The CIA’s unreasonable “reasonable description” criteria for FOIA

Agency refuses to search for emails unless to, from, and subject lines are provided

Written by JPat Brown
Edited by Michael Morisy

Last month, MuckRock co-founder Michael Morisy requested emails related to the CIA’s (now apparently fixed) technical issues with their online FOIA portal.    

The request was reject, on grounds that the records weren’t “reasonably described.”

Twitter put it best: “You can’t see any emails or know who sent or received them. But you must request the exact email and who sent and received it.”

While we applaud the CIA for putting aside their fax machine and joining us in the 21st century, it would be even better if they started responding to requests, regardless of how they’re submitted. But that’s a story for another day.  

Read the full rejection embedded below, or on the request page.


Image via CIA’s Flickr