New Mexico Activists Win FOIA Case Against Nuclear Agency

April 9, 2008

A federal district judge ruled that agencies can't use delay to create secrecy when the Freedom of Information Act requires them to disclose records.

U.S. District Judge Robert Brack of Las Cruces ruled March 31, 2008, that the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which safeguards sites in the nuclear weapons program, could not delay responding to FOIA requests from Citizen Action. That local activist group had requested documents on nuclear waste sites, monitoring, and 10-year plans for Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM.

Judge Brack ruled that the NNSA's extensive "national security" reviews were not an adequate reason for ignoring the statutory 20 day deadline for response under FOIA.