30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Secrecy and FOIA

Mar 13, 2007 | News
The American ideal of open government has reached critical condition and needs intensive care. We have enough lab results to know the news is bad: *The oldest still-pending Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request is old enough to join the Army and go to Iraq (18 years). *Backlogs on FOIA requests keep rising while the number of civil servants who the government assigns to FOIA keeps dropping — could there be a connection?
Mar 12, 2007 | Briefing Book, FOIA Audit
Washington D.C., 12 March 2007 - Ten years after Congress enacted the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments (E-FOIA), only one in five federal agencies actually complies with the law, according to a new survey released today during Sunshine Week by the National Security Archive. Passed in 1996 and effective in 1997, E-FOIA ordered federal agencies to post key records online, provide citizens with detailed guidance on making information requests, and use new information technology to publish information proactively.
Mar 7, 2007 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., March 7, 2007 - The declassified documents introduced as evidence during the trial of Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, provide an almost unprecedented window into Mr. Cheney's own role as the most powerful vice president in history, according to National Security Archive director Tom Blanton this morning on NPR's Morning Edition. To listen, click on http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7750388 This posting also includes the actual documents discussed today.
Mar 1, 2007 | News
Washington DC, March 1, 2007 - Since 2001, the government has added five years of delay into the process of releasing presidential records, according to testimony delievered today by Archive executive director Thomas Blanton before the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and National Archives. These are statistics from the Reagan Presidential Library - their official estimates of response times that they send to you when you request documents. The delay has risen from 18 months in 2001 to 78 months today.
Feb 14, 2007 | News
Washington DC, February 14, 2007 - National Security Archive General Counsel Meredith Fuchs today told the Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that, "problems [with the Freedom of Information Act system] will not be solved unless Congress mandates solutions." Ms. Fuchs recommended that Congress reform the FOIA to require better annual reporting and tracking of FOIA requests, citing examples of processing delays as long as 17 years and agency mismanagement or obstruction of requests causing delay.
Feb 7, 2007 | News
Washington DC, February 7, 2007 - The CIA's proposed new rule on Freedom of Information Act processing fees is likely to discourage FOIA requesters while imposing new administrative burdens both on the Agency and the public, according to formal comments filed with the CIA today by the National Security Archive of George Washington University. The Archive's general counsel, Meredith Fuchs, commented that, "Significant time, money, and other resources were spent by the CIA on fee disputes last year. One of those disputes involved the CIA's refusal to abide by a D.C.
Oct 19, 2006 | News
Washington DC, October 19, 2006 - Today the National Security Archive responded to the "Attorney General's Report to the President Pursuant to Executive Order 13,392, Entitled 'Improving Agency Disclosure of Information'" by providing the Attorney General and Congress an assessment of some of the serious challenges not acknowledged in the Report and calling for congressional oversight hearings to make optimistic FOIA processing goals a reality.
Oct 1, 2006 | Briefing Book
This new Electronic Briefing Book on the Tlatelolco massacre is based on a collaboration between Proceso magazine and the National Security Archive and launched on March 2, 2003. The collaboration grew out of a shared desire to publish and disseminate to a wide audience newly-declassified documents about the United States and Mexico. On an occasional basis, Proceso magazine publishes an article by the Archive's Mexico Project director, Kate Doyle, examining new documentary evidence on a chosen topic. The series--called Archivos Abiertos (or, Open Archive), draws from U.S.
Aug 18, 2006 | Briefing Book
Cold War Missile Numbers "De-re-classified" On 26 September 2006, the Department of Defense's Washington Headquarters Services duly released, as a result of an administrative appeal, unredacted versions of the 1971 charts, first published in a public report by Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird. This was, as it should have been, a routine decision to correct a mistake. Pentagon reviewers had previously treated the charts, which included numbers of U.S. strategic missiles and bombers, among other weapons systems, as classified documents.
Jul 4, 2006 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, 4 July 2006 - Forty years ago on July 4, 1966, Lyndon Johnson signed the landmark Freedom of Information Act while vacationing at his Texas ranch. But the event does not even appear on LBJ’s Daily Diary, which is the first indication (the dog that didn’t bark) that something was amiss on the Pedernales.

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