Timber Sycamore, Training and Arms Provision Program (Central Intelligence Agency)

Jefferson Morley filed this request with the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America.
Tracking #

F-2019-00966

2019-00966

Multi Request Timber Sycamore, Training and Arms Provision Program
Due Feb. 22, 2019
Est. Completion April 13, 2020
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

From: Jefferson Morley

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

All records related to Timber Sycamore, code name for a CIA program in Syria, launched in 2012 or 2013 and phased out in 2017.
The existence of Timber Sycamore was reported in the New York Times in 2016
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/27/world/middleeast/cia-arms-for-syrian-rebels-supplied-black-market-officials-say.html

All communications about Timber Sycamore with the multinational Military Operations Command (MOC) in Amman, Jordan.

All communications with Tayser Al Sharif, aka Abu Malik, a Jordanian businessman. Mr. Sharif's died in April 2016, according to press reports.
https://www.thenational.ae/world/death-of-a-syrian-arms-salesman-1.144999

All records related to the assessment of Timber Sycamore by your agency's Office of the Inspector General

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Jefferson Morley

From: Central Intelligence Agency

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: Central Intelligence Agency

The request has been rejected, with the agency stating that it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of the requested documents.

From: Jefferson Morley

Dear CIA FOIA

"I am appealing the Glomar rejection in its entirety, as the agency is not entitled to refuse to confirm or deny publicly known and acknowledged events that have happened and were referenced in the following articles:

Timber Sycamore was reported in the New York Times in January 2016
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/24/world/middleeast/us-relies-heavily-on-saudi-money-to-support-syrian-rebels.html?module=inline

The article quotes "current and former administration officials" saying "the Saudis contribute both weapons and large sums of money, and the C.I.A takes the lead in training the rebels on AK-47 assault rifles and tank-destroying missiles."

The existence of Timber Sycamore was reported again in June 2016
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/27/world/middleeast/cia-arms-for-syrian-rebels-supplied-black-market-officials-say.html

The demise of the program was reported by the Washington Post in July 2017.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/what-the-demise-of-the-cias-anti-assad-program-means/2017/07/20/f6467240-6d87-11e7-b9e2-2056e768a7e5_story.html?utm_term=.2ccc4fbbebfa

The Post article provides details about the program.

"Run from secret operations centers in Turkey and Jordan, the program pumped many hundreds of millions of dollars to many dozens of militia groups. One knowledgeable official estimates that the CIA-backed fighters may have killed or wounded 100,000 Syrian soldiers and their allies over the past four years. "

The program was reported a fourth time, with another mention of Timber Sycamore, in August 2017
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/02/world/middleeast/cia-syria-rebel-arm-train-trump.html

The article states:
During a White House briefing early last month, the C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo, recommended to President Trump that he shut down a four-year-old effort to arm and train Syrian rebels. The president swiftly ended the program.

All of these articles could not have been published without confirmation from CIA officials.

As a matter of law, the Agency is prohibited from refusing to confirm or deny the existence of records relating to things it has already explicitly
and publicly confirmed. These articles show that the agency has confirmed the name of the program, the budget, the scope, the participants, and the results.

Please search your files again for documents responsive to a request for all Timber Sycamore records.

Thanks you for your consideration

Jefferson Morley.

From: Central Intelligence Agency

A letter stating that the request appeal has been received and is being processed.

From: Central Intelligence Agency

An interim response, stating the request has been delayed

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