Occupy Crackdown: CIA plays new version of "I Won't Tell You."

  • December 20, 2011
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The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is refusing to process a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that would reveal what role, if any, the agency has played in law enforcement’s coordinated, nationwide campaign to shut down and evict Occupy movement encampments in cities throughout the country.

The FOIA demand for records was filed by the Washington D.C.-based civil rights legal organization, the Partnership for Civil Justice (PCJF).

The language used by the agency to announce its refusal to process the FOIA request concerning its role in the crackdown on the Occupy movement is “a classic case of CIA-double speak,” according to the attorneys at the PCJF.

The CIA is not specifically denying that it has records and documents that would reveal its role in the coordinated crackdown that evicted the encampments in major cities within a short period of time. Rather, the agency asserts that it won’t look for such records and documents.

"The CIA is apparently asserting that because its involvement in law enforcement's crackdown of the Occupy movement would be barred by law, it is not possible for the CIA to conduct an effective search for information responsive to our inquiry into its role in the operation," stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the PCJF. “In other words,” she continued, “because the actions would be illegal, they would also be off the books.”

Far from claiming it does not possess responsive records, the CIA stated in its letter to Ms. Verheyden-Hilliard that because such activities would be barred by law, "our records systems are not configured in a way that would allow us to perform a search reasonably calculated to lead to responsive records. Therefore, we must decline to process your request."

The PCJF has demanded that the CIA reconsider its request and is prepared to take legal action as necessary to force the agency to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act. This denial comes on the heels of a series of Associated Press articles revealing the CIA’s involvement with the NYPD.

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) has filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the National Park Service (NPS) requesting that the agencies release information that they possess related to the involvement of federal agencies in the planning of a coordinated law enforcement crackdown that has taken places in multiple cities against the Occupy Movement. These requests are also on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee.

The FOIA to the various federal law enforcement agencies states: “This request specifically encompasses disclosure of any documents or information pertaining to federal coordination of, or advice or consultation regarding, the police response to the Occupy movement, protests or encampments.”

Read the FOIA demand to the federal agencies (PDF).

Read the CIA's response (PDF).

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