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Requesting all records of the Clipper review panel
- To: cypherpunks, gnu
- Subject: Requesting all records of the Clipper review panel
- From: gnu (John Gilmore)
- Date: Fri, 13 Aug 93 17:44:10 -0700
This is a draft, which will be sent out within a day or two.
Deputy Director of Administration
Freedom of Information Act Officer
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Building 101, Room A-110
Gaithersburg, MD 20899
Dear Mr. Bell:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act
("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. $ 552, on behalf of Mr. John Gilmore for all
agency records pertaining to and utilized by the Skipjack review
This request also requests access to records which must be
made available under the Federal Advisory Committee Act
("FACA"), 5 U.S.C. App. II (1972). Section 8(b)(2) of the FACA
requires that the supervising agency for an advisory committee
must assemble and maintain records for the committee; Section
8(b)(3) of the FACA provides that such records are subject to the
The Panel's review is being performed pursuant to the
President's direction that "respected experts from outside the
government  be offered access to the confidential details of the
algorithm to assess its capabilities and publicly report their
finding." The Acting Director of the National Institute of
Standards and Technology sent letters of invitation to potential
This request for records includes, but is not limited to:
all records relating to the selection of the Panel members;
all records of the Panel's activities and use of funds [FACA
the charter of the Panel [FACA $ 9(c)];
all notices of Panel meetings [FACA $ 10(a)(2)];
all written determinations to close any part of a Panel
meeting [FACA $ 10(d)];
all records, reports, transcripts, minutes, appendices,
working papers, drafts, studies, agenda or other documents which
were made available to or prepared by the committee [FACA
$$10(b) & (c)].
For instance, the Panel's interim report states that:
We attended an initial meeting at the Institute for Defense Analyses
Supercomputing Research Center (SRC) from June 21-23. At that
meeting, the designer of SKIPJACK provided a complete, detailed
description of the algorithm, the rationale for each feature, and the
history of the design. The head of the NSA evaluation team described
the evaluation process and its results. Other NSA staff briefed us on
the LEAF structure and protocols for use, generation of device keys,
protection of the devices against reverse engineering, and NSA's
history in the design and evaluation of encryption methods contained
in SKIPJACK. Additional NSA and NIST staff were present at the
meeting to answer our questions and provide assistance. All staff
members were forthcoming in providing us with requested information.
All records pertaining to this and other meetings of the
Panel are included within the scope of this FOIA/FACA request.
If the requested records are not in the possession of your
agency, I ask that you forward this request to any agency that you
believe may have records that are responsive to this request. In the
alternative, I ask that you inform me of other agencies that might
have such records.
As you know, the FOIA provides that even if some
requested material is properly exempted from mandatory
disclosure, all segregable portions must be released. [5 U.S.C. $
552(b)] If any or all material covered by this request is withheld,
please inform me of the specific exemptions that are being claimed.
If any of the requested material is released with deletions, I ask that
each deletion be marked to indicate the exemption(s) being claimed
to authorize each particular withholding.
In addition, I ask that your agency exercise its discretion to
release information that may be technically exempt but where
withholding would serve no important public interest.
As you know, the FOIA provides that agencies may reduce
or waive fees if it would be "in the public interest because
furnishing the information can be considered as primarily
benefiting the public." [5 U.S.C. $ 552(a)(4)(A)] Release of this
material would be of benefit to the public because of the
importance of public discussion of technology which can enhance
Moreover, in previous FOIA requests to NIST, Mr. Gilmore
has amply demonstrated his ability and willingness to disseminate
such information to the general public. I therefore ask that you
waive any fees relating to this request. Mr. Gilmore promises to
pay up to $1000 in processing costs should this fee waiver be
denied, so that NIST can begin processing this request while you
rule on the propriety of this fee waiver.
If you have any questions regarding this request, please
telephone me at the above number. I would be happy to discuss
ways in which this request could be clarified or somewhat
redesigned to reflect the agency's filing system and speed the
search for records.
As provided under the FOIA, I will expect a reply within 10
On behalf of Mr.