WASHINGTON (CN) – A government commission charged with advising the president on the most effective ways of preventing terrorist attacks does not have to disclose records of its meetings, the D.C. Circuit ruled.
The judges denied the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation’s request for more complete disclosure by the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction. President Bush created the commission in 2004 to advise him “in order to ensure the most effective counterproliferation capabilities of the United States and response to September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the ongoing threat of terrorist activities.”
Concerned about safeguarding sensitive information, the commission closed its meetings to the public, but tried to keep the public informed about the gist of its activities.
But the voluntary disclosures did not satisfy the Center for Arms Control and Non-Profileration, which filed a lawsuit claiming the commission had violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act by refusing to make the records public.
Judge Ginsburg ruled that the commission – which has since dissolved and passed the torch to the National Security Council – is exempt from the act, because it was “utilized” by the CIA, one of the conditions of exemption. Thus, the commission is “exactly the kind of advisory committee the Congress intended to exempt,” Ginsburg wrote.