National Security Counselors Calls on Congress to Weigh in on OGIS Authorities

Kel McClanahan of National Security Counselors sent a letter to Congressional officials urging them to weigh in on unsettled issues regarding the respective responsibilities and authorities of the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) and the Office of Information Policy (OIP) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). OGIS was created by Congress in 2007 to serve as a mediator of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) disputes and to recommend changes to Congress and the President to improve FOIA processing. As noted in the letter, several actions by DOJ in the last few years have been viewed by many as attempts to undermine OGIS' authority. The letter was prompted by DOJ's recent claim, made while acting as attorney for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in a FOIA lawsuit brought by Kel against the CIA, that OGIS “just performs mediations” (see Exhibit C of the letter).