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Tag: FOIA

Judges Consider Releasing Full CIA Torture Report by Senate Intelligence Committee

torture1By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Judges are deciding whether to release full Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA interrogation practices that include torture.

The ACLU is asking two D.C. Circuit appeals court judges to release the 6,963-page report under the Freedom of Information Act, U.S. News & World Report writes. 

An executive summary of the report was released with redactions in 2014, showing how terrorism suspects were subjected to sleep deprivation, waterboarding and a procedure known as rectal feeding.

The ACLU argues that the full report has tremendous public value because it would help ensure the harsh tactics are never again used.

A lower court refused to order the release of the documents.

Other Stories of Interest

GOP Files FOIA Suit Against State Department for Access to Clinton E-Mails

GOP elephantBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Republican National Committee has filed two lawsuits against the federal government in hopes of accessing Hillary Clinton’s e-mails and text messages when she was secretary of state.

The GOP requested access to the records in Freedom of Information Act requests filed last year but so far has received no documents, Fox News reports. 

There are no at least 34 civil suits that have been filed for access to the records.

“For too long the State Department has undermined the public and the media’s legitimate right to records under the Freedom of Information Act, and it’s time it complies with the law,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.

The FBI is investigating whether Clinton used her private e-mail server to pass on sensitive information.

Clinton continues to say that she never sent or received information that was considered classified.

On Wednesday, Republican senators also asked for more information involving the investigation.

Watchdog Group Sues CIA for Access to Osama bin Laden’s Porn Stash

Osama bin LadenBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A conservative watchdog group is suing the CIA for access to Osama bin Laden’s porn stash that was found in his Pakistan compound in 2011.

Judicial Watch argued in a lawsuit that the CIA should be forced to turn over the pornography collection as part of a Freedom of Information request filed last year, The Washington Times reports. 

The porn stash was found by the Navy SEALS when they raided the hideout and killed bin Laden.

The June 15 requested asked the CIA for copies of “All pornographic material collected during and/or after the U.S. military operation in Abbotabad, Pakistan on or about May 1, 2011 that killed Osama bin Laden,” along with an index cataloging the items recovered.

Judicial Watch said the CIA has failed to turn over copies of the collection.

“Plaintiff is being irreparably harmed by reason of Defendant’s unlawful withholding of records responsive to Plaintiff’s FOIA request, and Plaintiff will continue to be irreparably harmed unless Defendant is compelled to conform their conduct to the requirements of the law,” Judicial Watch wrote in this week’s filing.

Judge Orders Justice Department to Quit Stalling on Releasing Hillary Clinton E-mails

Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_cropBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A federal judge wants to know why the Justice Department has been delayed in producing the remaining 3,700 e-mails from Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state, CBS News reports. 

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras gave the Justice Department one day to explain why the Justice Department can’t produce the e-mails by Feb. 18.

The judge said the e-mails must be released at the end of the month as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed for the electronic communications.

The issue is unrelated to an FBI investigation to determine whether any laws were broken when Clinton used a private server to send and receive e-mails.

It was divulged less than two weeks ago that the State Department said investigators found 22 “top secret” e-mails.

Other Stories of Interest

CIA Refuses to Discuss Large Art Collection inside Its Headquarters

CIA Headquarters

CIA Headquarters

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The CIA isn’t exactly open about its operations for obvious reasons.

But the intelligence agency has another secret – a large collection of art inside its headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

CNN reports that an Oregon artist has been trying to finding out what paintings are on the walls of the fortified building for seven years, but she hasn’t been able to get any answers.

“My interest in the project began in 2008,” 42-year-old Joby Barron told CNN via e-mail. “I came across a Taryn Simon photograph from her series ‘American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar.’ The photo was of two abstract paintings in the CIA headquarters in Langley, VA. I was instantly intrigued — why did the CIA have these pieces? I wondered what other art they might have and if it was available to the public.”

What Barron knows is that an art-collected named Vincent Melzac offered to loan his collection to the CIA during secret discussions.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Demands Photo ID for Public Records Under New eFOIA Platform

fbi-logBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI launched a new online tool for Freedom of Information Act requests, but critics argue the disclosure requests have been made more difficult, Fed Scoop reports.

At issue are new conditions for requesting records, which include submitting a copy of a government-issued photo ID.

When the FBI launched their new eFOIA platform Monday, the bureau said the process of obtaining records would be streamlined.

Fed Scoop wrote:

However, listed in the terms are some new stipulations that have government transparency groups crying foul. For the FBI to consider a request, a photo of a government-issued ID has to be included with the request so that, according to the bureau, the FBI can be “confident in the identity of the requester.”

The bureau “just made that [requirement] up out of thin air,” Steven Aftergood, the director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy, told FedScoop. “The new FBI terms of service exceed what the law requires and allows.”

The ID requirement goes well beyond the directions listed in the Justice Department’s FOIA guide. That guide, even for filings that require a confirmation of identity — such as a request for the requestor’s own FBI file — states that a notarized declaration by the requestor is sufficient.

“The FOIA itself makes clear that it can be used by ‘any person’ who invokes its provisions,” Aftergood said. “One doesn’t even need to be a U.S. citizen. So there is no basis for the FBI to require a government-issued ID.”

Researcher Sues FBI for Long-Withheld Records About Ex-First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt/Wikimedia

Eleanor Roosevelt/Wikimedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A lot of secrecy still shrouds the FBI’s past obsession with former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

AllGov.com reports that the FBI has refused to disclose records detailing her trip to the Soviet Union in 1957 and 1958.

Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover believed Roosevelt was a Communist sympathizer.

Now a researcher with George Washington University is suing the FBI for the records under the Freedom of Information Act.

The files contain “charges against her for suspected Communist activities, threats to her life on the grounds of her disloyalty to the country, close monitoring of her activities and writings, and a record of possible insurrectionary groups that she may have influenced.”

Senators Work on Legislation to Require FBI to Disclose ‘All’ Records to Watchdogs

Sen. Grassley

Sen. Grassley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Inspectors general are the watchdogs of federal agencies like the FBI, but they have been stymied by a bureau that has declined to turn over critical records during investigations.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Wednesday that the FBI is obligated to follow the law as he works on legislation that would require the bureau to cooperate with IGs, The Daily Caller reports. 

The legislation, which would ensure IGs have the right to access all federal records, comes after the FBI has delayed disclosing records of wiretaps and grand juries and occasionally even filtered the records.

“I think we need a more permanent solution, one that ensures IGs have access to the records they need to do their job, and I will work closely with Sen. Grassley to craft a legislative solution,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who is the committee’s ranking minority member.