Monday, April 17, 2006

your right to (not have to) know:

from the AP: Nat'l Archives vowed silence on CIA papers:

The National Archives promised to avoid drawing "unnecessary public attention" to its efforts to remove declassified CIA documents from public view after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, according to a once-secret agreement with the spy agency.

The agreement was made public Monday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by The Associated Press. It provided new details on the efforts of the nation's chief historical repository to hide the fact that U.S. intelligence was secretly trying to reclassify approximately 55,500 pages of previously public documents.
Documents released last week to AP showed the Archives had agreed to refuse to disclose that the Air Force, the CIA
and another intelligence agency* had made the original request to remove the documents. The CIA agreement released Monday was not included in the documents made public last week...
The agreement with the CIA was dated
October 2001 and set the mold for a second similarly worded secret agreement with the Air Force just months later. The disclosure of the secret dealings between the archives and the spy agencies has prompted a public outcry, including from historians concerned that pieces of history were being secretly reclassified with no accountability.

Archivist Allen Weinstein said he didn't learn until last Thursday that
a second classified agreement had been signed by the archives, and he requested its immediate release. "There can never be a classified aspect to our mission," Weinstein said, promising that future agreements won't be kept secret...

[RANDY HERSCHAFT, ap writer]

Of course, this reminds me of this: 17 year old FOIA request still being processed,

Ten oldest FOIA requests in the federal government(Waco Tribune/Cox News Service):

Sunday, March 12, 2006

WASHINGTON - The National Security Archive at George Washington University on Monday (March 13) will release findings of an audit of the federal government's response to Freedom of Information Act requests. Below, according to the audit, are the ten oldest FOIA requests pending in the federal government.

March 23, 1989 -William Aceves, then a graduate student at the University of Southern California, filed four requests with defense agencies about the government's Freedom of Navigation Program. The requests have been pending for 17 years. Aceves is now a professor at California Western School of Law.

November 22, 1989 -The Post Standard newspaper in Syracuse, N.Y., asked the CIA for records pertaining to the bombing of Pan American Flight 103 and terrorist threats at the Frankfurt Airport.

May 29, 1987 (not received by the CIA until 1990) - The National Security Archive asked the CIA for documents relating to the case of Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. naval intelligence officer convicted of spying on behalf of Israel. It was held without processing for three years because of litigation over fees charged for handling the request.

March 3, 1988 (not received by the Defense Department until 1990) - Author Jeffrey Richelson filed a request with the National Security Council for copies of five specific Presidential Review Memoranda. The NSC sent it to the Defense Department in 1990.

January 2-3, 1990 - William Burr, a senior fellow at National Security Archive, filed two requests to the Air Force for information about the Berlin crisis in 1958 and 1959.

March 9, 1990 - William Burr filed a request to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for specific Joint Chiefs of Staff documents relating to Berlin in 1959-1962.

July 16, 1990 - The Natural Resources Defense Council filed a request asking the Energy Department to provide documents related to the "Radiological Warfare Study Group" established in February 1948 by the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project as well as documents related to a panel on radiological warfare that met in 1948.

January 31, 1987 (not received by the Defense Department until 1991) - James D. Sanders, a private citizen, initially submitted this request to the National Security Council asking for documents related to U.S. prisoners of war in Laos, China, Vietnam and the Soviet Union. It is now pending at the Department of Defense because it took the NSC four years to send it to the Defense Department.

January 7, 1991 -Jeffrey Richelson submitted a request to the CIA asking for a copy of the CIA response to "NSDD 112." National Security Decision Directive 112 is about documents captured by U.S. forces in Grenada.

February 25, 1991 -Windels, Marx, Davies & Ives, a New York-based law firm, submitted a request to the CIA seeking information about Pan American Flight 103 and intelligence relating to terrorist attacks on Frankfurt, Heathrow or Gatwick airports.

SOURCE: National Security Archive, an independent research institute and library based in Washington. The audit is limited to 64 agencies that handle more than 97 percent of all FOIA requests received.

addendum: I vaguely recall that dealt with some of this beforehand, but can't find the exact link.

*what "other agency?" Emphases mine- JV