30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Secrecy and FOIA

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.

Jun 18, 2009 | News
Washington, DC, June 18, 2009 - A report issued by the Air Force Audit Agency that was released to the National Security Archive this week identifies significant mismanagement in the Air Force Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) program. The findings demonstrate a pattern of noncompliance with statutory timeframes to respond to records requests from the public and misrepresentations about the state of the Air Force FOIA program.

Jun 5, 2009 | Briefing Book
Recent Actions by Declassification Panel Show Pattern of CIA Overclassification and Tight Grip on Early Cold War History Documents Released Offer New Revelations on October War Intelligence and the Israeli Nuclear Weapons Program Washington, D.C., June 5, 2009 - Now that President Obama has announced a review of U.S. secrecy policy, critics of secrecy policy and declassification requesters alike can only hope that those who carry it out understand the serious failings of the secrecy system as it currently exists.

May 21, 2009 | News
Washington, DC, May 21, 2009 – At a hearing today focusing on the National Archives and Records Administration and the selection of a new Archivist, National Security Archive General Counsel Meredith Fuchs said: “[The new Archivist] should have a vision for an Archives 2.0.” Discussing electronic records management, classification, presidential records and libraries, and access as critical challenges, before the Information Policy, Census, and National Archives Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Ms.

Apr 14, 2009 | News
Washington, DC, April 14, 2009 - The plaintiffs and defendants in the pending lawsuit seeking restoration of millions of missing White House e-mails and the installation of an effective e-mail archiving system have agreed to stay the case so that the parties can discuss whether the matter can be resolved outside of litigation.

Mar 19, 2009 | News
Washington, D.C., March 19, 2009 - Attorney General Eric Holder today released new guidelines for federal agencies on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that reinforce the presumption of disclosure articulated by President Obama in his day one Memorandum on FOIA, issued January 21, 2009. Attorney General Holder’s memorandum provides practical guidance for implementing the presumption of disclosure, including by encouraging discretionary releases of records and releasing portions of records even when other portions are being withheld.

Mar 13, 2009 | News, Rosemary Award
Washington, DC, March 13, 2009 – The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) today won the fifth annual Rosemary Award for the worst Freedom of Information Act performance by a federal agency. The FBI’s reports to Congress show that the Bureau is unable to find any records in response to two-thirds of its incoming FOIA requests on average over the past four years, when the other major government agencies averaged only a 13% “no records” response to public requests.

Feb 26, 2009 | News
Washington, DC, February 26, 2009 – Today Secretary of Defense Robert Gates lifted a blanket ban on news media coverage of the honor guard ceremonies that mark the return of military casualties from abroad. The new policy will permit media coverage of the ceremonies, during which caskets draped with American flags are brought home from war, after consultation with the families of the fallen. The Obama administration’s move restores press access to the honor ceremonies, which had been the practice from World War II through the Panama invasion of 1989.

Feb 21, 2009 | News
Washington, D.C., February 21, 2009 - The Justice Department this week missed the opportunity to bring transparency to the controversy over deleted White House e-mail from the Bush administration by allowing briefing to continue on a motion that had been developed by the Bush Administration. The motion, filed by the Justice Department on January 21, just after the inauguration, sought to dismiss the White House e-mail litigation even while admitting that a secretive restoration process was still not finished. Yesterday the Archive responded to that motion.

Jan 21, 2009 | News
Washington, D.C., January 21, 2009 - On his first full day in office, President Barack Obama signed an executive order and two presidential memoranda heralding what he called a "new era of openness." Announcing a Presidential Memorandum on the Freedom of Information Act to reestablish a presumption of disclosure for information requested under FOIA, President Obama said that "every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information, but those who seek to make it known." The FOIA Memorandum articulates a presumption of

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