Classified records

Federal court upholds classification of treaty materials sought under FOIA

Aaron Mackey | Freedom of Information | News | June 7, 2013
June 7, 2013

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the government could withhold a document under the Freedom of Information Act on national security grounds, saying that a lower court improperly second-guessed an agency’s decision when it ordered the document’s release.

NYT v. DOJ, No. 13-422

April 22, 2013

The New York Times Company and the American Civil Liberties Union sought records under the federal Freedom of Information Act detailing the U.S. government’s policies for when it can conduct drone strikes and when it can kill a U.S. citizen. In particular, the Times and the ACLU sought memos prepared by the Office of Legal Counsel, which provides legal advice to the President. After the government refused to release the records, the Times and the ACLU sued.

Federal courts have power to review classification decisions, government brief confirms

Monika Fidler | Freedom of Information | News | November 28, 2012
November 28, 2012

Government attorneys confirmed on Tuesday that federal courts have the right under the federal Freedom of Information Act to review agency decisions to classify documents when invoking the law's national security exemption.

Government argues FOIA would provide sufficient access to Manning court-martial documents

Emily Miller | Newsgathering | News | July 10, 2012
July 10, 2012

The federal government asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces on Monday to become the third court to deny the public access to military court documents in the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning. The government’s argument: the Freedom of Information Act is the proper method to obtain the materials.

Government says it will not seek testimony of journalists in Kiriakou prosecution

Emily Miller | Reporter's Privilege | News | July 9, 2012
July 9, 2012

The U.S. government announced it will not subpoena journalists as witnesses in the prosecution of a former intelligence officer who allegedly leaked classified information.

Judge denies request for bin Laden death photos and video

Rachel Bunn | Freedom of Information | News | April 27, 2012
April 27, 2012

A federal judge in Washington, D.C. has denied a request to order the U.S. government to publicly release photographs and video under the federal Freedom of Information Act of the U.S. military raid that killed Osama bin Laden last May.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg accepted the CIA’s assertion that release of any photos and video of the body of Osama bin Laden – former leader al-Qaeda – would pose a major threat to national security, and that he would not overturn the agency’s decision to classify the records.

Fourth Circuit to close portions of oral argument in Sterling case to the public

Andrea Papagianis | Newsgathering | News | April 19, 2012
April 19, 2012

Classified portions of oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va. (4th Cir.) will be closed to the public in the government's case against ex-CIA official Jeffrey Sterling, who is charged with violating the Espionage Act for disclosing classified information. Only arguments pertaining to the subpoena of New York Times reporter James Risen will be heard in open court.

U.S. files unopposed motion to seal parts of oral argument in Sterling, Risen appeals

Chris Healy | Reporter's Privilege | News | April 10, 2012
April 10, 2012

Department of Justice attorneys have filed an unopposed motion to close to the public parts of the upcoming oral argument concerning the Espionage Act prosecution of former CIA analyst Jeffrey Sterling and the related subpoena of New York Times reporter James Risen.

Group proposes accountability for overclassification

J.C. Derrick | Freedom of Information | Feature | October 5, 2011
October 5, 2011

The Brennan Center for Justice released a report today on government overclassification, and proposed a pilot program for the federal government that calls for accountability when employees improperly classify documents.

Drake takes plea deal in leak case

Clara Hogan | Secret Courts | Feature | June 10, 2011
June 10, 2011

Former National Security Agency official Thomas Drake pleaded guilty to a dramatically lower charge on Friday – the 10 felony charges against him were thrown-out -- in the highly publicized leak case that was set to go to trial Monday in the U.S. District Court in Baltimore.