A trade secret is treated differently by the courts than only confidential information. Even if the reason and reason for the reluctance to publish, most of these reasons do not require secrecy – the law provides that the State Department, upon request, is kept copies of any agreement that is held from the UST on the basis of (A), (B) or (C). On the other hand, agreements that are retained under (D) – that is, agreements that have received a national classification of security – are both unpublished and unavailable. In this way, classification is an exceptionally robust barrier to public understanding. Finally, the disclosed agreements have a clear trend on the merits. As chart 2 shows, 95% of them are for defence, while only 3% are for financing and 2% for non-proliferation. This model could be the general standard, given the sensitivity of national defence to other issues. And while “defence” as a category is rather vague, it is possible to draw some conclusions about its content. In particular, Given that I have only requested information on agreements that have not been published under Section 112 bis (b) (2) (D), we can reasonably conclude that the 95% does not contain two types of defence agreements that place federal rules outside the agenda of this provision: “bilateral agreements applicable to certain military exercises” and “bilateral agreements on the exchange of military personnel.” If so, it is answered that the disclosed defence agreements probably cover other defence issues than exercises and personnel exchange – all material transfers; on the conduct of military operations; access to facilities, bases, infrastructure or airspace, among others.
At the same time, Section 112a (b) offers the possibility of greater transparency than scholars have achieved so far: while the status clearly frees the State Department from any obligation to publish the “text” of classified information or to make “copies” available to the public, the statute does not require that information relating to the non-textual characteristics of such an agreement be retained. This allows the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to disclose information on matters such as deratification dates and the identity of foreign partners, at least as long as the information is not classified. What do you think when you say that secret international agreements are “prohibited by international law”? Do you think such contracts are null and void, with no legal value? If so, how do you reconcile such a view with that of the ICJ in the case of maritime exploration and territorial issues between Qatar and Bahrain (Qatar/Bahrain), which states that “[n]on-registration or late registration, on the other hand, does not affect the actual validity of the agreement, in accordance with Article 102 of the United Nations Charter.” As a result, the results of LA FOIA are significant, mainly for other reasons.