30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

United States and Canada

Nov 11, 2019 | News
Washington, D.C., November 11, 2019 – A military judge presiding over the Guantanamo trial of alleged USS Cole bomber Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri cited a cable released to the National Security Archive as evidence that the system for handling classified CIA evidence at the detention camp’s national security trials is “flawed and unfair to the defense.” The current system allows prosecutors, working with members of the intelligence community, to decide what portions of evidence the defense needs for trial.

Nov 5, 2019 | News
Washington D.C., November 5, 2019 - The National Security Archive, together with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), sued Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Department of State today for violating the Federal Records Act by failing to create and preserve essential State Department records (see the complaint). The legal team representing the plaintiffs in the case is led by Anne We

Sep 22, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., September 22, 2019 – An unidentified flash on 22 September 1979 in the far South Atlantic had a “90% plus” probability of being a nuclear test, according to a CIA finding from later that year. The document, among others uncovered recently through archival research, adds significant weight to the argument that the flash, detected by a U.S. VELA satellite, was not a natural event, as White House science advisers later insisted. 

Sep 20, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., September 20, 2019 — In the aftermath of the September 21, 1976, car-bombing that killed former Chilean ambassador Orlando Letelier and his colleague, Ronni Moffitt, in Washington D.C., four State Department officers began pressing for a policy to force General Augusto Pinochet from power, according to a declassified “Dissent Channel” memorandum published today by the National Security Archive.

May 2, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., May 2, 2019 - During 1963, President John F. Kennedy was preoccupied with issues such as Vietnam, the nuclear test ban negotiations, civil rights protests, and Cuba. It is less well known, however, that one of his most abiding concerns was whether and how fast Israel was seeking a nuclear weapons capability and what the U.S. should do about it. Beginning in April 1963, Kennedy insisted that the Israeli leadership accept regular bi-annual U.S. inspections, or in diplomatic language, “visits,” of Israel’s nuclear complex at Dimona in the Negev Desert.

May 2, 2019 | Blog Post
FOIA Reporting Shows Serious Problems in Michigan Prisons   Indefatigable FOIA reporting from the Detroit Free Press reveals several alarming trends in Michigan’s state-run prisons – a spike in death rates, reporting misleading statistics to the state legislature, and shoddy records-keeping. The ratio of deaths in Michigan prison’s is now 348 deaths per 100,000 prisoners, […]

Apr 25, 2019 | Blog Post
Exemption 4 Scope Awaits SCOTUS Ruling On Monday the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media. The case, which is the first the justices have heard “to address the meaning of a Freedom of Information Act exemption used to decide when information businesses give the government is […]

Apr 19, 2019 | Blog Post
FOIA Request Shows Al-Nashiri Trial Judge Secretly Sought DOJ Position   In a remarkable turn of events, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit “threw out every single pre-trial order issued over the past three-and-a-half years in the case of Abd Al-Rahim Hussein Muhammed Al-Nashiri,” the alleged USS Cole bomber currently being tried by […]

Apr 12, 2019 | Blog Post
Declassification Diplomacy: Trump Administration Turns Over Massive Collection of Intelligence Records on Human Rights and Argentina Today in a diplomatic ceremony hosted by U.S. Archivist David Ferriero at the National Archives, U.S. officials completed the turnover of some 7,500 CIA, FBI, DOD, NSC and State Department records—47,000 pages in total—to Argentina’s Minister of Justice and […]

Apr 4, 2019 | Blog Post
Bicameral, Bipartisan Letter Seeks GAO Review of FOIA Compliance   Representatives Elijah Cummings and Jim Jordan were joined by Senators Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy, Chuck Grassley, and John Cornyn in sending a letter to the Comptroller General at the Government Accountability Office requesting the GAO “conduct a comprehensive review of agency compliance with the Freedom […]

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