Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Institute for Policy Studies v. United States Central Intelligence Agency

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

August 19, 2015

INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, Defendant

          For INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES, Plaintiff: Andrea C. Ferster, LEAD ATTORNEY, Andrea C. Ferster, Washington, DC; Brian Gaffney, LAW OFFICES OF BRIAN GAFFNEY, APC, Pacifica, CA.

         For UNITED STATES CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, Defendant: Fred Elmore Haynes, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Washington, DC.

Page 2

         MEMORANDUM OPINION

         Royce C. Lamberth, Judge.

         This Freedom of Information Act (" FOIA" ), 5 U.S.C. § § 552 et seq., case once again comes before the Court on the Cross-motions for summary judgment, and on defendant's Motion to Clarify the Court's August 18, 2012 Memorandum Opinion and Order, and the opposition and reply thereto. Upon consideration of these filings, the applicable law, and the entire record in this case, the Court will GRANT in part and DENY in part the issue left to be decided in Plaintiff's Motion for summary judgment [32], GRANT in part and DENY in part the same issue in Defendant's Motion for summary judgment [23], and GRANT defendant's Motion for Clarification [120].

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case has been pending in this Court since 2006, and its factual history is laid out in detail in the Court's most recent opinion in this case. See Inst. for Policy Studies v. CIA, 885 F.Supp.2d 120, 131-32 (D.D.C. 2012). The issue now before the Court is whether and how the operational file exemption applies to the records sought in this case, and whether any exception to that exemption applies.

         II. Legal Standards

         Under 50 U.S.C. § 3141(f)(4)(A)--the statute governing the treatment of the CIA's operational files under FOIA--if a complainant alleges that the CIA has improperly withheld requested records due to improper exemption of operational files, the CIA must " demonstrate[e] to the court by sworn written submission that exempted operational files likely to contain responsive records currently perform the functions set forth in subsection (b) of this

Page 3

section." As Judge Walton has observed, in such settings the law of the D.C. Circuit requires that the government offer more than conclusory language, recitation of the statutory standard, and vague and sweeping statements which give the Court neither basis to credit the government's assertions nor factual support for essential elements of the operational files exemption. See Aftergood v. Nat'l Reconnaissance Office, 441 F.Supp.2d 37, 45 (D.D.C. 2006) (citing King v. U.S. Dep't of Justice, 830 F.2d 210, 219, 265 U.S. App.D.C. 62 (D.C. Cir. 1987) and Senate of Puerto Rico ex rel. Judiciary Comm. v. United States DOJ, 823 F.2d 574, 585, 262 U.S. App.D.C. 166 (D.C. Cir. 1987)).

         Additionally, even exempted operational files are

subject to search and review for information concerning . . . any special activity the existence of which is not exempt from disclosure under the provisions of [FOIA] ... or the specific subject matter of an investigation by the congressional intelligence committees, the Intelligence Oversight Board, the Department of Justice, the Office of General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency, the Office of Inspector General of the Central Intelligence Agency, or the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for any impropriety, or violation of law, Executive order, or Presidential directive, in the conduct of an intelligence activity.

50 U.S.C. § 3141(c)(2)-(3).

         In order for the special activity exception to apply, the requestor must identify a " particular" CIA activity in connection with its request. Sullivan v. CIA, 992 F.2d 1249, 1253-54 (1st Cir. 1993). The Senate Report offers some examples of what qualifies: Requests relating to " the Bay of Pigs invasion or the CIA's role in replacement of the Guatemala regime in the 1950s" are sufficiently specific, but requests seeking to declassify " a broad category or type of covert action operations," such as " covert efforts to counter Soviet influence in Western Europe during the 1950s," are not. S. Rep. No. 305, at 24-25. In Sullivan, the First Circuit considered and rejected the argument that the CIA's decades-long efforts to thwart Fidel Castro qualified as " special activity," reasoning that those were less like " the overthrow of the Guatemalan government," which " was a discrete operation with a beginning, an end, and a circumscribed middle," and more like the " CIA operations against Soviet influence in Western Europe during the 1950s." 992 F.2d at 1254.

         III. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.