30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Secrecy and FOIA

Feb 10, 2005 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., February 10, 2005 - February 10, 2005 - As a result of a Freedom of Information Act appeal filed by the National Security Archive, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) corrected its October 2004 blunder of withholding the names and numbers of aviation warnings known as Information Circulars that were widely cited and quoted in the best-selling 9/11 Commission Report.

Jan 21, 2005 | News
Washington D.C., January 21, 2005 - The National Security Archive this week submitted comments on the Central Intelligence Agency's decennial review of the record categories that the CIA has designated as exempt from search and review under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In 1984 the CIA was granted limited protection from FOIA for operational records that are considered so sensitive that it is not productive to search them in response to FOIA requests.

Dec 14, 2004 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., December 14: Front page stories in The Washington Post ("New Spy Satellite Debated on Hill," Dec. 11, 2004) and The New York Times ("New Spy Plan Said to Involve Satellite System," Dec. 12, 2004) describe a secret satellite program that the Senate intelligence committee has voted to cancel but survives in the current intelligence budget due to strong support from the House and Senate appropriations committees and the House intelligence committee. Senator John D.

Nov 30, 2004 | News
Washington, D.C., 30 November 2004 - The National Security Archive along with concerned library, journalist, and public interest organizations today filed an amici curiae brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit supporting public access to information about the energy task force convened by Vice President Cheney in 2001. The case is vital to preserving public access to government information under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).

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.

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