FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: Judge: Trump tweet did not declassify CIA program for Syrian rebels

FOIA News (2018)Kevin SchmidtComment

Judge: Trump tweet did not declassify CIA program for Syrian rebels

By Josh Gerstein, Politico, July 2, 2018

A tweet from President Donald Trump disputing aspects of a news report about a CIA program to aid Syrian rebels did not declassify the program or undermine the government’s legal authority to keep details about it secret, a federal judge ruled in an opinion released Monday.

U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Carter Jr. rejected arguments that Trump effectively confirmed the existence of the program when he used his Twitter account last July to counter a Washington Post story that reported Trump’s decision to end the effort and suggested that the move was a concession to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The Amazon Washington Post fabricated the facts on my ending massive, dangerous, and wasteful payments to Syrian rebels fighting Assad,” Trump wrote, referring to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

...

Armed with Trump’s statements, The New York Times filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding details of the program, then sued when the CIA did not immediately respond.

Read more here.