Term used by US press and intelligence community to describe a "can-neither-confirm-nor-deny" response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
Term refers to the Glomar Explorer/Project Jennifer incident, wherein the CIA in cooperation with Howard Hughes built a massive salvage vessel in an attempt to recover a sunken Soviet submarine, K-129. In 1975, after the classified salvage operation was complete, Los Angeles Times journalist Harriet Ann Phillipi submitted a request, under the Freedom of Information Act, that the CIA make public its records regarding attempts to gag media outlets on the topic of Glomar Explorer. The CIA denied this request under the first exemption of the FOIA and issued the now-famous statement that it "could neither confirm nor deny the existence" of such records.
Also termed the "Glomar Response", this verbiage was novel at the time, and coined a phrase which is now commonplace when discussing classified topics with the press.