CIA Took Three Years To Reject FOIA Request For Criteria For Rejecting FOIA Requests

from the glomar-glomar-glomar dept

Curious about what criteria the CIA have for determining if they "can neither confirm nor deny" something? So did Jason Smathers, who back in 2010 filed one of MuckRock's earliest requests for exactly that. Six years later, he still doesn't know.

Smathers first filed in October 2010 - to the agency's credit, they only took a mere two months to get back to him.

Which was followed by two and a half years of radio silence. A follow-up in June of 2013 was finally responded to with reassurances that the request was still processing ... which apparently served as a reminder to the agency to finally send the rejection letter collecting dust in the corner.

Ultimately, the CIA cites no fewer than three separate exemptions, including what appears to be a "Schrödinger's b(5)," all for what should be some basic FOIA processing manuals.

How do we know that? Well silver lining/insult to injury, Smathers filed the same request with the NSA, and though they too took three years to process it, they actually delivered.

But you know what they say - one agency's basic documentation is another agency's matter of national security. Not to mention a FOIA requester's complete waste of time.

Republished from Muckrock.com

Filed Under: cia, criteria, foia, transparency


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  • icon
    timmaguire42 (profile), 30 Sep 2016 @ 11:14am

    All public documents should be posted online as a matter of course. FOIA "requests" should be a simple matter of going to the database and formulating the right search string.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 30 Sep 2016 @ 11:36am

    Unambiguously

    I am quite certain that the request, as simple as it might seem to you or me, confounded the hell out of the CIA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 30 Sep 2016 @ 11:56am

    Have fun..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 30 Sep 2016 @ 12:11pm

    "Curious about what criteria the CIA have for determining if they "can neither confirm nor deny" something?"

    Nope. They flip a coin, heads they win, tails you lose and they always call heads.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2016 @ 12:39pm

    Glomar on mind control? (see page 3)

    They can neither confirm nor deny that they are using mind-control, implants, or experiments on me?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Skeeter, 30 Sep 2016 @ 1:55pm

    Unclassified but still Redacted

    That's hilarious, because in the end, one terrifically funny part was left off. The NSA-FOIA 'conditions' document, 22-pages, while it 'sounds good' that they provided it, if you notice on page 1 they have it marked 'unclassified', yet what do they start doing on page 2? IT'S REDACTED! (and it gets worse through the document as you go on).

    The paradox, the sheer oxymoron of the FOIA terms of release of documents being sent out REDACTED says it all about the intelligence community.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2016 @ 2:05pm

      Re: Unclassified but still Redacted

      Good point

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 30 Sep 2016 @ 2:29pm

      Re: Unclassified but still Redacted

      Working as intended!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Skeeter, 30 Sep 2016 @ 3:36pm

        Re: Re: Unclassified but still Redacted

        You're as funny as them, sure 'Uncle-NSA' doesn't sign your paycheck?

        Seriously, for those 'not familiar with the classification system', there is (or at least 'was') no directive, whatsoever, for redaction of documents that have not underwent purvue for the 'classification' process. I'm sure in our paradoxical nation (where we are now scared of our own shadow, meanwhile the other hand offers to give money and highly classified material to other nations 'as a sign of good will'), this makes perfect logic - however, in reality, it's kinda like teaching something to bark, before you validate that it's a dog. About as humorous, too.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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