30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

United States and Canada

Nov 16, 2017 | Blog Post
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 […]

Nov 9, 2017 | Blog Post
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
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.  

Oct 26, 2017 | Briefing Book
Declassified documents describe founding of IAEA including US demand for leadership role plus safeguards system and deep Soviet skepticism over agency effectiveness

Oct 26, 2017 | Blog Post
DOJ OIP Head Implies New FOIA Portal will be “Better than the Letter of the Law” The FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 mandates the creation of a “consolidated online request portal that allows a member of the public to submit a request for records under subsection (a) to any agency from a single website. The […]

Oct 25, 2017 | Briefing Book
US dropped prosecution of Chicago Tribune for espionage during World War II for leaking that US Navy knew about Japanese plans to attack Midway Island

Oct 5, 2017 | News
“There is no system for keeping track of Presidential visitors at Mar-a-Lago,” according to the government’s October 4, 2017, court filing in response to a National Security Archive Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. The suit, Doyle v. DHS, brought together with the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), seeks the Secret Service's White House visitor logs covering Inauguration Day through March 8, along with Secret Service records of presidential visitors at other Trump properties.

Oct 5, 2017 | Blog Post
FOIA Details Pruitt’s Deep Industry Ties, Costly Security Detail   A FOIA request from American Oversight has won the “most detailed look” to date at Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt’s schedule. The 320-pages reveal the daily schedule for Pruitt’s first three months in office (February through May); included on the schedule is an […]

Sep 28, 2017 | Blog Post
FOIA Shows Immigration Judges Reassigned to Border Lack Work While Backlog Grows at Home A FOIA request to the Justice Department’s Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) shows that a Trump administration initiative to speed up deportations by sending more than 100 of the country’s roughly 300 immigration judges on short-term missions to the U.S.-Mexico […]

Sep 25, 2017 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., September 25, 2017 – The National Security Agency’s (NSA) own official history conflated two different constitutionally "questionable practices" involving surveillance of U.S. citizens, according to recent NSA declassifications published today by the National Security Archive, an independent research organization based at The George Washington University. During the mid-1970s, the U.S.