As we kick off what will hopefully be a very transparent Sunshine Week 2018, we want to take a moment to reflect on one of the more absurd finds in the Central Intelligence Agency’s declassified archive so far, and how the work the #OpenGov community can find itself part of the public record.
To Kill a MOCKINGBIRD: Recently released records dispel old myths surrounding CIA program targeting journalists
A review of a file released to MuckRock on Project MOCKINGBIRD sheds new light on a Central Intelligence Agency program of domestic surveillance that targeted a pair of journalists. In the process, it dispels old myths, highlights and clarifies an error in CIA’s Family Jewels and an omission in the Rockefeller Commission’s Report. The file also reveals that the CIA’s surveillance of the journalists resulted in recording phone conversations with members of Congress - possibly including the Speaker of the House.
A series of declassified Central Intelligence Agency memos describe part of the Agency’s investigation into Jack Anderson (of whom the CIA was never a fan), and his sources and methods (which included unethical practices such as homophobic surveillance, blackmail and lying about his sources) - specifically his apparent use of hundreds of stolen Agency documents. The memos even call for a Congressional investigation into Anderson and whether or not he was part of “a deliberate disinformation campaign.”
Sometimes just one FOIA request can change how we think about everything - and sometimes it takes a whole fleet of requests. Whether you’re a veteran public records guru or someone just starting to get interested in government transparency, here’s some creative uses of public records we’ve seen and tips you can use.