are too broad and that the affidavits are accordingly too general to form the foundation for a reasoned judgment that each withholding determination was valid. Plaintiffs argue that the FBI's public affidavits in many instances merely parrot the language of a given exemption without making reference to the precise types of applicable material at issue in this case.
The bulk of plaintiffs' principal criticisms -- lack of specificity and overbroad categorization -- have been resolved to this Court's satisfaction through in camera inspection of the FBI's affidavits and the unredacted copies of the documents. Summary judgment or a directive ordering the filing of new affidavits are therefore unnecessary remedies for any such deficiencies perceived in the public affidavits in this case. See Arieff v. U.S. Department of the Navy, 712 F.2d at 1469-70; Ellsberg v. Mitchell, 228 U.S. App. D.C. 225, 709 F.2d 51, 63-64 (D.C.Cir. 1983) (submission of in camera materials sufficient to sustain government's assertion of privilege from discovery in constitutional tort action).
However, there still remain several areas of concern raised by the plaintiffs which warrant discussion here. Many of the FBI's exemption claims relate to information which is particularly old. Where that information has been withheld under the personal privacy exemption claim, 5 U.S.C. §§ 552(b)(6) and (b)(7)(C), it is entirely possible that the privacy claims attaching to such information may have become diluted or waived over time, yet the FBI has not offered specifics to substantiate the validity of the exemption claims. Those exemptions contemplate a balancing between the agency interest in the continued withholding of intimate and highly personal information and the public interest, if any, in release. Department of the Air Force v. Rose, 425 U.S. 352, 371-73, 96 S. Ct. 1592, 1603-04, 48 L. Ed. 2d 11 (1976); Bast v. United States Department of Justice, 214 U.S. App. D.C. 433, 665 F.2d 1251, 1254 (D.C.Cir.1981). Because of the detrimental consequences which the Jaffes have experienced and suffered through certain aspects of their association with the CIA and FBI, there arguably is a societal interest in helping them reestablish and restore their tarnished reputations. Compare Department of the Air Force v. Rose, 425 U.S. at 380-81, 96 S. Ct. at 1607-08 with Columbia Packing Co. v. United States Department of Agriculture, 563 F.2d 495, 499-500 (1st Cir. 1977). Nevertheless, the Court's in camera review of the material has demonstrated that third party personal privacy concerns apply to the information. See infra at 385-386.
A further troublesome aspect of the government's claims arises out of plaintiffs' allegations that information in the files which questions plaintiff Sam Jaffe's loyalty to the United States or his possible clandestine affiliation with a foreign government is information which was derived through subsequently discredited confidential sources. Although the Court is troubled with the possibility that plaintiffs' allegations may indeed be true, such claims cannot overcome the fact that an in camera inspection of the documents and affidavits shows that the information for which the (b)(7)(D) confidential source exemption is asserted has been substantiated by the government. See infra at 386-387. Though the Court reaches that conclusion with some reluctance especially in light of the passage of time and the questionable credibility of some of the confidential sources, the Court nonetheless determines that the affidavits are sufficient to support the claims of exemption pressed by the government.
The (b)(1) National Security Exemption
The FBI has invoked the FOIA national security exemption
in this case as to a considerable portion of the withheld materials. The role of the Court in this instance has been described in detail by the District of Columbia Circuit.
What this Court must consider is "a de novo determination" of the propriety of the withholding, but in doing so the courts "must 'accord substantial weight'" to the Agency's determination . . . . Once satisfied that proper procedures have been followed and that the information logically falls into the exemption claimed, the courts "need not go further to test the expertise of the agency, or to question its veracity when nothing appears to raise the issue of good faith." . . . Conversely, "summary judgment may be granted on the basis of agency affidavits if they contain reasonable specificity of detail rather than merely conclusory statements, and if they are not called into question by contradictory evidence in the record or by evidence of agency bad faith." . . . The test is not whether the court personally agrees in full with the CIA's evaluation of the danger -- rather, the issue is whether on the whole record the Agency's judgment objectively survives the test of reasonableness, good faith, specificity, and plausibility in this field of foreign intelligence in which the CIA is expert and given by Congress a special role.
Gardels v. Central Intelligence Agency, 223 U.S. App. D.C. 88, 689 F.2d 1100, 1104-1105 (D.C.Cir. 1982) (citations omitted).
The documents at issue in this case were classified pursuant to Executive Order 12,065, 3 C.F.R. 1979,
which contained procedural and classification authority upon a showing that unauthorized disclosure reasonably could be expected to cause at least identifiable damage to the national security (§ 1-302).
As previously described, supra at 381-382, a governmental agency may substantiate the adequacy of its FOIA exemption claims by proffering in camera affidavits and documents which demonstrate that material has been validly withheld. Analysis based upon public and in in camera affidavits and documents is appropriate in the FOIA(b)(1) exemption context. Gardels v. Central Intelligence Agency, 689 F.2d at 1104-05; Phillippi v. CIA, 178 U.S. App. D.C. 243, 546 F.2d 1009, 113 (D.C.Cir.1976); S.Conf.Rep. 1200, 93d Cong., 2 Sess., reprinted in 1974 U.S.Code. & Admin.News 6290.
On the basis of this Court's examination of the several supporting affidavits
together with unredacted copies of the documents, the Court finds that the government has finally demonstrated that the material which it is currently withholding on (b)(1) national security grounds is indeed exempt from FOIA's disclosure requirements. The affidavits show that the procedural requirements of Executive Order 12,065 have been complied with and that the applicable categories of exempt classified material have been properly invoked. See, e.g., Salisbury v. United States, 690 F.2d at 972-73. Most importantly, the affidavits explain the specific harm which could result from disclosure. As the principal (b)(1) national security affidavit describes, disclosure of such information risks considerable damage to the national security:
The release of official documents by the United States which would evidence the existence of cooperative arrangements among the United States and friendly foreign governments, and the scope of activity of friendly foreign intelligence and security services could seriously strain relations between governments. In addition, this action could sharply curtail or eliminate such cooperation between the United States and friendly intelligence and internal security services, resulting in a serious negative impact on both United States intelligence collection and internal security capabilities. The release of information which constitutes an official acknowledgment of the existence of intelligence or internal security liaison relationships with the United States could cause embarrassment and harm to the government involved and could cause disruption of its diplomatic relations with other governments.