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March 25, 1979 - Image 13

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-03-25
Note:
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Page 8--Sunday, March 25, 1979-The Michigan Daily
cellar

;

T
t !, '4 3 _ it r

A

(Continued from Page 6)
Brainard and Steve Rymph. Lawyers
for the bargaining teams decided that
no one from the union should be allowed
to sit on the committee, according to
Lisa Blake.
Union leaders perceived this move as
an affront to the union, arriving on the
threshold of bargaining talks: "It's the
union's position that that sort of thing
has to be talked about in the contract
negotiations," Chase explained. "What
they were doing was calling for input
outside of contract negotiations. We felt
it was an attempt to undermine the
union."
The board was disappointed that the
union did not submit a proposal, accor-
ding to board member Jacobsen. Three
non-union workers, however, did
provide an alternate plan.
Weinberg and two other non-union
employees constructed a managerial
plan and submitted it to the Board. "It's
a structure," he said, "but it's not the
structure they want." The board plans
foia
(Continued from Page 7)
mation compiled, cited his request for
his own files as an example. While he
said he was told five folders of infor-
mation have been compiled on him,
only one paragraph was declassified.
Steffens also criticized the
withholding of information from those
who make FOIA requests. She termed
the sampling received from her per-
sonal FBI file "laughable;" because of
her anti-war activities, she's convinced
many more were withheld.
The intelligence community's
strategy appears to be one of pushing
FOIA requests into court where, obser-
vers say, they hope the expense, time
and trouble of purusing information
will cause the petitioner to abandon the
case.
"Someone will ask for a file," Berlet
explained, "and eight months later
they'll get five pages out of fifty. They'll
appeal it and they'll get another six
pages. And then they'll go, 'Well, hell, I
want everything,' and they'll file a suit.
"And then a judge, sitting in the
court, will hear arguments from both
sides and then look at the material. And
the judge will go, 'Well, this is a crock
of shit, I'm going to give all but one
page to the person who wants to see
it.'~
But the ploy has apparently been suc-
cessful. While Berlet implied that court
decisions usually go against intelligen-
ce agencies, Christine Marwick,
publications director for the Center for
National Security Studies confirms that
while "there are hundreds-of thousands
of FOIA requests per year to the federal
government, there are only something
like 600 or 700 pending FOIA suits."
ramblings-
(Continued from Page 2)
the students marching! Aten't they
cute!"
But I am maraching right along with
them now, although my journalistic ob-
jectivity keeps me from chanting with
the rest. On the diag, there is a rally,
more slogans, and a copy of the court
order is burned in protest. Then it's all
over. The crowd disperses and ap-
parently goes home.
I feel relieved walking home across
the diag. It was a glimpse of the times I
was too young to know. But it's over
now, and I feel somewhat cheated. I
don't want to return to reserve
readings, hourly exams and Monday
morning lectures. My glimpse of the
sixties has come and gone too soon

a final vote on the structure issue for
next Tuesday. It refused, however, to
bargain on that issue.
"I believe they have every right to
unionize," said student board member
Jacobsen. "I have no qualms with the
union itself. But to negotiate how the
structure and the final management is
done, I think that responsibility
ultimately has to lie with the board of .
directors."
The student members of the board
face additional pressure from the
Michigan Student Assembly (MSA),
which, by appointing students to the
various boards and committees on
campus, has indirect control over the
Cellar situation. Oh Feb. 20, MSA voted
support for the workers in its chambers
two flights above the Cellar. It urged
the board to suspend the structure
change until a contract has been
negotiated. MSA members also debated
the possible invocation of a mandate
directing the students on the Cellar
Board of Directors how to vote.

The board's three student members
sent letters stating their position to
MSA President Eric Arnson. Carl
Stein's letter stated: "You appointed
me . .'. to make responsible decisions
concerning the store's operation in-
dependently of other interests. In doing
so, you delegated some authority to me
I believe that I have been exercising
that authority responsibly. If you
disagree, recall, me, but do not recall
the authority." Jacobsen agreed.
MSA President Eric Arnson also
agreed in his reply, but noted that his
sentiments are not those of all MSA
members. This issue extends beyond
just the Cellar situation. Jacobsen,
board president Pulkownik, and board
member and Assistant Vice-President
for Student Services Tom Easthope all
said that the power of MSA to direct its
appointees how to vote on specific
issues circumvents the purpose of
student participation on University
committees.
MSA will decide Tuesday whether it

will deliver the mandate to Jacobsen,
Pulkownik, and Stein. It will also hear
the report of an ad hoc committee set
up to investigate the stances of those
people involved in the Cellar controver-
sy.
"It's such a complex situation, so
very complex, that nobody's going to be
happy. . . . There's no possible way,
dealing with over 80 workers, a board of
directors, MSA body, that everybody's
going to be satisfied," said Jacobsen.
"There's got to be compromises all the
way around."
Although those compromises have
been slow in coming, the Cellar still
possesses its most precious quality, ac-
cording to the White report: its em-
ployees. 'U' Cellar employees are
dedicated to the store, to maintaining
the service it provides students, and to
cooperation in decision-making.
"We think we do a good job," said
Ralph McKee, "and we're trying to
keep doing a good job throughout this
craziness."

l4

. I

I

I

OIA INC. is particularly con-
cerned with a potentially more
serious problem. According to
Steffens, the FBI has a standing agree-
ment with the National Archives and
Records Service (NARS) which permits
the destruction of field office files older
than six months. FOIA, Inc. is con-
sidering a lawsuit to halt the destruc-
tion of files. Member Steffens finds the
shredding policy particularly
paradoxical "when viewed in conjun-
ction with the statements now being
made by (FBI Director William) Web-
ster, who is going around the country,
and has been for some eight months,
making speeches about not wanting to
turn over files until they are ten years
old because that's the only way they
can safeguard informers. So you're in
a Catch-22."
Williams acknowledged that while
the FBI does not currently destroy files
at its Washington D.C. headquarters, it
is destroying records at its field offices,
and is currently attempting to institute
the file destruction program at
headquarters, too.
Even more paradoxical may be
agency policy on payment for finding
and copying documents. According to
former director Steffens, 61,000 pages
of information have been ready for
release to the Women's International
League for Peace and Freedom for two
years, but because of copying costs,
which run ten cents a page, the group
cannot afford the material. Steffens
found it ironic that FBI thoroughness,
which led to the files being amassed,
would be the reason the group could not
receive the information.'
According to Williams, the FBI
recently expanded the number of pages
it will copy without charge to 249. While
this may seem insignificant in face of
requests that sometimes run into
thousands of pages, it is an im-
provement over the bureau's previous
limit of 29 free pages. The CIA, accor-
ding to Savige, collected only $10,000 in
fees last year-a figure he compared
with the approximately $3 million it
cost the agency to process FOIA
requests.
Berlet also raised another intriguing
evasion of FOIA: the work done by
private and semi-private groups made
up of former members of public in-
telligence groups. Because of their
private status, these groups fall outside
the authority of the FOIA, but they may
undertake many of the same actions as
public intelligence agencies.
Although Berlet urged regulation of

private agencies, Marwick was more
hesitant. She explained that any laws
that might open up private intelligence
groups to public scrutiny could also be
used to pry into-the confidential mat-
ters of the ACLU, the American Frien-
ds Service Committee, and other more
liberal groups which need confidential
files to protect private affairs.
Opinion is also divided on another
secondary benefit of FOIA's passage:
whether knowledge that the law's
existence could bring illegal actions in-
to the light of public examination will
deter intelligence groups from future
abuses of their power. While Steffens
felt the FOIA has already had a "chilling
effect" on intelligence agency activity,
Marwick and Sinclair said the act may
only cause groups to find more
imaginative ways of concealing infor-
mation, or force them simply to refrain
from recording their activitiesron
paper.
Williams dismissed both notions.
"I don't think that the Freedom of In-
formation Act by itself would cause
agency officials in any kind of federal
law enforcement agency or intelligence
gathering agency not to want to put
things down on paper," he said. "You
can't operate if you don't put things
down on paper. I don't particularly per-
ceive that an agency would try to cir-
cumvent the act by failing to make an
adequate record of what we're doing."
Ultimately, it seems certain that the
fate of FOIA enforcement will be
decided in the courts, where attorneys
like Mark Lynch, one of a handful of
experts on FOIA litigation, will con-
tinue to try cases in order to clear up
the hazy areas of the law. According to
Lynch, the law is now in a period of
"refinement" while various groups are
"ramming attitudinal change down the
throat of the bureaucracy," a process
Lynch described as "glacial."
Several of the many cases which have

refined FOIA have resulted in the
tightening up of the law, Lynch said.
But he hopes that the end result of court
action in the near future will be to
reduce the need for individuals to go to
court to get their files.
"What I hope will happen is there will
be less need for litigation, less need for
people to go to court," he said. "Agen-
cies will respond more as a matter of
course and less because they are geing
beaten over the head."
Until that time, groups like FOIA Inc.
and the Center for National Security
Studies will guard the law they feel has
revolutionized the meaning of
democratic government by providing
increased access to formerly un-
touchable information. They may have
to. According to Marwick, the FBI is
currently interested in getting
Congress to tinker with FOIA, though
the legislature is not particularly in-
terested in changing the law, despite in-
telligence community claims that the
act has hamstrung its espionage effor-
ts.
But Marwick said "if the FBI suc-
ceeds in putting on enough pressure,
and other people don't put on a counter-
vailing pressure, Congress may be
pressured into (doing) something."
Though Williams claims the FBI is
"living with the act," Marwick's
prediction may be correct in regard to
the, CIA. Because FOIA has hurt the
CIA by damaging informants' con-
fidence that what they say will remain
secret, and because "we don't think the
public taxpayer is getting much for his
money" from FOIA, Savige- said the
agency will seek "legislative relief" in
the form of amendments to the act or
the CIA charter.
And that could spell disaster for the
tens of thousands who have learned the
value of access to intelligence agency
files.

s"ndaa "ad zine
Co-editors
Owen Gleiberman Judy Rakowsky

inside:

Federal
agencies
fight FOIA

'Birdy': A
high-flying
new novel.

Is PBS
playing
network gan

Cover photo by Andy Freeberg

Supplement to The Michigan Daily

Ann Arbor, Michigan-Sunday, March 25, 1979

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