30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Secrecy and FOIA

Mar 13, 2006 | Briefing Book, FOIA Audit
In an effort to identify the oldest unanswered Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests in the federal government, the National Security Archive used the FOIA itself to ask more than 60 federal agencies for copies of their ten oldest pending FOIA requests. The results are astonishing-requests as old as 17 years remain unanswered, some agencies are unable even to identify their oldest requests, and agency backlogs are significantly more chronic and extensive than the agencies' annual reports to Congress indicate.

Mar 13, 2006 | News, Rosemary Award
Washington D.C., 13 March 2006 - The Central Intelligence Agency has won the second annual Rosemary Award, recognizing the worst performance by a federal agency in complying with the Freedom of Information Act. The Award is named after President Nixon's secretary Rosemary Woods and the backwards-leaning stretch which she testified resulted in her erasing eighteen-and-a-half minutes from a key Watergate conversation on the White House tapes.

Mar 9, 2006 | News
Washington, D.C., March 9, 2006 - The Justice Department official who oversaw national security matters from 2000 to 2003 e-mailed his former colleagues after revelation of the controversial warrantless wiretapping program in December 2005 that the Department's justifications for the program were "weak" and had a "slightly after-the-fact quality" to them, and surmised that this reflected "the VP's philosophy that the best defense is a good offense," according to documents released through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center and joined by

Feb 21, 2006 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., February 21, 2006 - The CIA and other federal agencies have secretly reclassified over 55,000 pages of records taken from the open shelves at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), according to a report published today on the World Wide Web by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

Jan 27, 2006 | News
Links Previously released PDBs Court documents Declassified CIA documents on presidential briefings Previous Postings 19 January 2006 CIA Secrecy Challenged on President's Daily Brief UC Davis Professor Appeals Lower Court Decision Withholding Two 40-Year-Old Memos to LBJ 15 July 2005 Judge Grants Immortality to Presidential Privilege Withholds Two 1960s CIA Daily Briefs to LBJ Despite Release of 35 Others With No Damage to U.S. 6 May 2005 Bush Administration Claims Presidential Privilege for LBJ Documents CIA Refuses Release of 35-year-old President's Daily Briefs 23 December 2004

Dec 9, 2005 | News
This is the prepared text of the address delivered on December 9, 2005, by Bill Moyers for the 20th anniversary of the National Security Archive, a non-governmental research institute and library at The George Washington University, in Washington D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Collaborating with him on this speech was Michael Winship. They have been colleagues in public broadcasting for over thirty years, including, most recently, on the PBS weekly broadcast NOW with Bill Moyers. Moyers, who retired from the NOW broadcast last December, is the President of the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy

Dec 9, 2005 | News
Washington, D.C., December 9, 2005 - The National Security Archive celebrates its 20th anniversary today with a special event at George Washington University, headlined by Bill Moyers, with Seymour M. Hersh, Tina Rosenberg, Scott Armstrong, Geneva Overholser, Walter B. Slocombe, Morton H. Halperin and Sherry Jones.

Oct 21, 2005 | News
Washington, D.C., October 21, 2005 - U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer has accepted the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) contention that every single word of a 50-page National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq must be kept secret, according to a September 30 Memorandum Opinion in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit brought by the National Security Archive against the CIA. The Archive filed suit after the CIA refused to expedite processing and release of the 2004 Iraq National Intelligence Estimate ("NIE).

Oct 10, 2005 | News
Washington, D.C., October 10, 2005 - The National Security Archive, along with other openness advocates, today filed a "friend of the court" brief with the United States Supreme Court asking the Court to review the summary dismissal, on secrecy grounds, of a lawsuit filed by an FBI whistleblower. The Archive's General Counsel Meredith Fuchs explained: "Potential whistleblowers who work in military, intelligence and law enforcement agencies will almost always come into contact with classified information.

Oct 6, 2005 | News
Washington, D.C., October 6, 2005 - After failing in 2000, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is again seeking an exception from disclosure of vast quantities of important Defense Department records currently available under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The exception would render records that document “the conduct of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence operations” of the DIA Directorate of Human Intelligence (HUMINT) unreachable to the public. The provision currently is included in the Defense Authorization Bill (S. 1042) and the Intelligence Authorization Bill (S.

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