Charles W. Hinkle

Charles W. Hinkle

Charles Hinkle founded the security review and freedom of information directorate in the office of the Secretary of Defense, the Pentagon’s principal Freedom of Information Act office. Under his leadership, the Pentagon drafted its first directives for implementing the 1966 FOI Act, which called for “maximum feasible disclosure” of information requested by journalists or the public.

A 1933 graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Hinkle was a news reporter before World War II. After serving in the U.S. Army, he transferred to the U.S. Air Force as a public-affairs officer. He was named head of what became the Pentagon’s FOIA office upon his retirement from the Air Force in 1961. His pioneer work on FOIA was recognized by the law’s author, the late Rep. Jack Brooks, who cited DOD during Hinkle’s tenure as a “model agency” in implementation of the statute.

Hinkle retired in 1984 but worked thereafter as a consultant to DOD on declassification issues. In his obituary, The Washington Post cited him as the person “who opened up more U.S. military records to the public than any other federal official,” and called him a “champion of disclosure.”

Charley Hinkle died in 2005.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.