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The CIA as editor

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  1. Freedom of Information
From the Summer 2006 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 23. What is "newsworthy" according to the…

From the Summer 2006 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 23.

What is “newsworthy” according to the CIA? A March 17, 1999, Archive request for intelligence estimates on Chinese nuclear weapons programs from 1959 to 1963 was deemed newsworthy enough by the CIA to waive news media search fees. But a request less than two weeks later on March 30, 1999, for 1971 intelligence bulletins on India-Pakistan military developments, Pakistan-China diplomacy, and China-Pakistan aid didn’t make the “news” grade under the agency’s current formula.

Here are other examples of the CIA’s responses to the Archive’s FOIA requests:

Granted news status: A Nov. 9, 2005, request for documents related to the potential impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on illegal migration of Mexican citizens to the U.S.

Denied news status: An Oct. 20, 2005, request for documents related to the Jan. 8, 1993, meeting between President Clinton and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari about NAFTA.

Granted news status: An Aug. 25, 2005, request for documents related to the March 28, 1981, hijacking of an Indonesian DC-9 jetliner by Muslim extremists.

Denied news status: An Oct. 12, 2005, request for documents related to Muslim extremist activities in Indonesia between October 1976 and June 1977.

Granted news status: A June 6, 2005, request for documents related to violence and riots in the Jakarta port city of Tanjung Priok on Sept. 12, 1984.

Denied news status: A Dec. 5, 2005, request for documents related to riots in Ujung Pandang, Indonesia, in November 1987.

Granted news status: A Nov. 15, 2004, request for documents related to Soviet actions from Nov. 26 to Dec. 24, 1979, in preparing to invade Afghanistan.

Denied news status: An Oct.27, 2005, request for documents related to the Sept. 14, 1979, and Dec. 19, 1979, CIA “Alert” memo relating to Afghanistan and the Soviet invasion. — CZ