Complaint for Injunctive
and Declaratory Relief
(PDF - 840 KB)
The National Security Archive Fund, Inc. v. The United
States Department of the Air Force, March 18, 2005
(PDF - 139 KB)
Archive General Counsel Testifies
Before Congressional Hearing on "Openness in Government and
Freedom of Information:
Examining the OPEN Government Act of 2005"
Director Testifies Before Congressional Hearing on "Overclassification
March 18, 2005 - The National Security Archive today filed
suit in the United States District Court for the District
of Columbia against the Department of the Air Force for a pattern
and practice of mishandling scores of FOIA requests. The suit alleges
that the Air Force fails to acknowledge FOIA requests, loses FOIA
requests, fails to process requests, tries to discourage the public
from pursuing FOIA requests, fails to respond to inquiries about
the status of the requests and lets requests languish while records
are destroyed or transferred to other agencies.
"There are other agencies with ancient FOIA requests, but
this is the only agency that does not seem to care about the problem.
They have been unresponsive to the FOIA requests, and unresponsive
to our efforts to meet and discuss the problem," said Archive
General Counsel Meredith Fuchs. "We would rather have the records
than have to bring a lawsuit, but in this case there seems to be
no other option." Earlier this week, Senators on the Judiciary
Committee and witnesses at a congressional
hearing on the administration of Freedom of Information Act
decried the backlogs and delays that agencies have failed to conquer
and the hurdles faced by FOIA requesters. "The state of affairs
at the Air Force demonstrates why a stronger 'stick' is needed to
ensure federal agency compliance with FOIA," noted Fuchs.
The Archive's lawsuit
describes in detail the handling of 82 separate FOIA requests and
administrative appeals filed by the Archive as early as 1987. David
Dean, a partner at the law firm James & Hoffman, who is handling
the suit noted, "The Air Force appears to do a far worse job
than other military departments and its system is so decentralized
that there seems to be no way for the public to push for improvement.
No FOIA requester should have to put up with the mishandling, lack
of response or discouragement that the Archive has experienced."
The Archive is a research institute studying foreign, military
and intelligence affairs. In the years that the oldest of the FOIA
requests have been pending, it has obtained more than six million
pages of formerly secret documents and published more than half
a million pages on the Web and other formats, along with more than
40 books. The Archive is represented by David Dean and Katie Feiock
of James & Hoffman, PC, in Washington, D.C.
- October 7, 2005
Motion for Partial Judgement, October 6, 2005
Order of Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Judgement