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FITZGIBBON v. CIA

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


November 10, 1983

ALAN L. FITZGIBBON, Plaintiff,
v.
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, et al., Defendants

The opinion of the court was delivered by: GREENE

Plaintiff is an historian researching the disappearance and assumed death in 1956 of Jesus de Galindez, a Basque exile who was then living in New York City and teaching at Columbia University. Galindez was also the United States delegate of the Basque Government-in-exile, which was headquartered in Paris; he was an FBI informant, giving information on Spanish exile activities in New York City; and he was a public critic of the regime of Rafael Trujillo, head of state of the Dominican Republic until 1961. *fn1" The disappearance of Galindez, who was last seen on a March evening after a student dropped him off at a Manhattan subway station, was alleged by colleagues of Galindez and political commenters to have been engineered by Trujillo and executed with the unwitting aid of an American pilot, Gerald Murphy, whose body was subsequently found in the Dominican Republic. *fn2"

 The Galindez incident and its aftermath received extensive publicity, highlighting as they did the controversial and ambivalent relationship between the United States and the Trujillo regime, which was opposed to the Soviet Union but at the same time had a reputation for repression. A number of investigations were carried out to determine what had happened to Galindez and Murphy. The Dominican Republic hired Morris Ernst, a prominent New York City lawyer, to investigate the case and, it presumably was hoped by his client, to establish that country's lack of culpability. *fn3" Meanwhile, the New York City Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, and a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C. investigated the case in one way or another, as late as 1971, sometimes jointly, sometimes independently. Despite all this effort, the disappearance of Galindez and the role of Murphy remain a public mystery.

 I

 General

 Having devoted years to solving that mystery through private interviews and other forms of research, plaintiff *fn4" brought this lawsuit in 1979 to follow up on requests for government records that he had filed with the CIA and FBI under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. ยง 552(b). Plaintiff challenged the substantial deletions made in the documents which the government identified as relevant; he also claimed that the CIA's search had not been adequate. *fn5" In February 1981, the Court denied defendants' motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of the applicability of the exemptions they had invoked, *fn6" ordering the submission of limited in camera affidavits which would explain in detail the agencies' various rationales for not releasing all relevant documents in their files. *fn7" The Court singled out 89 documents that were to be addressed in the affidavits.

 Subsequently, finding that it could not fulfill its statutory responsibility to conduct a de novo review *fn8" on the basis of the limited in camera affidavits, the Court ordered the CIA and FBI in November 1981 to submit in camera affidavits pertaining to all of the records except only the 78 documents no longer contested by plaintiff and the one document in the (b)(1) category on which the Court was able to rule on the basis of the limited affidavits. *fn9" The defendants were ordered to submit under seal the unabridged versions of every contested document, not because the agencies' good faith had been controverted, but "in order that the Court may be able to monitor the agencies' determinations in accordance with the Court's guidelines." Memorandum of November 16, slip. op. at 2 n. 2. *fn10" The CIA complied by submitting 14 volumes of documents and an in camera explanatory affidavit executed by Louis Dube ("Dube affidavit"), all of which the Court has reviewed. The documents were arranged in the following manner: Category A, Collection 1 -- Liaison w/foreign intell. service Category B, Collection 2 -- CIA station locations Category D, Collection 3 -- Intelligence sources Collection 4 Collection 5 Collection 6 Category E, Collection 7 -- CIA operations and methods Collection 8 -- CIA cover Category F, Collection 9 -- Privacy material Category M, Collection 10 -- Miscellaneous Collection 11 Collection 12 -- Liaison Collection 13 Collection 14 -- Employee identities, internal organization information

19831110

© 1992-2004 VersusLaw Inc.



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