United States District Court, D. Columbia
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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
MCKNEELY, Plaintiff, Pro se, LOMPOC, CA.
UNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION, Defendant:
Jodi George, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE FOR
THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Washington, DC.
G. SULLIVAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
challenges the response of the Drug Enforcement
Administration (" DEA" ) to his Freedom of
Information Act (" FOIA" ) request. As DEA's
parent agency, the Department of Justice (" DOJ" )
claims that DEA has fully complied with FOIA and moves for
summary judgment under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, ECF No. 28. Upon consideration of the parties'
submissions, including plaintiff's cross motion for
summary judgment, ECF No. 32, DOJ's reply, ECF No. 34,
and plaintiff's reply, ECF No. 36, the Court will grant
defendant's motion, deny plaintiff's motion, and
enter judgment accordingly.
a federal prisoner, was convicted by a District of Colorado
jury of possession with intent to distribute fifty grams or
more of cocaine base and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
United States v. McKneely, 69 F.3d 1067, 1070 (10th
Cir. 1995). On November 14, 2010, plaintiff requested from
DEA all records about him pertaining to the criminal
investigation and his arrest. Decl. of Katherine Myrick
(" Myrick Decl." ), Ex. A (FOIA Req.), ECF No.
28-4. Plaintiff specifically requested (1) telephone records
" from Concord Hotel
room 666 regarding criminal offense dated 2/13/1992 in case
93-cr-308," which, according to plaintiff, were in the
possession of " the lead agent at that time," and
(2) " copies of transcripts of all tape recordings, and
audio recordings regarding case 93-cr-308 dated
2/13/1992." FOIA Req. at 4.
September 26, 2011, DEA released to plaintiff two redacted
pages of information and withheld fourteen pages completely.
DEA withheld information under FOIA exemptions 3, 7(C), 7(E),
and 7(F), codified in 5 U.S.C. § 552(b), and Privacy Act
exemption (j)(2), codified in 5 U.S.C. § 552a.
Id., Ex. E. Plaintiff appealed DEA's decision to
the Office of Information Policy (" OIP" ), which
affirmed the decision by letter dated June 18, 2012.
Id., Ex. H.
with the agency's action, plaintiff filed this civil
action in July 2013. On February 12, 2014, DEA released 128
responsive pages to plaintiff, withheld 38 pages and two
cassette tapes, and referred 48 pages as follows: 19 pages to
the Bureau of Prisons (" BOP" ); 11 pages to the
Executive Office for United States Attorneys ("
EOUSA" ); 16 pages to the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (" FBI" ); 2 pages to the U.S.
Marshals Service. Each of those DOJ components were directed
to process the referred records and respond directly to
plaintiff. Id., Exs. I, J, K, L, M. DEA withheld
information under FOIA exemptions 7(C), 7(D), 7(E), and 7(F),
and Privacy Act exemption (j)(2). Id., Ex. I.
February 20, 2014, the Marshals Service released the two
referred pages with the names of government employees
redacted pursuant to FOIA exemptions 7(C) and 7(F).
Id., Ex. N. On March 19, 2014, BOP released 20
referred pages, 14 containing redactions, and withheld one
referred page completely. BOP invoked FOIA exemptions 5, 6,
7(C) and 7(E). Id., Ex. O. On April 4, 2014, the FBI
released the 16 referred pages completely. Id., Ex.
P. On August 26, 2014, EOUSA released 10 referred pages, 2
containing redactions, and withheld one referred page
completely. Id., Ex. Q. EOUSA invoked FOIA
exemptions 5, 7(C) and 7(F).
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, summary judgment
should be granted if the moving party has shown that there
are no genuine issues of material fact and that the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d
265 (1986); Waterhouse v. District of Columbia, 298
F.3d 989, 991, 353 U.S.App.D.C. 205 (D.C. Cir. 2002). In
determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists,
the court must view all facts in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party. See Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106
S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986).
FOIA requires agencies to disclose all requested agency
records, 5 U.S.C. § 552(a), unless one of nine specific
statutory exemptions applies, id. § 552(b).
" It is designed to pierce the veil of administrative
secrecy and to open agency action to the light of public
scrutiny." Consumers' Checkbook, Ctr. for the
Study of Servs. v. United States HHS, 554 F.3d 1046,
1057, 384 U.S.App.D.C. 306 (D.C. Cir. 2009) (internal
quotation marks omitted). " Consistent with 'the
basic policy that disclosure, not secrecy, is the dominant
objective of the Act,' the statutory exemptions are