington University's National Security Archive, the leading non-profit user of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, today released its annual Freedom of Information Act birthday posting, 37 years to the day after President Johnson grudgingly signed the U.S. FOIA into law on July 4, 1966.
Jun 11, 2003 | News
Washington, D.C., June 11, 2003 - The Congress is poised to give the National Security Agency a free pass from complying with the Freedom of Information Act for any NSA "operational" files, even though NSA has failed to demonstrate a need for the exemption and the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Reconnaissance Office are abusing similar provisions previously granted by Congress.
May 21, 2003 | Briefing Book
Washington DC, May 21, 2003 - The Central Intelligence Agency classified and withheld from a Freedom of Information Act release a 25-year-old joke item in a weekly terrorism report about the terrorist threat to Santa Claus and the North Pole, among many other examples of "dubious secrets" published today on the Web by the National Security Archive at George Washington University. The CIA's secret Santa leads the Archive's lengthy compilation of declassified documents that illustrate the arbitrary and capricious decision making that all too often characterizes the U.S.
May 5, 2003 | News
Washington, D.C., May 5, 2003 - The proposed FY 2004 Defense Authorization Act would throw a cloak of secrecy over valuable National Security Agency ("NSA") records now released under the Freedom of Information Act, including important historical records on the use of signals intelligence and cryptology in U.S. defense history. There have been no public hearings on the proposed legislation, which is based on unsupported justifications.
Mar 14, 2003 | Briefing Book, FOIA Audit
WASHINGTON, D.C., 14 MARCH 2003 - The National Security Archive at George Washington University today released results from the first-ever government-wide audit of federal responses to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The audit shows dramatic variations in agency reactions to the restrictive FOIA guidance issued by Attorney General John Ashcroft in October 2001. Some agencies concluded the Ashcroft memo represented a "drastic" and "fundamental" change; others saw no change or said "Yeah. OK" when asked about impact.

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