35+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Secrecy and FOIA

Feb 11, 2021 | News
Washington, D.C., February 11, 2021 – The National Security Archive et. al. v. Donald J. Trump et. al. lawsuit, filed December 1, 2020 to prevent a possible bonfire of records in the Rose Garden, achieved a formal litigation hold on White House records that lasted all the way through the transition and Inauguration Day, the preservation of controversial WhatsApp messages, and a formal change in White House records policy.

Feb 1, 2021 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., February 1, 2021 – On September 9, 2003, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wrote to Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Steve Cambone expressing concern about information from interrogations at military sites in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Jan 20, 2021 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., January 20, 2021 - Biden spokesperson Jen Psaki has now pledged the new administration will resume publication of Secret Service logs of White House visitors, an Obama transparency innovation that was canceled by Donald Trump. The Obama White House posted some six million records of visits to the White House within 90 days of the visit, enabling journalists and citizens to track lobbyists and interest groups, and even determine the relative influence of, for instance, Google, versus the other tech companies.

Jan 13, 2021 | Briefing Book, Sourcebook
Washington, D.C., January 13, 2021 - The Pentagon’s timeline of its response to the January 6, 2021 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol features multiple discrepancies with the public record, while the first federal indictment of mob participants details the specific legal charges that likely will be brought against others, according to the documents in the National Security Archive’s first "January 6 Sourcebook" posted today. The Sourcebook, subtitled “documents you should read,” includes:

Sep 24, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., September 24, 2020 - When White House lawyers tried to block publication of former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s book, The Room Where it Happened, a National Security Council classification specialist confronted them, suggesting they were only intervening "because the most powerful man in the world said that it needed to happen," 

Jun 25, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, June 25, 2020 — Portions of a long-secret government blueprint for expansive surveillance of domestic protest movements during the Nixon presidency have just been released, more than 50 years after it was drafted.  The notorious “Huston Plan” prepared by representatives of the White House and the U.S. intelligence community envisioned a smorgasbord of covert operations that made even FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover queasy. The proposed activities ranged from monitoring domestic dissident groups — notably the Black Panthers — to office break-ins.

Jun 19, 2020 | News
Washington, D.C., June 19, 2020 – As President Trump escalates attempts to quash publication of former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s book, The Room Where it Happened, on the grounds that it still “contains classified information,”  the National Security Archive today posted documentation on previous cases of “prepublication review” dating back to the 1970s that cast doubt on the admi

May 18, 2020 | News
Washington, D.C., May 18, 2020 – The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled against the National Security Archive’s lawsuit to restore the routine disclosure, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), of the White House visitor logs that were taken down by the Trump administration in early 2017.

Jan 13, 2020 | Blog Post
Unredacted Ukraine Emails Cast Doubt on Exemption 5 Invocation A recent Just Security article from Citizen and Responsibility for Ethics in Washington’s (CREW) Anne Weismann provides a powerful argument for reforming FOIA Exemption 5, often called the “withhold it because you want to” exemption, “to mirror how the deliberative process privilege is treated in the […]

Dec 13, 2019 | Blog Post
Rumsfeld Memos Play Key Role in “The Afghanistan Papers” Donald Rumsfeld’s “snowflakes” – memos that the former Secretary of Defense was as fond of sending subordinates as President Trump is of tweeting – play an important role in the Washington Post’s massive exposé on the Afghanistan war, The Afghanistan Papers. The series draws on both […]

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