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FOIA Shows How CIA Broke Down “Some of the Popular Terms of Today’s Homosexual Society”: FRINFORMSUM: 4/27/2017

April 27, 2017

The CIA’s Homosexual Investigations

In 1980, the same year the Democratic Party endorsed a gay-rights platform, the CIA issued a three-page memo on how to “ferret out” homosexuals during investigations, possibly for blackmail. MuckRock recently published the memo as part of a post of the CIA’s cringe-worthy (and insulting) practices and assumptions about the LGBT community. The memo notes that gay men have a penchant for PO boxes and reserve their “preferably foreign” car for the weekend (the memo makes no mention of lesbians or other sexual minorities). The document also labels “gay,” “straight” and “bi” as “gay passwords.” The same document also has a section entitled, “What is a Homo?” Perhaps it goes without saying that the CIA’s official view – before being sued in 1982 – was that “the homosexual has a problem.”

The text of the memo is published in Harper’s Magazine May 2017 edition, in its “Queer Theory” section.

DOJ Defends Agriculture Dept. Sidestepping Disclosure Rules

USDA animal welfare reports no longer public. Photo by Michael S. Williamson, The Washington Post, Getty Images.

On February 3, 2017, the Agriculture Department yanked from its website voluminous databases on animal abuse that it had previously provided without the public needing to file a FOIA request. Agriculture citied privacy concerns for the opaque move, which was condemned by animal rights activists from National Geographic to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Aside from the privacy concern argument being bogus (because, in theory, anyone could publish the exact same information – albeit after a long FOIA requesting process – after filing a FOIA), it also likely runs afoul of the FOIA and the Federal Records Act.

The Justice Department’s Peter Bryce recently argued in court filings, however, that the Agriculture Department had no obligation to post animal abuse data on the department website in advance of FOIA requests, noting that, “Perversely, plaintiffs seem to suggest that such routine, proactive posting of records should itself trigger a mandatory legal obligation…thereby making such proactive disclosures legally obligatory (and, according to plaintiffs, irrevocable) once the records are posted to the agency website.”

Bryce is misrepresenting the statute. The FOIA clearly states (5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2)) that agencies are required to identify records, “that because of the nature of their subject matter… have become or are likely to become the subject of subsequent requests for substantially the same records,” and make them available in electronic format – in other words, post them on their website. This is why, prior to the Trump administration, the Agriculture Department had been following the clear language of the law and posting the databases that were widely used by the public.

The strong language in the FOIA is reinforced by the Federal Records Act (44 USC 3102), which states that each federal agency must have a records management program that establishes “procedures for identifying records of general interest or use to the public that are appropriate for public disclosure, and for posting such records in a publicly accessible electronic format.”

The animal abuse data fits the FOIA and FRA requirements and should be proactively posted once more by the Agriculture Department.

United Airlines Audio Released

Judicial Watch, through the FOIA, has obtained audio recording from “the city of Chicago of emergency workers and Department of Aviation police officers communicating about a disturbance on United Flight 3411 at O’Hare International Airport on April 9, 2017.” The Washington Post recently posted it online. The airline and the Department of Aviation have faced questions and blistering criticism about their policies after video emerged of Dr. David Dao being forcibly and traumatically removed from a flight earlier this month.

Fannie, Freddie, and FOIA

H.R. 1694 seeks to subject Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to the FOIA. The bill, introduced by Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), would direct both organizations to accept and process FOIA requests, but “would only apply to the mortgage giants while they are under federal conservatorship, and the administration could be already looking at plans for GSE reform. The Mortgage Bankers Association recently released its roadmap to GSE reform that breaks down what it sees as the best option for reform.”

IRS Pays for Dark Web Scour

A FOIA request to the IRS – recently published on Motherboard – shows that the tax agency paid $65,000 to the intelligence firm Flashpoint, “a company focused on extracting intelligence from hard-to-reach areas of the internet inhabited by cybercriminals.” The IRS specifically paid for Flashpoint’s platform and API. The IRS isn’t the first to pay for Flashpoint’s services; a previous Motherboard report shows Immigration and Customs Enforcement paid $150,000 for its products. Motherboard’s Joseph Cox says these Flashpoint contracts “ highlight that an increasing number of agencies are paying so-called threat intelligence firms in exchange for information, and Flashpoint in particular.”


The Justice Department’s Office of Information Policy (OIP) is seeking feedback and participants for the development of the National FOIA Portal – a project that will be built in collaboration with the General Service Administration’s (GSA) 18f. According to its website, “OIP and 18F will focus on user research and discovery of issues necessary to inform future development. If you’re interested in joining the effort and providing feedback throughout the process, please email us at sends e-mail) by April 28, 2017.”

Newly Declassified FOIA Document Discusses 2016 Obama Order to Fight ISIS in Cyberspace

A FOIA request from the National Security Archive has won the release of the May 5, 2016, order to establish a joint task force – Joint Task Force Ares – to counter ISIS in cyberspace. Ares was assigned the mission of developing malware and other cyber-tools in order to escalate operations to damage and destroy ISIS networks, computers, and mobile phones. The document, released to the Archive by U.S. Strategic Command, sheds more light on the unit that was the subject of Washington Post reporting in July 2016.

This document is one of 12 new additions posted in the National Security Archive’s Cyber Vault on Wednesday, April 26.

The New Chiquita Papers: Secret Testimony and Internal Records Identify Banana Executives who Bankrolled Terror in Colombia

Ten years ago, Chiquita Brands International became the first U.S.-based corporation convicted of violating a U.S. law against funding an international terrorist group—the paramilitary United Self-defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). But punishment for the crime was reserved only for the corporate entity, while the names of the individual company officials who engineered the payments have since remained hidden behind a wall of impunity.

As Colombian authorities now prepare to prosecute business executives for funding groups responsible for major atrocities during Colombia’s decades-old conflict, a new set of Chiquita Papers, made possible through the National Security Archive’s FOIA lawsuit, has for the first time made it possible to know the identities and understand the roles of the individual Chiquita executives who approved and oversaw years of payments to groups responsible for countless human rights violations in Colombia.

This posting features the first in a series of articles published jointly by the National Security Archive and Verdad Abierta highlighting new revelations from the Chiquita Papers, identifying the people behind the payments, and examining how the Papers can help to clarify lingering questions about the case.

CIA memo for the record describing a September 15, 1970, meeting between Agustin Edwards Eastman and CIA Director Richard Helms in Washington, D.C.

Agustin Edwards: A Declassified Obituary

Media mogul Agustin Edwards Eastman, who was widely regarded as the Rupert Murdoch of Chile, died on April 24, at age 89, leaving a legacy of close collaboration with Henry Kissinger and the CIA in instigating and supporting the September 11, 1973, military coup.  Edwards was the only Chilean—civilian or military—known to meet face-to-face with CIA Director Richard Helms in September 1970 in connection with plans to instigate regime change against Socialist leader Salvador Allende, who had just been elected president.

Declassified CIA and White House documents posted by the National Security Archive show conclusively what Edwards repeatedly denied – that he and his newspaper, El Mercurio, became a critical part of U.S. plans to foment a military coup against President Allende.

TBT – Bush Administration’s First Memo on al-Qaeda Declassified

This week’s #TBT pick is a posting on the first terrorism strategy paper of the Bush administration – a January 25, 2001 memo on al-Qaeda from counterterrorism coordinator Richard Clarke to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. Clarke’s memo “urgently” requested a high-level National Security Council review on al-Qaeda and included two attachments: a declassified December 2000 “Strategy for Eliminating the Threat from the Jihadist Networks of al-Qida: Status and Prospects” and the September 1998 “Pol-Mil Plan for al-Qida,” the so-called Delenda Plan, which remains classified.

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