The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and a group of media figures (including WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange) filed a petition to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals to publicly release to the proceedings in the case against alleged Wikileaks leaker Private Bradley Manning. The Obama administration has claimed that the documents that Manning leaked threaten US national security, but the CCR does not find the answer satisfying. Shayana Kadidal, CCR’s senior managing attorney, has stated that the administration is purposely withholding information to “kill off media interest.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was forced, in response to a FOIA request filed by Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), to release a list of words that it uses to monitor the internet. While the list that the DHS released had obvious words like “bomb,” there were some words, such as “mudslide,” “cloud,” or “pork,” that raised a few eyebrows. Although this list helps the public understand what the government is monitoring for, it does not explain how the government monitors search engines and social media.
Irish Information Commissioner O’Reilly released her annual report urging the Irish government to expand the Freedom of Information Act, which was created in 1997. Amendments to the Freedom of Information Act in 2003 reduced the number of state agencies that could be accessed, and O’ Reilly stated that she would be concerned if there was no new legislation by the following year that expanded the act to include the original amount of agencies.
Journalist Jason Leopold posted on truth-out.org a disturbing series of events that occured in his quest to discover the truth behind the brother of terrorist Abu Zubaydah, Hesham Abu Zubaydah. Early last year, Leopold found out that Hesham lived in the US, so he asked Hesham to meet to share his story. Hesham agreed, and after hearing about his difficulties, Leopold put in a FOIA request with the FBI for Hesham’s entire file. Last August, an FBI agent named Tidwell came to Hesham’s house and started questioning him about his and Leopold’s intentions for the FOIA request. Tidwell dropped hints that the FBI did not want his personal file released and would be willing to give him his citizenship if he dropped it, but Hesham refused the bargain. Kathleen Wright, an FBI spokesman, stated that the visit was routine, but when Leopold asked some open government experts, they informed him that the discussion between Tidwell and Hesham was quite abnormal. Leopold filed a FOIA request for the notes and documents about the meeting between Hesham and Tidwell, and Leopold received three pages of redacted notes. Later, the FBI sent a letter to Leopold stating that the bureau has “located approximately 1,200 pages which are potentially responsive” to Leopold’s request. Leopold has yet to post the second part of his story on truth-out.org.