a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy.' 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6). Obviously, that can only occur when the documents disclose information attributable to an individual." Arieff v. U.S. Dep't of Navy, 712 F.2d at 1468; see also Disabled Officer's Ass'n v. Rumsfeld, 428 F. Supp. 454, 457-58 (D.D.C. 1977); aff'd mem. 574 F.2d 636 (D.C. Cir. 1978).
Even assuming that a pledge of confidentiality was given to each veteran who contacted DNA,
"such a pledge should not be given determinative weight where the public interest in disclosure is high and the privacy interest in the information would otherwise be low." Washington Post Co. v. U.S. Dep't of Health, 690 F.2d at 263. Otherwise, the government could subvert the requirements of FOIA at whim simply by pledging confidentiality. Id. In this case, the reasonable expectations of privacy created by the pledge of confidentiality were minimal at best. First, defendants have advised that no record was kept of whether any writers or callers ever requested that their names and addresses be kept confidential. Haycraft Declaration at para. 10. Second, the only pledge that defendants allege they gave to the veterans who wrote was that the information they provided would be protected in accordance with the Privacy Act. 5 U.S.C. § 552a. The Privacy Act does not protect against disclosure when otherwise required by FOIA. 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b)(2). See Greentree v. U.S. Customs Service, 218 U.S. App. D.C. 231, 674 F.2d 74 (D.C. Cir. 1982). A similarly limited pledge was given to the callers. Haycraft Declaration at para. 7. Finally, DNA advertised that the collected data would be made available to independent scientific organizations. Plaintiff's Exhibit L. As such, veterans would have had to at least discount the significance of a pledge of confidentiality.
Balancing the competing interests, the Court readily concludes that the singularly strong interest in disclosure outweighs what appears to be the mere potential for invasion of privacy. Disclosure, therefore, is not "clearly unwarranted." Cf. Disabled Officer's Assn v. Rumsfeld, 428 F. Supp. at 458 (public interest mandates disclosure of veterans' names and addresses although medical matters clearly implicated).
In view of the foregoing, it is, by the Court, this 13th day of April, 1984
ORDERED that defendants' motion for summary judgment shall be and the same hereby is denied; and it is further
ORDERED that plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment shall be and the same hereby is granted; and it is further
ORDERED that defendants release to plaintiff a list of the names and addresses of present and former military service members who participated in the atmospheric nuclear weapons testing program conducted at Nevada or South Pacific test sites during 1945-1963, and it is further
ORDERED that this cause stands dismissed.