CIA Charging the Public Outrageous Fees for the Opportunity to Question Secrecy

On 23 September 2011, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), with no notice or public comment, decreed that the public will now have to pay outrageous fees to have Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) requests processed. The fees, which can run requesters up to $72 per hour — even if no information is found or released — and the requirement that requesters pay a minimum of $15 in duplication fees, effectively cut off access to a system that researchers, historians, public interest advocates and others have used successfully to challenge the CIA's extreme secrecy.

Unlike FOIA requests, if an agency fails to declassify and release the information under the MDR process, requesters can appeal the agency's decision to the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP) for independent review. According to the US Information Security Oversight Office, ISCAP officials have overruled agency classification decisions more than 65 percent of the time since 1996.

The regulation can still be withdrawn. We are working with our partners at the National Security Archive to convince the CIA to reverse its actions. Join the effort today by signing our petition, and sharing it with your networks.

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