United States and Canada
Mar 8, 2018 | News, FOIA Audit br>
Washington, DC, March 8, 2018 – Two out of five federal agencies claimed that they were either unable or not required to respond to a targeted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for agency emails submitted by the National Security Archive.
Mar 7, 2018 | Blog Post br>
Just over a year ago, a Freedom of Information Act release by the National Park Service demonstrably proved that the President of the United States was lying about the size of his inauguration crowd. That he was even elected president was, in part, because his opponent had improperly stored federal records on a personal server […]
Mar 1, 2018 | Blog Post br>
Agencies Still Trying to Weaken the FOIA Federal agencies are still trying to restrict access to information and weaken the Freedom of Information Act in a variety of ways. With Sunshine Week – the annual, week-long celebration of access to information – around the corner, I wanted to highlight some of the most egregious ways […]
How the Feds Responded to the Hawaii Missile False Alert, is Kushner’s Office subject to FOIA, and More: FRINFORMSUM 2/22/2018Feb 22, 2018 | Blog Post br>
Federal Response to Hawaii Missile False Alert Emails released through the FOIA give a detailed look at how the military responded to the false alert – sent by a Hawaii state official unaware that a drill was being conducted – that warned Hawaiians that a ballistic missile attack was imminent. The emails show the false […]
Scavenging for Intelligence: The U.S. Government’s Secret Search for Foreign Objects during the Cold WarJan 31, 2018 | Briefing Book br>
Washington, D.C., January 31, 2018 – Like so many treasure hunters, beachcombers, and curio shoppers, U.S. military and intelligence operatives have for decades scoured the planet for access to everything from captured surface-to-air missiles to medicines to bits and pieces of spacecraft that have fallen to Earth – all with an eye to learning something useful about America’s adversaries.
Jan 24, 2018 | Briefing Book br>
Washington D.C., January 24, 2018 - On the day before September 11, 2001, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld believed the gravest threat to American national security was Pentagon bureaucracy, according to “snowflakes” he wrote that were released by the Defense Department after a five-year Freedom of Information Act fight and lawsuit by the National Security Archive.
Nov 30, 2017 | Briefing Book br>
Washington, D.C., November 30, 2017 – U.S. presidents sometimes made nuclear threats in the course of Cold War crises and confrontations, but powerful social norms – not just military considerations – inhibited them from initiating the combat use of nuclear weapons, according to declassified documents posted today by the nongovernmental National Security Archive.
FOIA Shows Texas Border Wall Could Bisect Retirement Community, Wildlife Preserves: FRINFORMSUM 11/16/2017Nov 16, 2017 | Blog Post br>
Border Wall Plans in Texas would Disrupt Retirement Community, Wildlife Preserves A FOIA request from the Sierra Club’s borderlands team won the release of documents, which were then shared with the Texas Observer, showing tentative border wall plans in the Rio Grande Valley. One of the releases – a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers map […]
FBI Consults Public Affairs Office, Not Advisory Board, for Removing Public Info from Website: FRINFORMSUM 11/9/2017Nov 9, 2017 | Blog Post br>
Anemic FBI Crime Report Published in Consultation with Public Affairs, not Advisory Board FiveThirtyEight has an excellent article on the FBI’s 2016 Crime in the United States report – “a collection of crime statistics gathered from over 18,000 law-enforcement agencies” that contains 70 percent fewer data tables than previous iterations. The missing data from the […]
Nov 1, 2017 | Special Exhibit br>
Over the years, we've seen countless cases of a government agency or official refusing to declassify a document on national security grounds, only to find out it's already been safely released to the public by another deparment. The sheer quantity of these "dubious secrets" points up problems of subjectivity, poor communication, and overclassification within the secrecy system. Sometimes the decisions have real impact — halting criminal trials, for instance. At other times they're downright silly. Here are some of the more questionable ones we’ve encountered.