CIA Unseals Documents Requested Two Decades Ago

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More than 20 years ago, in July 1989, the National Security Archive filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the CIA, seeking documents related to an Iranian-born businessman implicated in the Iran-Contra affair. This summer, the CIA finally sent the files, 15 documents in all, according to the archive, a nongovernmental research institute. "In the last 20 years, the CIA sent status updates about this request intermittently: in August 1989, in October 1992, and in November 2003," the archive notes on its blog. "Two of these responses seemed more concerned with determining and collecting fees than with the fulfilling the request itself." Part of the reason for the delay could be that the CIA sent around the request to other agencies, such as the Department of Defense and the Department of State. Still, the 20-year wait looks to be the CIA's longest: In the agency's annual report in 2008, it (apparently mistakenly) said the oldest still-pending FOIA request had been filed in 1992.

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