30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Secrecy and FOIA

Apr 29, 2010 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., April 29, 2010 - Previously unpublished documents from inside the Kremlin shed new light on how Soviet and American scientists breached the walls of Soviet military secrecy in the final years of the Cold War. The documents were first disclosed in a new book by by David E. Hoffman, The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy. The book was awarded the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction. The documents are being posted today in English translation by the National Security Archive.

Apr 7, 2010 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., April 7, 2010 - In a response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the Pentagon claims that "Poodle Blanket" contingency plans from 1961 for a possible confrontation over West Berlin (no longer divided) with the Soviet Union (no longer a country) still need to be secret for fear of damage to current U.S. national security, according to documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (www.nsarchive.org).

Mar 15, 2010 | Briefing Book, FOIA Audit
Washington, DC, March 15, 2010 - Despite President Barack Obama's and Attorney General Eric Holder's 2009 memoranda calling for reform in government agencies' administration of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the latest government-wide FOIA Audit released today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University found: Ancient requests--as old as 18 years--still persist in the FOIA system. A minority of agencies have responded to the Obama and Holder Memos with concrete changes in their FOIA practices.

Mar 12, 2010 | News, Rosemary Award
Washington, DC, March 12, 2010 - The Rosemary Award for worst open government performance, named after President Nixon’s secretary who erased 18 Ѕ minutes of a crucial Watergate tape, this year goes to the Federal Chief Information Officers Council, the senior federal officials (responsible for $71 billion a year of IT purchases) who have never addressed the failure of the government to save its e-mail electronically, according to the citation today by the National Security Archive (www.nsarchive.org).

Dec 14, 2009 | News
Washington, DC, December 14, 2009 - The National Security Archive (the Archive), Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the White House and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) today entered into an agreement setting forth general principles that will resolve the missing White House e-mail lawsuit filed first by the Archive in September 2007. "We commend the Obama Administration for making a strong effort to clean up the electronic data mess left behind by the prior administration," commented Sheila Shadmand, counsel for the Archive from Jones Day.

Sep 30, 2009 | News
Washington, DC, September 30, 2009 - At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today on “Advancing Freedom of Information in the New Era of Responsibility,” Archive General Counsel Meredith Fuchs reported on improvements in FOIA processing since the 2007 FOIA amendments went into effect, but said the most recent statistics demonstrated that excessive backlogs still plague the system. Citing requests as old as 17 years, Ms. Fuchs asked the Committee to look closely at FY 2009 data when it is reported to determine whether anything has improved. Ms.

Aug 25, 2009 | Special Exhibit
Posted below is a side-by-side comparison of the Bush and Obama administration versions of the 2004 CIA Inspector General Report on Torture.

Jul 17, 2009 | Briefing Book
Pentagon classification authorities are treating classified historical documents as if they contain today's secrets, rather than decades-old information that has not been secret for years. Today the National Security Archive posted multiple versions of the same documents—on issues ranging from the 1973 October War to anti-ballistic missiles, strategic arms control, and U.S. policy toward China—that are already declassified and in the public domain.

Jul 10, 2009 | News
Washington, DC, July 10, 2009 - Today’s release of a report by several agency inspectors general reinforces the National Security Archive’s argument in our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that the Justice Department should declassify and release the legal justifications for the surveillance program authorized by President Bush after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Jun 30, 2009 | News
Washington, DC, June 30, 2009 - The Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) yesterday launched a historic Declassification Policy Forum to gather public input as part of an ongoing review of classification and declassification policy by the Obama Administration. The forum, hosted on the blog of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), will run from June 29th to July 13th and will seek recommendations in four different issue areas.

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