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GARDELS v. CIA

January 4, 1980

Nathan GARDELS, Plaintiff,
v.
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GREEN

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the Court on defendant's motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff Nathan Gardels brought this action under the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 552, as amended, for release of any documents relating to CIA contacts with the University of California. The CIA has refused to either deny or confirm the existence of documents concerning covert CIA activity at the eleven campuses and branches of that educational system, alleging that release of such information would result in the unauthorized disclosure of intelligence sources and methods and that such disclosure is prohibited by exemption 3 of the FOIA. Upon consideration of the parties' submissions in support of their respective positions and the entire record herein, the Court concludes that there is no genuine issue of material fact, and that the defendant CIA is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

 I.

 Nathan Gardels wrote a letter on May 26, 1976, seeking release from the CIA of "all past and present contractual arrangements or agreements and personal relationships between the CIA and the University of California." The CIA by letter of August 3, 1976, indicated that to process his request would require over 400 man-hours and cost over three thousand dollars. Gardels' counsel narrowed the request on December 15, 1976, to include only documents retrievable from five named CIA divisions *fn1" and those collected by the CIA for use by either the Select Senate Committee to Study Governmental Operations with respect to Intelligence Activities or the House Select Committee on Intelligence.

 The CIA did not respond to Gardels' administrative appeals. Gardels filed a complaint in this Court on February 28, 1978, to compel the CIA to confirm or deny the existence of all documents responsive to his request and to obtain access to all documents withheld in whole or in part.

 II.

 A.

 The third exemption to the Freedom of Information Act sanctions the nondisclosure of matters which are

 
specifically exempted from disclosure by statute (other than 552b of this title), provided that such statute (A) requires that the matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion on the issue, or (B) establishes particular criteria for withholding or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld.

 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(3), as amended by Public Law 94-409, 90 Stat. 1247 (1976). The CIA relies on Section 102(d)(3) of the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, and on Section 7 of the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 in refusing to confirm or deny whether additional documents responsive to Gardels' request exist. Section 102(d)(3) of the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, provides in relevant part that "the Director of Central Intelligence shall be responsible for protecting intelligence sources and methods from unauthorized disclosure." 50 U.S.C. § 403(d)(3). In 1949, Congress extended this prohibition of disclosure to the organization and function of the CIA by declaring in Section 7 of the Central Intelligence Agency Act

 
In the interests of the security of the foreign intelligence activities of the United States and in order (to) further implement the proviso of section 403(d) (3) of this title that the Director of Central Intelligence shall be responsible for protecting intelligence sources and methods from unauthorized disclosure, the Agency shall be exempted from the provisions of section 654 of Title 5, and the provisions of any other law which requires the publication or disclosure of the organization, functions, names, official titles, salaries, or numbers of personnel employed by the Agency.

 50 U.S.C. § 403g. These statutes are within the scope of exemption 3 of the Freedom of Information Act. Goland v. Central Intelligence Agency, 197 ...


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