30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Secrecy and FOIA

Jun 14, 2006 | News
Washington D.C., 14 June 2006 - The National Security Archive today filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), challenging the Agency's recent practice of charging Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) fees to journalists pursuing news.
Apr 26, 2006 | News
Washington D.C., 26 April 2006 - Today the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) released an audit report of the secret historical document reclassification program conducted at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Department of Defense (DOD), and other government agencies since at least 1999. The reclassification program was exposed in February 2006 when independent historian Matthew M. Aid confronted NARA about the explanation for numerous records being withdrawn from publicly available files.
Apr 21, 2006 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, April 21, 2006 - Last month the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) put almost 320,000 declassified cables on-line when it opened up State Department document databases from 1973 and 1974. This is significant news for researchers, because the text of declassified diplomatic cables is now retrievable on the NARA Web site. Beginning in 1973, the State Department began creating electronic systems for transmitting cables to and from U.S. embassies.
Apr 19, 2006 | News
Washington D.C., 19 April 2006 - A federal court today granted partial summary judgment to the National Security Archive finding that the Air Force has violated the Freedom of Information Act and has engaged in a pattern or practice of violating the FOIA.
Apr 19, 2006 | News
Washington D.C., 19 April 2006 - Monday, Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein released a declassified Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Central Intelligence Agency, signed in October 2001, and a background paper that shed more light on the recently exposed reclassification of open files at the National Archives and Records Administration. After the secret MOU came to Weinstein's attention last Thursday, he sought its immediate declassification.
Apr 11, 2006 | News
Washington D.C., 11 April 2006 - The National Archives and Records Administration secretly agreed to a covert effort, led by the Air Force, the CIA, and other still-hidden intelligence entities, to remove open-shelf archival records and reclassify them while disguising the results so that researchers would not complain, according to a previously secret Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Mar 14, 2006 | Briefing Book, FOIA Audit
Washington D.C., March 14, 2006 - The first-ever government-wide audit of the ways that federal agencies mark and protect information that is unclassified but sensitive for security reasons has found 28 different and uncoordinated policies, none of which include effective oversight or monitoring of how many records are marked and withheld, by whom, or for how long.
Mar 13, 2006 | Briefing Book, FOIA Audit
In an effort to identify the oldest unanswered Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests in the federal government, the National Security Archive used the FOIA itself to ask more than 60 federal agencies for copies of their ten oldest pending FOIA requests. The results are astonishing-requests as old as 17 years remain unanswered, some agencies are unable even to identify their oldest requests, and agency backlogs are significantly more chronic and extensive than the agencies' annual reports to Congress indicate.
Mar 13, 2006 | News, Rosemary Award
Washington D.C., 13 March 2006 - The Central Intelligence Agency has won the second annual Rosemary Award, recognizing the worst performance by a federal agency in complying with the Freedom of Information Act. The Award is named after President Nixon's secretary Rosemary Woods and the backwards-leaning stretch which she testified resulted in her erasing eighteen-and-a-half minutes from a key Watergate conversation on the White House tapes.
Mar 9, 2006 | News
Washington, D.C., March 9, 2006 - The Justice Department official who oversaw national security matters from 2000 to 2003 e-mailed his former colleagues after revelation of the controversial warrantless wiretapping program in December 2005 that the Department's justifications for the program were "weak" and had a "slightly after-the-fact quality" to them, and surmised that this reflected "the VP's philosophy that the best defense is a good offense," according to documents released through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center and joined by

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