30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Intelligence and Espionage

Nov 9, 2007 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., November 9, 2007 - In anticipation of the planned launch of the final Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite tomorrow evening, which was originally scheduled to be orbited in October 2005, the National Security Archive has posted on the Web a collection of declassified documents tracing the history of the program from its roots as Subsystem G of WS-117L in 1957. At that time the U.S. began seriously planning to deploy satellites that would detect the infrared signals emitted by intercontinental ballistic missiles in order to provide warning of a Soviet missile attack.
Nov 5, 2007 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, November 5, 2007 - CBS News’ 60 Minutes exposure last night of the Iraqi agent known as CURVEBALL has put a major aspect of the Bush administration’s case for war against Iraq back under the spotlight. Rafid Ahmed Alwan’s charges that Iraq possessed stockpiles of biological weapons and the mobile plants to produce them formed a critical part of the U.S. justification for the invasion in Spring 2003. Secretary of State Colin L.
Oct 1, 2007 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, October 1, 2007 - Today the National Security Archive publishes a collection of documents concerning U.S. policy with regard to acknowledging the “fact of” U.S. satellite reconnaissance operations – particularly satellite photoreconnaissance. It was 29 years ago today that President Jimmy Carter, in a speech at the Kennedy Space Center, acknowledged that the U.S. was operating photoreconnaissance satellites. As the documents illustrate, the perceived need to persuade segments of the public that the U.S.
Sep 17, 2007 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, September 17, 2007 - Today the National Security Archive publishes a collection of documents concerning the organization and operations of the Pentagon's Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA) and the TALON/CORNERSTONE database it has maintained. As the Defense Department announced on August 21, today that database will be terminated while work on new procedures for reporting of threats to the Defense Department and its facilities continues. In the interim, threat reports will be transmitted to the FBI.
Sep 14, 2007 | Briefing Book
Update - Washington, D.C., April 11, 2008 – The policy debate over using U.S. reconnaissance satellites to obtain imagery of targets in the United States dates back to the earliest days of spy satellites, according to an updated collection of declassified documents published today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (www.nsarchive.org). Obtained and edited by Archive senior fellow Dr.
Sep 5, 2007 | News
Washington, DC, September 5, 2007 --The United States District Court for the District of Columbia today largely rejected the government’s attempt to withhold without explanation all records concerning its warrantless wiretapping surveillance program. In a Freedom of Information Act law suit brought by the National Security Archive, along with the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the American Civil Liberties Union, the Court rejected the summary explanations and declarations of the government.
Sep 5, 2007 | News
San Francisco, California, 5 September 2007 - The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals this week held that the disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act of two Presidential Daily Briefs written for President Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1960s could “reveal protected intelligence sources and methods.”  The Court rejected, however, the Central Intelligence Agency’s “attempt to create a per se status exemption for PDBs.”
Jul 13, 2007 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., July 13, 2007 - Throughout the 1960s and most of the 1970s, while the U.S. government conducted its space reconnaissance program under a veil of absolute secrecy, officials debated whether information about the program (including the "fact of" its existence and certain photographs) should be disclosed to other elements of the government, public, allies, and even the Soviet Union, according to documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and archival research and posted today by the National Security Archive.
Jun 21, 2007 | Briefing Book
Update - June 26, 2007, 1 p.m. - The full "family jewels" report, released today by the Central Intelligence Agency and detailing 25 years of Agency misdeeds, is now available on the Archive's Web site. The 702-page collection was delivered by CIA officers to the Archive at approximately 11:30 this morning -- 15 years after the Archive filed a Freedom of Information request for the documents. The report is available for download in its entirety and is also split into five smaller files for easier download. ALL FILES NOW FULL TEXT SEARCHABLE!
May 3, 2007 | News
Washington DC, May 3, 2007 - The National Security Archive and several other public interest organizations argued yesterday, in an amicus curiae brief filed in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, that courts should not simply defer to the government's assertion of the state secrets privilege but rather must independently evaluate the claim that a case must be dismissed to protect national security.

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