This Week’s FOIA Round-Up: Trump’s pre-inauguration military briefings revealed, the Supreme Court hears a key FOIA case, and records reveal Baltimore PD has destroyed far more rape kits than reported
In this week’s FOIA roundup, a records request reveals what then-President-elect Donald Trump was briefed on by military officials in 2016, a South Dakota newspaper battles supermarket industry lobbyists at the Supreme Court over federal food stamps data, and new documents expose Baltimore County Police Department underreported the number of rape kits they destroyed by hundreds.
Practically synonymous with high-altitude espionage, the Lockheed U-2 spy plane played an almost legendary role in the Central Intelligence Agency’s activities during the Cold War. Notoriously difficult to pilot and physically demanding (flights of over ten hours at over 70,000 feet were not uncommon), and a formerly TOP SECRET manual uncovered in the Agency archives outlines a strict regimen to keep pilots fit and healthy. Unsurprisingly, the manual touches upon the necessity of maintaining a proper diet, but somewhat surprisingly, the purpose of this proper diet is focused on “obviating the need for frequent defecation.”
In other words, keeping pilots from soiling their flightsuit.
A 1951 letter to the Central Intelligence Agency from a former spymaster warned of Russian infiltration in North America’s northern territories. Despite being described by the CIA’s cover letter as discussing the Soviet threat to Alaska and Canada “in very general terms,” its information and warning were considered important enough to send to J. Edgar Hoover in a package marked SECRET, and it remained classified until late 2018 - 67 years after it was written.
The federal government is currently looking to house thousands of migrant children and families in new locations, including military bases and, potentially, new facilities to be managed by private corporations already heavily-involved in the American detention system.
While President Donald Trump’s announcement earlier this year regarding the possible establishment of a “Space Force,” FOIA shows that not everyone in his own administration is so keen on the idea. In a series of recently released emails from last year, Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson made clear her opposition to the establishment of a semi-autonomous “Space Corps,” insisting that it be the USAF in charge of militarizing the cosmos.