The Central Intelligence Agency conducted a review of its "operational files" last year, as it is required to do every ten years under the CIA Information Act of 1984, to see if any such files could have their "operational" designation rescinded, making them subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.
But instead of removing any files from operational status, as contemplated by the 1984 Act, the CIA added nearly two dozen new categories of files that will now be exempt from search and review under the FOIA, according to a newly disclosed report to Congress.
Remarkably, the CIA report to Congress misstated the requirements of the 1984 law. The CIA told Congress that:
"The CIA Information Act... required that not less than once every ten years, the DCI review the operational files exemptions then in force to determine whether such exemptions could be removed from any category of exempted files or portion of those files, and whether any new categories of files should be designated as exempt."Only the first half of that sentence is true. The statute that governs these reviews -- 50 U.S.C. 432 -- refers only to the removal of the operational file exemption based on "historical value or other public interest." It says nothing about adding new designations.