A National Security Agency history of intelligence activities during the Cold War has been further declassified. For the first time, the names of a few of the people who were on a watch list operated by the NSA have not been withheld. The history also contains various details that are exceptionally relevant to the debate around US intelligence and privacy that former NSA contractor Edward Snowden ignited.
|By: Kevin Gosztola Thursday September 26, 2013 9:30 am|
|By: brasch Sunday May 26, 2013 5:20 pm|
David M. Jacobson wanted a transcript of a public hearing conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), May 2.
All Jacobson had to do was drive the 25 miles from his home in Lewisburg to the Williamsport regional office between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
|By: Kevin Gosztola Tuesday April 30, 2013 10:20 am|
The Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Monday that Virginia did not have to grant access to public records in the state to non-residents of Virginia under the state’s freedom of information law.
The decision, according to SCOTUSblog, did not break any new ground. It did not “rely upon any sweeping new legal declaration, but simply on the purpose that the Court found behind Virginia’s law.”
|By: Kevin Gosztola Friday April 12, 2013 12:26 pm|
An alliance of nonprofit organizations committed to promoting freedom of thought and free expression has been challenging a decision by Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to ban Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel, Persepolis. It has also sought more information on what led to the decision by filing Freedom of Information Act requests.
|By: Kevin Gosztola Wednesday April 3, 2013 1:05 pm|
A federal appeals court in Washington, DC, rebuffed a clear attempt by the United States Justice Department to further pervert the Freedom of Information Act process.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sued the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on May 24, 2011, when it failed to produce documents on individuals at the FEC, who CREW believed were refusing to enforce campaign finance laws. The lawsuit challenged the withholding of the documents and also the Justice Department’s interpretation of a rule in freedom of information law that requires agencies to communicate a “determination” on whether it will comply with the FOIA request within 20 working days.
|By: Kevin Gosztola Thursday March 28, 2013 4:00 pm|
A Web-based electronic docket is setup for public comments on the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline before the State Department makes the final decision on whether to approve the project. But, the comments themselves are not going to be available online for the public to access and read, according to John Smith of Inside Climate News.
|By: Kevin Gosztola Wednesday March 27, 2013 12:10 pm|
One week before John Brennan assumed office as CIA director, a woman was put in charge of the CIA’s clandestine service. It was the first time in the history of the agency that a female officer was running the agency. But, according to the Washington Post, the officer was one of two CIA officers, who signed off on the destruction of torture tapes in 2005.
The Post reports the woman served in a senior position at the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center after the September 11th attacks. She was in the chain of command for the Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program (RDI).
The CIA recorded brutal interrogations of prisoners with a video camera in a secret prison in Thailand. Over ninety tapes were ultimately recorded.
|By: Kevin Gosztola Tuesday March 26, 2013 5:10 pm|
According to the lawsuit filed on March 15, Rosenberg “stressed that these records were ‘time sensitive’ and were sought in order to produce a report on a ‘breaking story [that] has generated wide public interest.’ Moreover, Plaintiff stressed the importance of reporting on this matter quickly so that the public can engage with their newly-elected government on the underlying policy issues involved.” She requested expedited processing.
The Pentagon had twenty days to respond to her request under freedom of information law. Yet, between December 31 and February 5, the Pentagon failed to respond to her request and claimed no exemptions under FOIA to withhold the requested records.
|By: Kevin Gosztola Friday March 15, 2013 1:01 pm|
The administration of President Barack Obama, when boasting about Obama’s record on openness and transparency, regularly cites how it is now releasing White House visitor logs. It has been an “achievement” the administration explicitly mentions during Sunshine Week, a week where journalists and open government advocates celebrate transparency in government.
|By: Kevin Gosztola Friday March 15, 2013 12:18 pm|
A federal appeals court has ruled the CIA cannot continue to deny in court that it has no “intelligence interest” in drones strikes carried out by the United States government. The appeals court’s ruling reversed a lower court decision, which found the CIA did not have to acknowledge it had any records on drone strikes.
The ruling by the United States District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia came in a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to force the release of government records on the use of drones for targeted killings.