U.S. State Department: A Circular 175 Memorandum for ACTA Was Never Issued

In February the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) submitted a Freedom of Information Act Request to the State Department asking them to release documents related to the department's review of ACTA. The State Department is required to prepare a "Circular 175 Memorandum," whenever an international treaty is going to be negotiated. According to the EFF's Gwen Hinze, the Circular 175 is required "for all treaties and other international instruments that bind the United States as a matter of international law under 22 CFR Part 181. No agencies can conclude an international agreement in the name of the United States without first consulting with the State Department, and the determination of whether an agreement is an international agreement for this purpose must be made by the Office of the Legal Advisor to the State Department."

Today we learn that the State Department did not perform a "pre-review" of ACTA. Their response to the FOIA request was simple and straightforward:

"no Circular 175 Memorandum or Memorandum of Law were ever issued for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement."

This revelation proves that this international agreement (or whatever the Administration wants to call it this week) was not put through any of the proper channels it was supposed to go through according to the laws of the United States.

The EFF has a lengthy blog post on what all this means here.

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