FOI DAILY DOSE: Gov report verifies Drake’s NSA claims, metadata ruling repealed

The government released a classified Pentagon report from 2004 that supports National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake’s claims of waste and abuse within the department.

Drake pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in June after various news outlets published stories questioning the Justice Department’s decision to level felony charges against him. He was indicted after he leaked information on the NSA’s problems to a Baltimore Sun reporter.

The report from the Defense Department Inspector General was prompted by complaints about NSA troubles from Drake and other employees, according to a Washington Post article.

It upholds Drake’s claim that the NSA was wasting money on a program called Trailblazer when another more effective program had already been developed.

As a result, Trailblazer sucked more than $1 billion out of the government budget and was abandoned in 2006 due to technical programs and its hefty cost.

The Project on Government Oversight obtained the classified report through a FOIA request and released it Wednesday (heavily redacted, of course).

Court repeals FOI metadata opinion

A New York federal district court repealed its February opinion that declared that metadata – any information for an electronic document that deals with the record’s management or history – must be included in public records.

The opinion was issued in the National Day Laborer Organizing Network v. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency case, which was settled June 17.

It was the first federal court opinion addressing the issue of how FOIA rules apply to metadata, according to a Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press article.

– Morgan Watkins

Morgan Watkins is SPJ’s summer Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern and a University of Florida student. Reach her by email ( or connect with her on Twitter (@morganwatkins26).


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