Skip to content

Category Archives: Secrecy: FOIA

Lawfare’s Digest of Declassified Documents from CIA’s In-House Intelligence Journal

By
Friday, October 3, 2014 at 3:15 PM

A few weeks back, in response to a FOIA request, the Central Intelligence Agency made public a trove of documents from Studies in Intelligence, the agency’s in-house intelligence publication. The FOIA-released materials have since been folded over into a larger compendium of declassified material—which Lawfare (in the persons of Taj Moore, Jodie Liu, Clara Spera, and Michael Knapp) has . . .
Read more »

CA2 Affirms SDNY Denial of FOIA Suit for Al-Qahtani Photos

By
Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 11:41 AM

That seems to be the sum and substance of the Second Circuit’s ruling today.  The 3-judge panel’s decision opens: Appellant Center for Constitutional Rights seeks disclosure by the government, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), of certain videos and photographs of a high profile Guantanamo Bay detainee, Mohammed al‐Qahtani, who is believed to be the so‐called “20th hijacker” . . .
Read more »

February 2010 OLC Opinion on the Al-Aulaqi Strike and the CIA

By
Friday, August 15, 2014 at 9:41 PM

Here it is. The seven-page, heavily redacted legal analysis was apparently released earlier today, as a consequence of the FOIA action brought by the New York Times and the ACLU.  

FOIA Improvement Act of 2014

By
Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 4:30 PM

The FOIA Improvement Act of 2014 (S.2520) (“FIA”) sets out to make various tweaks to a key federal access to information statute, the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). Below, I overview some of the most significant changes the bill would make, and comment on just how dramatic those would be relative to existing law and . . .
Read more »

New FOIA Bill

By
Friday, July 11, 2014 at 3:13 PM

I’m hearing that the Senate Judiciary Committee is getting ready to consider S.2520, which contains a series of amendments to the Freedom of Information Act. I haven’t studied the bill yet, but it appears to limit existing FOIA exemptions in several new ways. We’ll report more when we figure out exactly what it would do.

A Clue About the Origins of “Imminence” in the OLC Memo?

By
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 10:37 AM

There’s a lot to discuss about the OLC memo on the al-Aulaqi strike—including, as Ben mentioned yesterday, the origins and significance of “imminence.”  (There’s also excellent analysis over at Just Security, which I recommend to interested readers.) Throughout the OLC memo’s 41 pages, the much-scrutinized term appears several times, often as part of a phrase: “continued and . . .
Read more »

Snowden Correspondence with NSA OGC [UPDATED]

By
Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 3:45 PM

The ODNI Tumblr site today posted April 2013 e-mail correspondence between Edward Snowden and the NSA’s Office of General Counsel—the only such correspondence NSA says it has found. UPDATE [9:30 p.m.]: Snowden has responded to the release this evening—in a Washington Post interview—and called the release “incomplete.”  See below the fold.     The reason for the release is obvious: debate . . .
Read more »

On the New ODNI Media Guidelines

By
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 10:00 AM

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence last week publicly released a new Intelligence Community Directive (ICD 119) establishing policies for contacts between the media and personnel inside the intelligence community.  ICD 119 received round criticism from the press and advocacy groups for setting up a presumption that only a few senior officials can . . .
Read more »

Second Circuit Orders Release of Al Awlaki Memo

By
Monday, April 21, 2014 at 11:35 AM

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has reversed a lower court opinion and ordered the government to release key portions of the legal memos that lie behind the targeted killing of Anwar Al Awlaki. Here’s the opinion, which I have not yet read, by a unanimous three-judge panel. Here’s coverage from the . . .
Read more »

NYU School of Law Event: “‘The Snowden Operation’: A Victory for Privacy Rights or for Russia?”

By
Friday, March 14, 2014 at 11:04 AM

  NYU School of Law hosted a debate yesterday between Edward Lucas, Senior Editor of The Economist and author of The Snowden Operation: Inside the West’s Greatest Intelligence Disaster—which Ben reviewed last month—and Stephen Holmes, Professor at NYU Law. The event was moderated by Ryan Goodman, also of NYU Law. Here is the description of the panel . . .
Read more »

Radiolab on the History of the Glomar Response

By
Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 8:09 PM

This is one of the coolest half hours of national security radio I have heard in a long time. The excellent public radio show Radiolab—and reporter Julia Barton—have put together the story of where the Glomar response comes from. It’s actually a riveting story, one I knew previously only the barest of outlines. Highly recommended . . .
Read more »

D.C. Circuit: OLC Opinion on Exigent Letters Exempted from FOIA

By
Friday, January 3, 2014 at 4:23 PM

Today, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit rejected an important Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) lawsuit brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  The group had sought disclosure of a 2010 Office of Legal Counsel opinion dealing with the FBI’s use of national security letters in the wake of 9/11. The OLC opinion was prompted . . .
Read more »

Another FISA Document Dump from ODNI

By
Monday, November 18, 2013 at 11:44 PM

This latest set of declassified documents is related to programs authorized by Sections 501 and 702 of FISA. The materials include, writes DNI James Clapper on the Tumblr: 20 orders and opinions of the Foreign Surveillance Court, 11 pleadings and other documents submitted to the Court, 24 documents provided to Congress, and 20 reports, training slides, . . .
Read more »

CIA Files Reply Memo in Drone FOIA Case

By
Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 9:07 PM

The CIA’s efforts to deny the ACLU’s FOIA requests for records about the Agency’s involvement in drone-based targeted killings continue apace in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Agency filed a reply memorandum in favor of summary judgment  on the matter in D.D.C. on November 1. Lawfare readers may recall the March . . .
Read more »

Additional NSA Declassified Documents on 215 Collection

By
Monday, October 28, 2013 at 10:25 PM

I have not read these yet but will do so over the next few days and offer thoughts and summaries as I do. DNI James Clapper issued this statement along with the document release: In June of this year, President Obama directed me to declassify and make public as much information as possible about certain . . .
Read more »

Update in NYT v. Department of Justice

By
Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 3:49 PM

Here is a quick update in New York Times v. Department of Justice.  That’s the Second Circuit case regarding the DOJ’s responses to Freedom of Information Act requests, filed by the New York Times and American Civil Liberties Union and seeking documents relating to the government’s targeted killing program. At oral argument, Judge José Cabranes had ordered . . .
Read more »

D.C. District Court Orders Expanded CIA FOIA Disclosures

By
Sunday, October 6, 2013 at 5:00 PM

A little-noticed district court opinion has expanded—at least at the margins—the universe of national security materials subject to FOIA requests. We missed this opinion when it came out back in August, and noticed it only when Steve Aftergood at Secrecy News flagged it on September 23. Apologies for our tardiness. It’s actually an important decision. Plaintiff National Security . . .
Read more »

Oral Argument Recap: NYT & ACLU v. United States

By
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 6:18 AM

Tuesday’s oral argument in the New York Times and American Civil Liberties Union’s Freedom of Information Act cases before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals spent as much time clarifying the basic issues at play as it did digging into the substantive questions in the case. As noted in our preview post, the Times and . . .
Read more »

Interesting Letter from CA2 Panel in FOIA Case

By
Monday, September 30, 2013 at 6:02 PM

Just one thing to add to Matt’s preview of tomorrow’s big FOIA argument in the Second Circuit.  A few weeks ago the Second Circuit sent the parties this intriguing letter: Dear Counsel: The panel in the captioned case directs that the Government make available to each member of the panel, for prompt in camera inspection under appropriate security precautions, (1) the . . .
Read more »

Oral Argument Preview: NYT & ACLU v. United States

By
Monday, September 30, 2013 at 11:55 AM

A three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals will convene tomorrow afternoon to hear arguments in a case challenging the government’s ability to withhold records pertaining to its targeted killing program. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the New York Times are challenging the District Court for the Southern District of New . . .
Read more »