Director of National Intelligence largely spared post-Snowden FOIA flood

Director of National Intelligence largely spared post-Snowden FOIA flood

ODNI receives just 10 requests compared to the 3,000+ sent to the NSA

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Edited by Beryl Lipton

In the months immediately following the Snowden leaks of classified documents, the National Security Agency saw its FOIA caseload increase by 1,054% over 2012. Internal memos indicate that, by comparison, requests to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, barely increased at all following the leaks. Few as they are, though, ODNI is tracking each and every Snowden FOIA request it receives.

ODNI is headed by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who had many calling for his resignation last March after his “least untruthful” testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on the NSA PRISM surveillance program. A weekly update prepared for Clapper in late August 2013 - the day after David Miranda was detained at London Heathrow Airport for nine hours - highlighted just how few FOIA requests ODNI received following the Snowden leaks: just 10 to the 3,000+ received by the NSA.


As indicated in the comically-redacted update memo, the few FOIAs submitted to ODNI included a request from Jack Gillum of the Associate Press regarding surveillance of Barton Gellman, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras. As MuckRock uncovered by requesting the processing notes from Gillum’s FOIA, ODNI records officers compiled all Snowden-related FOIA requests into one table, “NSA_Snowden Spreadsheet.”

As of October 30, the spreadsheet included only 14 entries. MuckRock has requested an updated copy of the spreadsheet, as well as Clapper’s full weekly updates for the past several months.

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