Derek Mead

What’s the best way to follow up here? I think an appeal would be great; they won’t respond probably, but I think this is great fodder for a story about Glomar in general.

George LeVines

The best strategy here is to somehow prove that the agency has already acknowledged the existence of what you’re looking for. 

A good resource might be the the Reporter’s Committee for the Freedom of the Press and their bit on Glomar responses (

Derek Mead

Hey George, the only confirmation of both the Romanian prison and the vacuum cleaner I can find are multiple former officials speaking with the AP. How does this sound for an appeal note?

I’d like to appeal the CIA’s Glomar response in this request, as the existence of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s vacuum cleaner designs was confirmed by a former CIA official to the Associated Press, and the detention during which Mohammed produced those designs was also confirmed by multiple officials to the AP. (See:

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2009 that an agency “loses its ability to provide a Glomar response when the existence or nonexistence of the particular records covered by the Glomar response” has been acknowledged by officials. 

In this case, the CIA is unable to credibly deny the existence of such records, a fact upon which I base my appeal of the Glomar decision in this request.

Shawn Musgrave


That appeal language looks good!


Please sign up for an account and file a request to answer a question