30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Secrecy and FOIA

Sep 18, 2008 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., September 18, 2008 - Today, on the 16th anniversary of the declassification of the fact of the existence of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and National Reconnaissance Program (NRP), the National Security Archive publishes a collection of documents concerning the declassification decision and its implementation. The NRO and NRP were established in 1961 to coordinate the satellite reconnaissance activities of the CIA and Air Force. As the documents illustrate, the issue of NRO declassification was considered as early as 1973.

Jul 29, 2008 | News
Washington D.C., July 29, 2008 - Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola of the U.S. District Court today denied a motion by the White House to reconsider his earlier recommendations and reaffirmed his recommendation that the court order the Executive Office of the President (EOP) to search individual workstations used between March 2003 and October 2005 and preserve any e-mails located on those workstations or on portable media used by EOP employees.

Jul 22, 2008 | News
Washington D.C., July 22, 2008 - After hearing arguments today, a federal court in New York decided that the government must release most of the sealed grand jury records from the 1951 indictment of alleged Soviet spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. In response to a petition filed by the National Security Archive and others, the government conceded in a June filing that the Rosenberg case is of “significant historical importance” and therefore said it would not contest the release of testimony of witnesses who have passed away or consented to the disclosure.

Jun 26, 2008 | News
Washington D.C., June 26, 2008 - Responding to a petition filed in January by the National Security Archive and several leading U.S. historical associations for the release of grand jury records from the 1951 indictment of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, federal prosecutors in New York conceded that a substantial portion of the grand jury materials could be made public after more than 55 years.

Jun 11, 2008 | News
Washington D.C., June 11, 2008 - The National Security Archive’s General Counsel today warned that while “the establishment of trusted pathways for information is obviously essential to coordination amongst federal, state, local and tribal authorities, and private parties, those pathways are just as susceptible to manipulation and failure as individual agencies that jealously guard their secrets and turf.” The Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment of the House Committee on Homeland Security, chaired by Representative Jane Harman, asked for the Arch

May 14, 2008 | News
Washington DC, May 14, 2008 - The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is overwhelmed and behind the curve, facing huge increases in both electronic records and classified records, according to Congressional testimony today by National Security Archive director Tom Blanton. The U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security, chaired by Sen.

May 8, 2008 | News
Washington DC, May 8, 2008 - Today's Washington Post devotes the cover of its Style section and a full inside page to the National Security Archive, which the Post calls "the house that FOIA built and a mecca for document buffs." For the full text, photos and graphics, see the article on washingtonpost.com. Reporter Peter Carlson calls Archive staff "a good advertisement for the dubious proposition that spending your entire adult life poring through government documents has a fountain-of-youth effect."

May 7, 2008 | News
Washington DC, May 7, 2008 - The National Security Archive's Meredith Fuchs was featured May 5 in a Fox-5 News (WTTG) expose about the FBI's mismanaged secrets. "The Fox News report would make anyone concerned about how well the FBI finds its own information for use in its investigations," commented Meredith Fuchs.

May 6, 2008 | News
Washington D.C., May 6, 2008 - The White House yesterday admitted to a federal magistrate judge that it has no computer back-up tapes with data written before May 23, 2003, and that it cannot track the history of individual hard drives within the White House system that may contain missing e-mails. The White House filing responded to an April 24, 2008, order from Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola of the U.S.

Mar 19, 2008 | News, Rosemary Award
Washington DC, March 19, 2008 - As if the sub-prime credit crisis was not enough, the U.S. Treasury Department today won the fourth annual Rosemary Award for the worst performance by a federal agency under the Freedom of Information Act. Given annually by the Emmy- and George Polk Award-winning National Security Archive at George Washington University, the Rosemary recognizes outstandingly bad responsiveness to the public that flouts the letter and spirit of the Freedom of Information Act.

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