30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Secrecy and FOIA

Jan 19, 2017 | Blog Post
Operation Condor Verdict – Life Imprisonment This week a tribunal in Rome sentenced two former heads of state and two ex-chiefs of security forces from Bolivia and Peru, as well as a former Uruguayan foreign minister, to life imprisonment for their  involvement in the coordinated, cross-border system of repression known as “Operation Condor.” The National Security Archive, which provided testimony and dozens of declassified documents as evidence to […]

Jan 12, 2017 | Blog Post
Dos Erres Arrest in Maryland Federal agents arrested 54-year-old Jose Mardoqueo Ortiz Morales in Maryland last week for suspected involvement in the Guatemalan Special Forces brutal murder of more than 250 men, women and children 1982 – known as the Dos Erres massacre, which was part of the Guatemalan military’s “scorched earth campaign” carried out […]

Jan 9, 2017 | Blog Post
This a version of this article originally appeared in The Federalist, Newsletter of the Society for History in the Federal Government. The Presidential Records Act of 1978 (PRA) established that the papers of U.S. Presidents legally belong to the American people. According to the law, the Archivist of the United States assumes responsibility for the custody, […]

Jan 5, 2017 | Blog Post
DOJ Updates FOIA Regulations The Justice Department updated its FOIA regulations in accordance with the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, which was signed into law by President Obama on June 30, 2016, and requires all agencies to update their FOIA regulations within 180 days after the passage of the bill – which means, by my count, […]

Dec 15, 2016 | Blog Post
Release to One, Release to All – Law Enforcement Carve-out Citing Mosaic Theory a Slippery Slope The Department of Justice is seeking comments on the “Release to One, Release to All” policy prepared by the Office of Information Policy (OIP); the comment period is open through 11:59 PM on December 23. The draft contains two […]

Dec 8, 2016 | Blog Post
Untrustworthy Elections A 2007 Ohio Secretary of State review to assess the security of electronic voting systems used in the state discovered that “all of the studied systems possess critical security failures that render their technical controls insufficient to guarantee a trustworthy election.” The 300-plus page review was one of the dozen new documents that […]

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."

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