Two editions of the President’s Daily Brief (PDB) dating from the Johnson Administration may be withheld from disclosure by the CIA, a federal appeals court ruled last week (pdf).
The court deferred to a CIA argument that despite their age, the 40 year old records could compromise protected intelligence methods.
However, the court rejected a CIA claim that the PDB is itself an intelligence method that is inherently exempt from disclosure. As a result, each decision to withhold a particular PDB must be independently justified.
The records were sought by political scientist Larry Berman, who was represented by the San Francisco law firm Davis Wright Tremaine and the National Security Archive.
In explaining its decision, the appeals court suggested that CIA had too much legal authority to withhold information from the public.
The court noted its view that the Agency’s authority to withhold is so expansive that it “might be contrary to congressional intent,” and the judges recalled that in a 1992 decision (Hunt v. CIA), “we have invited Congress to ‘take the necessary legislative action to rectify’ that disparity.”
“Congress, however, has to date left the NSA [National Security Act] materially unaltered and so we must continue to afford the CIA broad deference.”
A copy of the September 4 appeals court ruling in Larry Berman v. Central Intelligence Agency is here.
See also “CIA briefs kept sealed: Court rules against UC Davis professor” by Sharon Stello, Davis Enterprise, September 5.
To empower new voices to start their career in nuclear weapons studies, the Federation of American Scientists launched the New Voices on Nuclear Weapons Fellowship. Here’s what our inaugural cohort accomplished.
Common frameworks for evaluating proposals leave this utility function implicit, often evaluating aspects of risk, uncertainty, and potential value independently and qualitatively.
The FAS Nuclear Notebook is one of the most widely sourced reference materials worldwide for reliable information about the status of nuclear weapons and has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987. The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by the staff of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project: Director Hans […]
According to the National Center for Education Statistics’ August 2023 pulse panel, 60% of public schools were utilizing a “community school” or “wraparound services model” at the start of this school year—up from 45% last year.