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FRINFORMSUM: 6/23/2011

June 27, 2011

From left, Peter Kornbluh, Joyce Battle, Malcolm Byrne and Tom Blanton of the National Security Archive. (By Kevin Clark -- The Washington Post)

National Security Archive Senior Analyst Peter Kornbluh was profiled this week for his work on the Cuba Documentation Project. In addition to his past work on document collections of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Peter Kornbluh continues collecting, studying, and publishing documents on Cuba and Chile and advocating “us[ing] history to make history…to push toward a different future.”

Attorneys for the New York Times reporter who received information from accused CIA leaker Jeffrey Sterling have asked a court to withdraw a subpoena. The subpoena would require reporter James Risen to testify in the Sterling case. In an affidavit submitted by Mr. Risen, he claimed that “any testimony I were to provide to the Government would compromise to a significant degree my ability to continue reporting as well as the ability of other journalists to do so.” He also claims that he and other journalists that “expose excessive government secrecy, illegality, or malfeasance” are the targets of government intimidation.

The Project on Government Openness has obtained a redacted version of the Pentagon Inspector General report associated with the complaints leveled by National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake. Even though the case against Mr. Drake fell apart, the report appears to vindicate Mr. Drake’s allegations against the NSA. The IG report found that “the National Security Agency is inefficiently using resources to develop a digital network exploitation system that is not capable of fully exploiting the digital network intelligence available.”

At the end of May, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed a Freedom of Information bill into law. The FOI law is a major departure from the previous Official Secrets Act which made it illegal for civil servants to give out government information and for anyone to receive or reproduce that information. Implementation of the new law in Nigeria, a nation plagued with a recent history of human rights violations and widespread corruption, could prove to be difficult.

In another victory for international freedom of information, a “concerned citizen” in Leicester, U.K. has exposed the inadequacy of the city council’s emergency contingency plans. The Leicester City Council admitted that the city’s emergency plan lacked any specific reference or provision to deal with a potential zombie invasion. However, Lynn Wyeth, head of information governance, said that some elements of the city emergency plan could be applied in the event of an undead uprising.

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