30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Secrecy and FOIA

Oct 1, 2007 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, October 1, 2007 - Today the National Security Archive publishes a collection of documents concerning U.S. policy with regard to acknowledging the “fact of” U.S. satellite reconnaissance operations – particularly satellite photoreconnaissance. It was 29 years ago today that President Jimmy Carter, in a speech at the Kennedy Space Center, acknowledged that the U.S. was operating photoreconnaissance satellites. As the documents illustrate, the perceived need to persuade segments of the public that the U.S.

Sep 5, 2007 | News
Washington, DC, September 5, 2007 --The United States District Court for the District of Columbia today largely rejected the government’s attempt to withhold without explanation all records concerning its warrantless wiretapping surveillance program. In a Freedom of Information Act law suit brought by the National Security Archive, along with the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the American Civil Liberties Union, the Court rejected the summary explanations and declarations of the government.

Sep 5, 2007 | News
Washington DC, September 5, 2007 - The National Security Archive today sued the White House seeking the recovery and preservation of more than 5 million White House e-mail messages that were apparently deleted from White House computers between March 2003 and October 2005. The lawsuit filed this morning in U.S.

Sep 5, 2007 | News
San Francisco, California, 5 September 2007 - The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals this week held that the disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act of two Presidential Daily Briefs written for President Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1960s could “reveal protected intelligence sources and methods.”  The Court rejected, however, the Central Intelligence Agency’s “attempt to create a per se status exemption for PDBs.”

Aug 10, 2007 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., August 10, 2007 - The Central Intelligence Agency has lost documents concerning its investigation of the mysterious 1948 murder of CBS reporter George Polk, and destroyed its file on FOIA requests for Polk documents, according to a letter from Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein. In June 2006, the Archive asked the CIA and the National Archives to investigate the possibility that the CIA had lost or destroyed records on the Polk case. Polk, a CBS reporter based in Greece at the height of its left-right civil war, was murdered by unknown assailants in 1948.

Jul 13, 2007 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., July 13, 2007 - Throughout the 1960s and most of the 1970s, while the U.S. government conducted its space reconnaissance program under a veil of absolute secrecy, officials debated whether information about the program (including the "fact of" its existence and certain photographs) should be disclosed to other elements of the government, public, allies, and even the Soviet Union, according to documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and archival research and posted today by the National Security Archive.

Jul 12, 2007 | News
Washington DC, July 12, 2007 - At a hearing of the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee, Subcommittee on Intelligence Community Management, on classification of national security information and its implications, Archive General Counsel Meredith Fuchs testified that unnecessary classification poses risks to our security and to the accountability and legitimacy of government agencies. Referring to the Central Intelligence Agency's recent release of its "family jewels" file in response to an Archive Freedom of Information Act request, Ms.

Jul 3, 2007 | News
Washington DC, July 3, 2007 - As the 41st birthday of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) approaches, a coalition of groups urged the U.S. Congress to pass a bill - currently locked behind a closed door - that would reform the FOIA and make it work better for the public. The OPEN Government Act (S. 849) would enact common-sense reforms to the FOIA and put in place incentives for federal agencies to process FOIA requests from the public in a timely manner.

Jul 2, 2007 | Briefing Book, FOIA Audit
Washington, D.C., July 2, 2007 - The oldest Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests still pending in the federal government were first filed two decades ago, during the Reagan presidency, according to the Knight Open Government Survey released today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University. "Forty years after the law went into effect, we're seeing twenty years of delay," said Tom Blanton, the Archive's director, noting the July 4, 1967 implementation date for FOIA.

May 3, 2007 | News
Washington DC, May 3, 2007 - The National Security Archive and several other public interest organizations argued yesterday, in an amicus curiae brief filed in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, that courts should not simply defer to the government's assertion of the state secrets privilege but rather must independently evaluate the claim that a case must be dismissed to protect national security.

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