MuckRock, a transparency journalism site that helps people submit public information requests to US government agencies, today revealed it is suing the CIA under the Freedom of Information Act.
But the Central Intelligence Agency has a track record of holding itself apart from, and largely above, the Freedom of Information Act, consistently ignoring deadlines, refusing to work with requesters, and capriciously rejecting even routine requests for what should be clearly public information.
We hope to change that. Specifically, we are suing over a number of specific requests:
- CADRE Database regarding FOIA, Privacy Act, and MDR, which would provide three months of insight into how the CIA decides to reject or process requests.
- FOIA Request No. F-2010-00600, similar to the above, except for records demonstrating how the CIA processed over 100 records responsive to a single request which it ultimately decided to withhold in full.
- Classification Management and Collaboration Group Regulatory Issuance, which includes the CIA's regulatory guidelines (i.e., what the agency can and cannot do), which have been released in part many times but never in whole, and usually when outdated.
- Classification Management Tools User Manual, which would provide important insight into how the CIA determines what is and isn't releasable, and would help craft requests that properly protect national security while still allowing public oversight.
- Internet Service Provider Data Gathering Objections, which is looking for the non-classified complaints from service providers (which are now quite publicly protesting against mass surveillance) to the CIA.
- CIO-IMS-STAFF Mailing List Records 1/1/13-3/31/13, which would provide information regarding directives on how the CIA’s FOIA staff has been directed to handle FOIA requests by its executive management.
- CREST Anonymous Data Usage and Select CREST Footage, which would provide information regarding the CIA's technically public, but in practice largely inaccessible, CREST database.
Additionally, we are suing against the CIA's general practice of rejecting requests for email records which do not include the time frame, subject, and to and from fields, regardless of what other information is including to help narrow the request. This practice replaces the required functional test for whether or not a request reasonably describes the records sought with a per se test that automatically rejects any request for email records based on whether or not it includes all four pieces of information, virtually ensuring that vast amounts of CIA email records go unprocessed and unreleased.
"Why we're suing the CIA" [muckrock.com]