NSA: Responding to FOIA Requests Would Help "Our Adversaries"
Everything you want helps the enemy
Jeff Larson, a news application developer for Pro Publica, filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the National Security Agency for data they may have about him, and got a response.
Shortly after the Guardian and Washington Post published their Verizon and PRISM stories, I filed a freedom of information request with the NSA seeking any personal data the agency has about me. I didn't expect an answer, but yesterday I received a letter signed by Pamela Phillips, the Chief FOIA Officer at the agency (which really freaked out my wife when she picked up our mail).
The letter, a denial, includes what is known as a Glomar response — neither a confirmation nor a denial that the agency has my metadata. It also warns that any response would help "our adversaries":
Any positive or negative response on a request-by-request basis would allow our adversaries to accumulate information and draw conclusions about the NSA's technical capabilities, sources, and methods.
Our adversaries are likely to evaluate all public responses related to these programs.
The NSA doesn't identify in the letter who those adversaries might be.