community is nothing more than speculation and, therefore, insufficient to raise a material question of fact with respect to the adequacy of the agency's search. Oglesby v. United States Dep't of Army, 287 U.S. App. D.C. 126, 920 F.2d 57, 67 n.13 (D.C. Cir. 1990).
Plaintiff also contends that the possibility of conducting additional searches creates a genuine issue of material fact as to the adequacy of the CIA's search. First, plaintiff points out that the CIA did not search the hard copies of the OC logs. Plaintiff's Opposition, at 17; Plaintiff's Supp. Mem., at 8. The CIA did not search the OC logs because the DO logs, which the CIA did search, are substantive extracts of the OC logs, omitting only technical information relating to the operation of the system. Id. PP 10, 11, 12; First Supp. Stricker Declaration P 17. An agency's search "need not be perfect, only adequate, and adequacy is measured by the reasonableness of the effort in light of the specific request." Meeropol v. Meese, 252 U.S. App. D.C. 381, 790 F.2d 942, 956 (D.C. Cir. 1986). Accordingly, "there is no requirement that an agency search every record system." Oglesby, 920 F.2d at 68. Because a search of the OC logs would be duplicative of the search of the DO logs, the Court concludes that the CIA's failure to search the OC logs does not create a genuine issue of fact as to the adequacy of the search.
Plaintiff's other proposed search methods do not undermine the adequacy of the CIA's searches because they are not required by the FOIA. First, plaintiff alleges that the CIA can use sophisticated word-spotting technology to search the tapes. The CIA does not possess word-spotting equipment. First Supp. Stricker Declaration P26. Although there is some dispute as to the degree of effort that obtaining such equipment would entail, this issue is not relevant to the adequacy of the CIA's search. An agency is not required to obtain new equipment to process a FOIA request. Cf. Church of Scientology, 792 F.2d at 150-51 (an agency is not required to reorganize its files to respond to a FOIA request). Second, plaintiff contends that the CIA's failure to perform a listening search to the class of tapes identified through plaintiff's modified request undermines the adequacy of the CIA's search. Plaintiff contends that the Court should not rely on the CIA's estimate that these references are located on hundreds of tapes, and suggests that the 293 references might be located on sufficiently few tapes such that a listening search would not be unreasonably burdensome. The Court finds that the CIA's failure to perform a listening search of the tapes and reels containing the 293 references does not create a genuine issue as to the adequacy of the CIA's search. Courts are to accord "substantial weight" to agency affidavits in national security cases. Goland, 607 F.2d at 352. Based on its knowledge of the storage system, the CIA has deduced that these references are located on hundreds of ninety-minute tapes and an undetermined number of reels. First Supp. Stricker Declaration P 23. The FOIA does not require that the CIA conduct such a burdensome tape-by-tape listening search.
See Goland, 607 F.2d at 353-54; Assassination Archives & Research Center, 720 F. Supp. at 220. In summary, plaintiff's proposed additional searches do not create a genuine issue of material fact as to the adequacy of the CIA's search. Accordingloy, the CIA's motion for summary judgment is granted.
To ascertain which secure voice communication tapes and transcripts of tapes that the OIC possessed, the OIC searched its computerized databases for terms such as "tape," "tapes," "transcript," "transcripts," and an acronym used to identify the CIA's secure voice communications system. Declaration of Pamela E. Krems P 10. Through this search, and based upon institutional knowledge of the contents of OIC files, the OIC located tapes and written materials that reflected the contents of conversations recorded through the secured voice communications system.
Although the OIC had referred plaintiff's FOIA request to the CIA, the agency that had generated and classified the tapes, the OIC proceeded to conduct a line-by-line search of all transcripts and other written materials regarding the tapes because some of these materials had been generated by or for the OIC and such a search was not unreasonably burdensome. Id. PP 12-13. This search revealed no responsive documents. Id. P 12. The OIC contends that a listening search of the eleven-and-a-half hours of tapes in its possession is not required because the OIC appropriately referred plaintiff's request to the CIA, which in turn conducted an adequate search of the relevant databases and found no responsive information.
Based on the OIC's affidavits, the Court finds that its search is adequate as a matter of law. The affidavits describe in detail how the tapes and related materials were systematically located and searched. Church of Scientology, 792 F.2d at 151. Although an agency cannot discharge its FOIA obligations simply by referring a request to another agency, see McGehee v. CIA, 225 U.S. App. D.C. 205, 697 F.2d 1095, 1110 & n.71 (D.C. Cir. 1983), the OIC's search efforts in this case were adequate despite its decision not to conduct a listening search of the tapes under the circumstances. In light of the OIC's line-by-line search of other written materials regarding the tapes, the CIA's computer search which encompassed the tapes in the OIC's possession, and the lack of any challenge by plaintiff to the adequacy of the OIC's search, requiring the OIC to perform a listening search of the eleven-and-a-half-hours of tapes in its possession would be unreasonably burdensome. See Weisberg, 705 F.2d at 1351 (reasonableness of search depends on circumstances of each case). Accordingly, the OIC's motion for summary judgment is granted.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court grants defendants' motion for summary judgment. An appropriate Order accompanies this Opinion.
Stanley S. Harris
United States District Judge
Date: DEC 30 1993
ORDER - December 30, 1993, Filed
For the reasons stated in the accompanying Opinion, it hereby is
ORDERED, that defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted.
Stanley S. Harris
United States District Judge
Date: DEC 30 1993