FOI DAILY DOSE: Army whistleblower hits gov with FOIA lawsuit, Rumsfeld releases new docs revealing secrecy views
By Morgan Watkins | July 19th, 2011
Whistleblower sues for info on Army investigation
Army Lt. Col. Michael Holmes, who opposed what he felt were illegal actions while serving in Afghanistan, has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit with fellow solider Laural Levine to gain the release of an Army investigation’s results.
The investigation was launched in response to a Rolling Stone article that detailed how Holmes had spoken out against an Army general’s alleged orders for information operations specialists to employ “psychological operations” on congressional representatives visiting Afghanistan.
These operations are generally used on insurgents, according to the Project on Government Oversight.
Holmes enlisted the help of a military lawyer to ensure that the activities he was to take part in were modified because he felt they would otherwise have been illegal for him to perform.
He and Levine worked closely together in Afghanistan and felt they were later subjected to an Army investigation in retaliation.
For more details on Holmes’ story, check out the Rolling Stone article.
Rumsfeld releases 2005 memos revealing his rhetoric on secrecy
In a November 2005 memorandum then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said the system of government secrecy was, quite frankly, a failure.
He wrote that the government was unable to keep a secret and that policies should reflect that fact.
Another Rumsfeld memo from August 2005 raised the idea of reducing the amount of information that is classified – a goal that is being evaluated by the Obama-ordered Fundamental Classification Guidance Review.
While these memos don’t appear to have had any major effect on policy, they do raise interesting points about government secrecy. The documents were posted on Rumsfeld’s website on July 12 with more than 500 other memos that had been previously undisclosed.
For commentary on the memos and their implications, read this Secrecy News blog post.
– Morgan Watkins
Morgan Watkins is SPJ’s summer Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern and a University of Florida student. Reach her by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or connect with her on Twitter (@morganwatkins26).