Truthout has this article on a lawsuit filed by the National Security Counselors ("NSC") against the CIA over the CIA's fee structure for the processing of Mandatory Declassification Reviews ("MDR"). MDRs are an alternate avenue from the FOIA to having classified material reviewed.
NSC, with my permission, made a request for information about requests I had filed with the CIA, and I therefore, make a cameo appearance in the lawsuit at paragraph 114.
The Department of Justice has announced that it will hold a Sunshine Week event on March 12, 2012 to commerate the third anniversary of Attorney General Holder's FOIA Guidelines. The public is invited.
In a perfect world, the Attorney General would announce on that day that he is appointing a Special Assistant Deputy Attorney General to monitor agencies and make sure that they and the litigating branches of the Department of Justice follow his soon to be three year old guidelines.
I think the key is the issue of whether or not there is a privacy interest in the mug shots and just how big it is. The Sixth Circuit says there is no privacy interest, the Tenth and Eleventh say there is. Tulsa World argued that since many states, including Oklahoma, released mug shots they should be released at the federal level -- I believe this could be taken one step farther. Since many states (and the Sixth Circuit) release mug shot photos, there is no expectation of privacy when they are taken. A mug shot photo taken outside of the Sixth Circuit could be released via FOIA if that photo is requested by someone with possible jurisdiction in the Sixth Circuit.
There are still a number of Circuits that have not ruled on the mug shot photos, so the issue is alive and well
The Tenth Circuit has agreed with the recent decision of the Eleventh Circuit in finding that mug shots taken by the U.S. Marshals Service are exempt from disclosure pursuant to the FOIA. The Sixth Circuit has ruled that mug shots are not exempt under the FOIA and must be released. The Supreme Court recently decided not to hear the Eleventh Circuit's decision.
Fresh off of their win of the Rosemary Wood's award, the Department of Justice is claiming that their overall backlog numbers are down for fiscal year 2011 and that the number of requests in which they released records in full or in part is up for the year. The chart released by DOJ is a cumulative for the agency and does not break down requests component by component.
The National Security Archive has awarded it's 2012 Rosemary Woods award for worst performance in open government to the Department of Justice, partially for its ignoring and failing to implement AG Holder and President Obama's FOIA Policies.
I've long advocated a non-career person who is over the bureacrats at DOJ (and other agencies) that's sole purpose is to implement FOIA transparency. Maybe this award will give this idea some traction.