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High court won’t review archives case

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  1. Freedom of Information
From the Spring 2000 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 27.

From the Spring 2000 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 27.

If federal agencies retain copies of paper records they can continue to destroy electronic copies, after the U.S. Supreme Court in early March decided not to review an August 1999 ruling by the U. S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. (D.C. Cir.). The appellate ruling upheld a 1995 National Archives and Records Administration instruction from archivist John Carlin to federal agency record managers. (See NM&L Fall, 1999)

Attorneys for three public interest groups — Public Citizen, the American Library Association and the American Historical Association — sued the archivist in 1997 saying that agencies needed to retain the unique value of electronic records. A federal District Court judge ruled against the archivist in1997 but his decision was overturned by the appeals panel. (Public Citizen v. Carlin)

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FBI must release more Lennon records

The latest decision in the Freedom of Information litigation begun by University of California-Irvine professor Jon Wiener in the mid-1980s for records the FBI had collected on the late John Lennon was issued by a federal magistrate judge in Los Angeles in late February. He ordered the agency to provide two letters and notes from a telephone conversation about the Beatles singer. (See NM&L, Fall 1991)

The FBI had claimed that the ten withheld pages had been withheld at the request of a foreign government and that release would jeopardize national security. Wiener’s litigation has led to release of hundreds of pages of documents on Lennon, many of which are published in “Gimme Some Truth: the John Lennon FBI Files.” (Wiener v. FBI)