30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Secrecy and FOIA

Nov 23, 2004 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., November 23, 2004 - President Gerald R. Ford wanted to sign the Freedom of Information Act strengthening amendments passed by Congress 30 years ago, but concern about leaks (shared by his chief of staff Donald Rumsfeld and deputy Richard Cheney) and legal arguments that the bill was unconstitutional (marshaled by government lawyer Antonin Scalia, among others) persuaded Ford to veto the bill, according to declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive to mark the 30th anniversary of the veto override.
Nov 17, 2004 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., November 17, 2004 - Fifteen years ago today, a modest, officially sanctioned student demonstration in Prague spontaneously grew into a major outburst of popular revulsion toward the ruling Communist regime. At that point the largest protest in 20 years, the demonstrations helped to spark the Velvet Revolution that brought down communism in Czechoslovakia and put dissident playwright Vбclav Havel in the Presidential Palace.
Oct 29, 2004 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C. October 29, 2004 - The Department of Defense has refused to release the names of military officers in the chain of command over the soldiers charged with prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, according to an analysis of the documents posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive at George Washington University. DOD also refused to release the names of the officers who reviewed the so-called "Taguba Report," which recommended disciplinary and administrative actions for the abuses perpetrated at Abu Ghraib.
Oct 15, 2004 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., 15 October 2004 - On October 15, 1984, President Reagan signed into law the Central Intelligence Agency Information Act of 1984, Pub. L. 98-477, codified at 50 U.S.C. Sec. 431, which created an unprecedented exception for the CIA from the search and review requirements of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). It applies to records of current intelligence and counterintelligence collection, so-called "operational files." It leaves the designation of such files to the CIA.
Oct 14, 2004 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., 14 October 2004 - The Transportation Security Administration this week refused to release the texts or even the titles of five aviation warnings given to airlines just before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, even though the titles and substance of the warnings have been published in the best-selling 9/11 Commission report, according to an analysis of the documents posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.
Oct 4, 2004 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., 4 October 2004 - Journalism professor Ralph Begleiter of the University of Delaware today filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act in federal district court for copies of the military's photographs and video of the honor guard arrival and transfer ceremonies at Dover Air Force Base for servicemen and women killed in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. The lawsuit challenges the censorship policy initiated in 1991 by then-Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney, and continued by the Pentagon under the Clinton and Bush Administrations.
Jul 9, 2004 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., 9 July 2004 - The CIA has decided to keep almost entirely secret the controversial October 2002 CIA intelligence estimate about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction that is the subject of today's Senate Intelligence Committee report, according to the CIA's June 1, 2004 response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the National Security Archive. The CIA's response included a copy of the estimate, NIE 2002-16HC, October 2002, Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction, consisting almost entirely of whited-out pages.
Jun 24, 2004 | News
Washington D.C., June 24, 2004 - The United States Supreme Court today remanded to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals a case concerning the application of a federal open government law to the Energy Task Force chaired by Vice President Cheney in 2001.
Jun 17, 2004 | News, Special Exhibit
Washington D.C., June 17, 2004 - Noted modern artist Jenny Holzer, whose signature "xenon" film projectors have cast monumental light images of texts and truisms on the sides of buildings and landscapes from Florence to Buenos Aires, features the National Security Archive's declassified documents in her latest exhibition, which opened on June 11 in Bregenz, Austria, through September 5. Holzer's texts for the Bregenz show, titled "Truth Before Power," include more than 30 former secrets obtained by the National Security Archive through the Freedom of Information Act (primarily on U.S.
May 26, 2004 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., May 26, 2004 - Five years after the National Security Archive initiated legal action to compel the State Department and the National Archives to recover the transcripts of Henry Kissinger's telephone calls from his "private" collection at the Library of Congress, the National Archives today released approximately 20,000 declassified pages (10 cubic feet) of these historic records, spanning Kissinger's tenure under President Nixon from 1969 to August 1974 as national security adviser and also as secretary of state beginning in September 1973.

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