USAID released its 1999 contract with Freedom House along with 11 supplemental agreements, but redacted the majority of the program descriptions that would give details of the non-profit organization's activities in Cuba.
I requested the documents under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA. In its March 16 response, USAID cited a FOIA exemption that covers "trade secrets and commercial or financial information" that is "privileged or confidential."
The exemption is vague enough to shield just about any information from public view. In this case, USAID uses the exemption to keep secret:
- The strategic objectives of Freedom House.
- Its past successes and lessons learned in Cuba.
- The group's techniques for monitoring the efficiency of its Cuba Democracy Program, or CDP.
- The identities of aid recipients and partners in Cuba.
- The activities of its partners in Cuba.