Secrecy and FOIA
Archive and openness advocates urge court scrutiny of government secrecy claims; Amicus brief argues against deference in warrantless wiretapping caseMay 3, 2007 | News br>
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.
Apr 16, 2007 | News br>
Washington DC, April 16, 2007 - Yesterday, Fox News Sunday featured a segment with Chris Wallace interviewing Archive director Tom Blanton. Secret documents featured on the Fox News Sunday show include: Mullah Omar calls Washington two days after the cruise missiles hit Osama bin Ladin’s camps in 1998. The Iraq war plans briefed to President Bush in PowerPoint slides assumed there would be only 5,000 U.S. troops left in Iraq by now. The Nixon and Elvis file, including Elvis’s handwritten letter. The CIA wires a cat to be a mobile microphone – Project Acoustic Kitty.
Mar 22, 2007 | News br>
Washington DC, March 22, 2007 - At a hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment on "Over-classification and Pseudo-classification: The Impact on Information Sharing," Archive General Counsel Meredith Fuchs testified Thursday that serious overuse of pseudo-classification markings persists. "We are long overdue for solving the challenges of information sharing and overcoming the strain on government accountability brought about by excessive secrecy," she said.
Mar 16, 2007 | News, Rosemary Award br>
Washington D.C., 16 March 2007 - The U.S. Air Force today won the third annual Rosemary Award, which recognizes the worst Freedom of Information Act performance by a federal agency. Given annually by the Emmy-and George Polk Award-winning National Security Archive, the Rosemary 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. Today’s Rosemary Award citation quotes the U.S.
Mar 14, 2007 | News br>
Washington DC, March 14, 2007 - National Security Archive General Counsel Meredith Fuchs today testified before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary in support of a FOIA reform bill introduced yesterday by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). The OPEN Government Act of 2007 is “critical for improving the functioning of FOIA,” according to Ms. Fuchs’s statement. Ms.
Mar 13, 2007 | News br>
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 br>
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 br>
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 br>
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 br>
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.