US Defence Intelligence Agency seeks FOI exemption for operational files

The Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) is lobbying for a new rule to become law in the U.S. which would make it easier for the Pentagon to withhold information on United States military operations from the public. As it stands, the 2006 National Defense Authorization Act will allow "operational files" to be exempt from requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

According to the text of the proposed bill, an "operational file" could be any information related to "the conduct of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence operations or intelligence or security liaison arrangements or information exchanges with foreign governments or their intelligence or security services."

Thomas Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, voiced concerns over the proposals: "[T]hese exemptions … create a black hole into which the bureaucracy can drive just about any kind of information it wants to. And you can bet that Guantánamo, Abu-Ghraib-style information is what DIA and others would want to hide."

Pentagon Seeks Greater Immunity from Freedom of Information Act (The New Standard, 2 January 2006)

Draft text proposed by the Department of Defense for inclusion in the FY 2006 Defense Authorization Act (Federation of American Scientists website)