FAS Asks Court to Compel NRO Compliance with FOIA

12.19.06 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The Federation of American Scientists yesterday asked (pdf) a federal court to enforce a court order directing the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to process a Freedom of Information Act request for unclassified budget information after the NRO said it had “decided” not to do so.

In a July 24, 2006 order, D.C. District Judge Reggie B. Walton rejected an NRO claim that the requested budget information was an “operational” file that is exempt from the FOIA. He ordered the agency to process the request.

On September 20, the NRO filed notice that it would appeal that ruling.

Last month, the agency said that in light of the pending appeal it had “decided not to produce the document(s) in question.”

By law, however, the NRO is not entitled to make such a decision. Rather, it must request and receive a stay of the court order, which it failed to do.

In a December 18 motion in the case, Aftergood v. National Reconnaissance Office, we asked Judge Walton to enforce his July 24 order.