National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Lawsuit: CIA withholds documents using legal exemption it does not have authority to apply


For the past eight years, the CIA has used an exemption under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that "protects intelligence sources and methods" to justify the withholding of certain records from requesters.

But a federal lawsuit filed against the agency charges that the CIA does not have the authority to deny records under what is known as a (b)(3) exemption unless the agency consulted with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and received specific authorization in each instance it had denied records under that rule, which it apparently has not done.