CIA: No, you may NOT FOIA our Intranet Home Page

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Have you ever wondered what the average CIA employee sees when the come into work and log into their computer? I was curious about this, so I sent the CIA a FOIA request for a screen shot of the agency’s intranet home page. I’d like to provide a report on the status of my request.

The Request

My FOIA request to the CIA:

May 23, 2014

Information and Privacy Coordinator
Central Intelligence Agency
Washington, D.C. 20505

Dear Coordinator,

Under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. subsection 552, I am requesting the following records:

  • A screenshot of the CIA intranet home page.

If there are any fees for searching for, reviewing, or copying the records, please notify me before processing if the amount exceeds $10.00.

I am seeking this information for personal use.

If you deny all or any part of this request, please cite each specific exemption you think justifies your refusal to release the information and notify me of appeal procedures available under the law.

If you have any questions about handling this request, you may telephone me at …

Thanks for your time and attention.

The acknowledgment

The CIA sent a written acknowledgment of my FOIA request on June 25, 2014. My FOIA request has reference number F-2014-01696.

The Denial

The CIA responded to my FOIA request on July 9, 2014, denying it in full. Here is the CIA’s response:

9 July 2014

Reference: F-2014-01696

Dear Mr. Revilak:

This is a final response to your 23 May 2014 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for a screenshot of the CIA intranet home page. We processed your request in accordance with the FOIA, 5 U.S.C. Sec 552, as amended, and the CIA Information Act, 50 U.S.C. Sec 431. as amended. Our processing included a search for records as described in our 25 June 2014 acceptance letter.

We completed a thorough search for records responsive to your request and located material which we determined must be denied in its entirety on the basis of FOIA exemption (b)(3). Exemption (b)(3) pertains to information exempt from disclosure by statute. The relevant statutes are Section 6 of the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949, 50 U.S.C. Sec 403g, as amended, and Section 102A(i)(1) of the National Security Act of 1947, as amended. A copy of the explanation of exemptions is enclosed. As the CIA Information and Privacy Coordinator, I am the CIA official responsible for this determination. You have the right to appeal this response to the Agency Release Panel, in my care, within 45 days from the date of this letter. Please include the basis of your appeal.

Sincerely,

Michele Meeks
Information and Privacy Coordinator

In short, I got (b)(3)’d.

The CIA’s denial is based on two statutes: 50 USC Sec 403g, and Section 102A(i)(1) of the National Security Act of 1947.

According to Cornell’s Law Library, 50 USC Sec 403g was editorially reclassified as 50 USC Sec 3507, which states:

In the interests of the security of the foreign intelligence activities of the United States and in order further to implement section 403-1(i) of this title that the Director of National Intelligence shall be responsible for protecting intelligence sources and methods from unauthorized disclosure, the Agency shall be exempted from the provisions of sections 1 and 2 of the Act of August 28, 1935 (49 Stat. 956, 957; 5 U.S.C. 654), and the provisions of any other law which require the publication or disclosure of the organization, functions, names, official titles, salaries, or numbers of personnel employed by the Agency: Provided, That in furtherance of this section, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall make no reports to the Congress in connection with the Agency under section 607 of the Act of June 30, 1945, as amended (5 U.S.C. 947(b)).

Section 102A(i)(1) of the National Security Act of 1947 states:

(i) PROTECTION OF INTELLIGENCE SOURCES AND METHODS.–(1) The Director of National Intelligence shall protect intelligence sources and methods from unauthorized disclosure.

I didn’t request human resources information from the CIA, nor did I request information about CIA intelligence sources and methods. I’m planning to file an appeal.

Primary Source Documents

For those that like primary source documents, you can find them here: FOIA Request for CIA Intranet Home Page.

If you’re interested in filing a FOIA request for “Administrative records related to FOIA Reference F-2014-01696”, I encourage you to do so. Let me know what you find.

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