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Classified Directives Listings Disappear from DOD and JCS Websites

April 18, 2017

A sample of what the Joint Chiefs of Staff used to provide the public.

FOIA requesters who relied on lists of classified directives published by both the Defense Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to know what documents to file FOIA requests for may now be out of luck. In a transparency backslide, both the DOD and JCS websites no longer publish lists of classified directives and instructions, making it impossible to know what to FOIA.

The Defense Department’s “what’s new” listing on its Issuances Website has no notices of classified directives from this year and is (at least) missing instructions from January 2017, even though the site was last updated in April. The Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Directives Library, for its part, now sends members of the public interested in controlled directives to a broken URL; before the change the JCS posted a combined list of all unrestricted, limited, and restricted directives.

The National Security Archive’s Jeff Richelson is one of many scholars who used these lists to file FOIA requests for historically significant documents. Below is a sampling of some of the first pages of classified directives that Dr. Richelson knew existed – and was then able to FOIA – because of their listing on the DOD Issuances page:








Many thanks to Dr. Richelson for bringing this issue to our attention.

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