Monday, May 26, 2014

CIA's reply to Privacy Act request for Information held by CIA on me

Having been put off by the DOJ initially for almost a year regarding a case with respect to which I assume the claim is that it wasn't investigated, after filing a request based on the Privacy Act, I received the following official correspondence from the above mentioned agencies.

Apparently the sole means of possibly bring the CIA to account by having their actions subject to scrutiny is through the judicial system, by an in camera examination of the documents by a judge in a court of law where a formal complaint has been filed against the CIA. 

That is to say, it is impossible to obtain or even receive acknowledgment from the CIA that they have documents on you that they shouldn't have because they very fact that they might (i.e., read "do, in fact have such documents") is classified. These would seem to be clear signs that a dysfunctional US government is resorting to use of its espionage services in order to pursue illegitimate interests, even if it means taking illegal actions and against individual citizens living abroad in a country that is a part of some illegitimate espionage operation targeting civil society in national with which the US in on good terms.

Note that the crux of the response lies in the following passage:

With respect to responsive records that would reveal a classified connection to the CIA, in accordance with section 3.6(a) of Executive Order 13526, as amended, the CIA can neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of records responsive to your request. The fact of the existence or nonexistence of requested records is currently and properly classified and relates to intelligence sources and methods information that is protected from disclosure by section 6 of the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949, as amended, and section 102A(i)(l) of the National Security Act of 1947, as amended. Therefore, you may consider this portion of the response a denial of your request pursuant to FOIA exemptions (b)(l) and (b)(3), and PA exemptions G)(l) and (k)(l).

The cited exceptions are:
(j)(l) exempts from disclosure certain information maintained by the Central Intelligence

(k)(l) exempts from disclosure information properly classified, pursuant to an Executive Order;

One can see the inherent problems with such a loophole, as it provides the CIA a screen from being subject to public scrutiny, going so far as to deny access to individual America citizens abroad with respect to whom the CIA has no right to investigate (unless they are suspected of "international terrorism").

There are other ramifications of such desperate legal contortions, and I can think of at least two at present: firstly, the system is akin to the establishment of something like the so-called Star Chambers of 15-16th century England, in which absolutely no exposure of the malfeasance of high ranking official could be brought about publically through the judicial process; and secondly, the administration of President Barack Obama (he signed "Executive order 13526" in December 2009).

According to Section 104A of the National Security Act of 1947

(d) RESPONSIBILITIES.—The Director of the Central Intelligence
Agency shall—
collect intelligence through human sources and by other appropriate means, except that the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency shall have no police, subpoena, or law enforcement powers or internal security functions

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