CIA Denies Email Release Until Person Requesting Them Can Figure Out Unknowable Details


CIA Office Seal

Larry Downing/REUTERS

If you want to uncover some of the secrets inside the CIA, you basically need to already know what they are when you put in your request for records, according to TechDirt.


This interesting Catch-22 stems from a request under the Freedom of Information Act from Michael Morisy of the website MuckRock, who had asked for emails related to technical issues the agency was having with its online FOIA website.

While I've personally had my share of agency non-responses - "we cannot confirm or deny" the existence of such a record - what Morisy got back was circular reasoning at its worst:

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"We require requesters seeking any form of 'electronic communications' such as emails, to provide the specific 'to' and 'from' recipients, time frame and subject. We note that you have provided the subject only. Therefore, we must decline your request," the CIA's final response reads, dated July 10.

I could explain how crazy it is to need that level of detail, but this Twitter user summed it up in under 140 characters: