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International Counsel Bureau v. U.S. Central Intelligence Agency

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


April 2, 2010

INTERNATIONAL COUNSEL BUREAU, PLAINTIFF,
v.
U.S. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: John D. Bates United States District Judge

ORDER

Before the Court is [18] defendant Executive Office of the President's renewed motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.*fn1 International Counsel Bureau ("ICB") filed this action under the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 552 et seq., seeking, in pertinent part, records from the Executive Office of the President "relat[ing] to current U.S. policy and/or negotiations regarding Guantanamo Bay." Am. Compl. ¶ 54. ICB directed its FOIA request through the Office of Administration in the Executive Office of the President. See Def.'s Mot. at 2; Pl.'s Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. ("Pl.'s Opp'n") [Docket Entry 13], 2.

Although ICB submitted its FOIA request to the Office of Administration, it assures the Court that it does not seek records specifically from the Office of Administration.*fn2 Rather, it asserts that its FOIA request "was sent to [the Office of Administration] . . . not in [the Office's] first-order capacity of direct support to the President, but rather as a mail drop or 'service window' for the entirety of [the Executive Office of the President]." Pl.'s Opp'n at 2. In ICB's view, the Office of Administration's role as the "support office" for the Executive Office of the President renders it "the natural and logical point of contact for a request directed at the [Executive Office of the President] as a whole." Id.

Not so. It is not up to ICB, as a FOIA requester, to craft the administrative rule for submitting FOIA requests seeking records within the Executive Office of the President. There is no established mechanism by which an individual may submit a FOIA request to the Executive Office of the President as a whole -- indeed, the Executive Office as a whole is not a discrete agency for purposes of FOIA. See United States v. Espy, 145 F.3d 1369, 1373 (D.C. Cir. 1998) ("[I]t has never been thought that the whole Executive Office of the President could be considered a discrete agency under FOIA."); Voinche v. Executive Office of the President, Civ. Action No. 06cv1272, 2007 WL 1716811, at *1 (D.D.C. June 12, 2007) ("[T]he Executive Office of the President . . . is not a discrete agency subject to either FOIA or the Privacy Act."). Rather, an individual must submit his request directly to the specific agency within the Executive Office of the President that is the target of the request. 3 C.F.R. § 101.1. And it is clear that the Office of Administration is not an agency subject to FOIA. See note 2 supra. By seeking information from the entire Executive Office of the President through the Office of Administration, ICB has failed to comply with the governing regulations. Therefore, its request for records from the Executive Office of the President, submitted to the Office of Administration, must be dismissed.*fn3

Hence, it is hereby

ORDERED that defendant Executive Office of the President's motion to dismiss is GRANTED, and all claims against it are DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.


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