30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Secrecy and FOIA

Nov 4, 2010 | News
Washington D.C., November 4, 2010 – President Obama’s new Executive Order on “Controlled Unclassified Information” issued today builds on recommendations from open government groups and the findings of the National Security Archive’s 2006 audit of “Pseudo-Secrets” that uncovered 28 different and uncoordinated policies on marking and restricting official unclassified information.

Jul 29, 2010 | News
Washington, DC, July 29, 2010 - National Security Archive Director Tom Blanton made a guest appearance on “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central on Tuesday, July 27, to discuss Wikileaks’ release of over 90,000 Secret documents on the war in Afghanistan. Blanton told Stephen that the alleged leaker of the documents may just be applying the “Facebook mentality” to classified documents. The day before, Blanton visited Washington radio talk show host Kojo Nnamdi (WAMU 88.5 FM) for a – somewhat more serious – conversation about the implications of the leak.

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Washington, D.C., April 29, 2010 - Previously unpublished documents from inside the Kremlin shed new light on how Soviet and American scientists breached the walls of Soviet military secrecy in the final years of the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.

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