30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Secrecy and FOIA

Dec 7, 2016 | Blog Post
These comments will be presented to the Public Interest Declassification Board for its December 8 meeting and were initially published on the PIDB’s blog, Transforming Classification.  The former head of the Information Security Oversight Office, responsible for oversight of the US classification system, has acknowledged that classification officials joke that “you could easily classify the ham sandwich.”  Barack […]

Dec 7, 2016 | Blog Post
This morning the Archive’s Executive Director, Tom Blanton, is testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for its hearing on “Examining the Costs of Over-classification on Transparency and Security.” Below is a copy of Blanton’s “must read” testimony. Testimony of Thomas Blanton, Director, National Security Archive, George Washington University   Before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. […]

Dec 6, 2016 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., December 6, 2016 – On November 9, 1983, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization launched a nuclear war against its nemesis, the Warsaw Pact, after NATO military commanders sought and received permission for “initial limited use of nuclear weapons” from the political leadership of the Western alliance.

Dec 2, 2016 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., December 2, 2016 – 250 years ago today, two centuries before the United States enacted the Freedom of Information Act, the Swedish Parliament passed the Ordinance on Freedom of Writing and of the Press, the world's first law requiring "publicity for official documents."

Dec 2, 2016 | Blog Post
Chiquita Terrorist Funding A federal judge in Florida ruled that “victims of Colombian paramilitary death squads funded by Chiquita” have a right to have their case heard in the United States rather than Colombia, “clearing the way for the historic case to advance toward trial.” The ruling comes nearly a decade after Chiquita pled guilty […]

Nov 18, 2016 | Blog Post
Transparency and Donald Trump In the nine days since Donald Trump won the presidential election reports have surfaced that he considered seeking top secret clearances for his three oldest children, and in some instances their spouses – requests that would be unprecedented if true. Trump also seems to be standing by a plan to place his […]

Nov 10, 2016 | Blog Post
CIA Decennial Review – No New Categories Removed from Swath of Operational Files The CIA likely did not take the opportunity during its third decennial review to remove any categories of records from the operational files category – something the agency last did during the first decennial review in 1995. This is one of the few revelations […]

Nov 3, 2016 | Blog Post
CIA Forced to Release Bay of Pigs History Agency Once Said Would “Confuse the Public” if Declassified “After more than twenty years, it appears that fear of exposing the Agency’s dirty linen, rather than any significant security information, is what prompts continued denial of requests for release of these records. Although this volume may do […]

Oct 27, 2016 | Blog Post
508 Should Not Be Distorted to Undermine FOIA This week an expert panel comprised of representatives from the Access Board and the General Services Administration addressed the FOIA Advisory Committee’s October 25 meeting and answered questions on 508 compliance. 508 compliance refers to a section of the Rehabilitation Act that has required agencies to ensure […]

Oct 20, 2016 | Blog Post
Good FOIA Fee Guidance from OIP The Department of Justice Office of Information Policy (OIP) has issued good FOIA fee guidance that clearly lays out for agencies the limitations the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 places on their ability to assess fees. Importantly, the guidance reminds agencies that “unusual circumstances,” which agencies routinely cite when […]