Last week the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) sent a brief reply to the National Security Archive saying that, as the outrageous Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) regulations the CIA put in place with no notice for public comment are currently a matter of litigation, all correspondence on the issue will be referred to the counsel of record at the Department of Justice.
Several organizations and individuals joined in protesting the regulations because they put in place outrageous fees for the opportunity to challenge secrecy claims. The fees — which can run requesters up to $72 per hour even if no information is found or released — 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. The CIA's MDR regulations are one of several issues raised in a class action lawsuit on behalf of frequent MDR requesters filed by Kel McClanahan, Executive Director of National Security Counselors (NSC). Nothing prevents the CIA from simply withdrawing the regulation as requested.