30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Secrecy and FOIA

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 […]

Oct 18, 2016 | Blog Post
Recently the National Archives sent the National Security Archive a decision letter on a Freedom of Information Act request that the present author filed in 1994.  It might not be the Archive’s oldest request at NARA that remains in play, but it is certainly among them.  The CIA’s denial of one of the requested documents […]

Oct 13, 2016 | Blog Post
It is past time for the State Department to release its Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) volume on the 1953 Iran Coup. Malcolm Byrne – the National Security Archive’s Deputy Director and Iran Project Director – argues in a recent Politico article that the State Department’s decision to delay the release of the […]

Oct 6, 2016 | Blog Post
The CIA has changed its rules for access to classified historical CIA records three times since 2011. Two changes, from September 2011 and August 2016, concern 32 CFR Part 1909’s rules governing access by Historical Researchers and Certain Former Government Personnel – researches like Evan Thomas, author of The Very Best Men. The differences include […]