Public Citizen's Freedom of Information Act Request  to the CIA Demanding Documents about the Bush Administration and the Supposed Declassification of Documents Relating to WMD's 

  April 12, 2006

What Did the President Do and When Did He Do It? Public Citizen Seeks Truth from CIA

Litigation Attorney Scott Nelson has requested documents regarding administration claims that the White House declassified information on weapons of mass destruction prior to leaking to the press by Scooter Libby. Support our work and participate in a historic fact finding on behalf of U.S. citizens.  

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Information and Privacy Coordinator
Central Intelligence Agency
Washington, DC 20505

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request

Dear Sir/Madam:

Request for Records:  Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, and the Central Intelligence Agency’s implementing regulations, 32 C.F.R. Part 1900, I request, on behalf of Public Citizen, the following CIA records:
(1)  The October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on “Iraq’s Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction,” specifically including all portions that President Bush and/or Vice President Cheney declassified and authorized to be disclosed to reporters by I. Lewis Libby in or around early July 2003, prior to the formal declassification and release of portions of the document on or about July 18, 2003;

(2)  All other CIA documents whose contents President Bush and/or Vice President Cheney declassified and authorized to be disclosed to reporters by Mr. Libby in or around July 2003, including without limitation CIA documents concerning Joseph C. Wilson's February 2002 trip to Niger;

(3)  All records that document the declassification of CIA documents accomplished by President Bush and/or Vice President Cheney in or around July 2003 when they authorized Mr. Libby to disclose such documents or their contents to reporters, including without limitation records that document the fact, date, and extent of such declassification.

Request for Expedited Processing:  Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(E) and 32 C.F.R. § 1900.34(c)(2), I request that this FOIA request receive expedited processing.  I hereby certify that there is a compelling need for speedy release of the requested records within the meaning of FOIA and the CIA’s implementing regulations.  Specifically, I certify that the requester, Public Citizen, is primarily engaged in disseminating information.  Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to openness and accountability in government and protecting the rights of consumers and members of the public. Public Citizen disseminates information on these subjects through its website,, through its regular publications, including PC News, through books, databases, reports, statements, and press releases that it disseminates through a variety of media, and through congressional testimony.  Conducting research on matters of public interest and disseminating information concerning them is the predominant activity of Public Citizen. 

I further certify that the information sought in this request is “relevant to a subject of public urgency concerning an actual or alleged Federal government activity.”  32 C.F.R. § 1900.34(c)(2).  The President’s declassification and authorization of the leak of the National Intelligence Estimate and other CIA information by Mr. Libby is a matter of great and immediate public interest in the wake of the revelation by Special Counsel Fitzgerald that Mr. Libby testified that he had received presidential authorization for his disclosures of classified CIA information to reporters.  The subject has, over the past week, received intense press coverage and congressional attention, and has sparked debate over the propriety and advisability of such actions by the President.  Prompt release of the requested information, while the subject remains an urgent focus of public attention, will help contribute to the public’s understanding and evaluation of the events in question.

Fee Waiver Request:  I request that all fees associated with this request be waived in accordance with 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii) and 32 C.F.R. § 1900.13(b)(2), on the ground that this request, in the words of the regulation, “is likely to contribute significantly to the public understanding of the operations or activities of the United States Government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.”  The release of the requested records will significantly advance public understanding of the operations of the government — in particular, the President’s and Vice President’s role in the declassification and surreptitious release to members of the press of previously classified CIA information.  The disclosure of the records sought will contribute not only to an understanding of the President’s possible involvement in the release of information about Iraq in the summer of 2003, but also, more generally, to public awareness of the way the government handles classified information and the respective roles of the President, other White House officials, and the CIA in the control of classified information.  As noted above, all of these topics are currently subjects of great public interest in light of the recent revelations concerning the President’s authorization of Mr. Libby’s disclosures. 

Public Citizen regularly disseminates information concerning issues of governmental accountability and access to public information through its bimonthly newspaper, PC News, through reports that are made available on its website (, through news releases, and through congressional testimony.  In particular, Public Citizen has long been concerned with issues of federal records disclosure, and provides abundant information on this subject through its website.  To the extent that information in the records sought by this request provides new insights into the President’s role in declassifying CIA information, Public Citizen would likely disseminate that information to the public through its website, in special reports or press releases, and/or in its bimonthly newspaper. 

These records are not requested for any commercial purpose.  Public Citizen does not propose to sell for monetary gain either the information requested or any of its work product based on that information. 

If there are any proposed charges that are not waived and they exceed $25.00, please notify me before they are incurred.  If you have any questions about this request, please feel free to contact me at (202) 588-7724.

      Sincerely yours,

      Scott L. Nelson