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National Security Counselors v. Central Intelligence Agency

United States District Court, District of Columbia

September 6, 2016

NATIONAL SECURITY COUNSELORS, Plaintiff,
v.
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          BERYL A. HOWELL Chief Judge.

         The plaintiff, National Security Counselors (“NSC”), a Virginia-based non-profit organization, brought these three related actions against six federal intelligence agencies (collectively, “the defendants”)-the Central Intelligence Agency (“CIA”), the Defense Intelligence Agency (“DI A”), the Department of Justice (“DO J”), the Department of State (“State”), the National Security Agency (“NSA”), and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (“ODNI”)-pursuant to, inter alia, the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552, and the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C. §§ 701 et seq.[[1]]Stemming from the plaintiffs submission of numerous FOIA requests to the defendants, these actions originally comprised more than four dozen claims challenging the defendants' responses to these requests, as well as broader practices and policies guiding the defendants' respective procedures for responding to FOIA requests.

         With the majority of these claims resolved through prior dispositive motions, now pending before the Court are the defendants' motions for summary judgment on all of the plaintiffs remaining claims, as well as the plaintiffs cross-motions for summary judgment, either in whole or in part, on many of these claims. In addition, the plaintiff has moved for reconsideration of this Court's prior dismissal of one its FOIA claims. For the reasons set out below, summary judgment is granted to the defendants with respect to each of the plaintiffs remaining claims, and the plaintiffs effort to obtain additional disclosure in response to its various FOIA requests is denied in all respects.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The relevant factual and procedural history is summarized only briefly below since the Court's prior opinions resolving the parties' previous dispositive motions provide ample additional detail. See Nat'l Sec. Counselors v. CIA (“NSC I), 898 F.Supp.2d 233 (D.D.C. 2012); Nat'l Sec. Counselors v. CIA (“NSC II), 960 F.Supp.2d 101 (D.D.C. 2013). The present opinion addresses the outstanding claims originally alleged in three related cases, which together have called upon the Court to resolve no fewer than six dispositive motions over the last five years.

         The story begins in February 2011, when the plaintiff filed three separate actions-NSC 443, NSC 444, and NSC 445-alleging that the defendants improperly processed dozens of the plaintiffs FOIA requests and maintained various policies and practices that constituted ongoing violations of FOIA or the APA. NSC I, 898 F.Supp.2d at 241-42.[2] In total, these cases alleged forty-five separate claims against the defendants. See NSC 443 Compl., ECF No. 1; NSC 444 Am. Compl., ECF No. 6; NSC 445 Am. Compl, ECF No. 7. After dismissal of the majority of the plaintiff's claims relating to the defendants' alleged policies and practices in handling FOIA requests, id. 290-91, upon motion by the plaintiff, two of these cases, NSC 443 and NSC 444, were consolidated, with the third case continuing to proceed as a separate action, see NSC 444 Minute Order, dated Apr. 2, 2014.

         Thereafter, the defendants moved for summary judgment on NSC's remaining claims in each of these actions, and NSC cross-moved for summary judgment on a portion of those claims. NSC II, 960 F.Supp.2d at 116-17. The Court granted in part and denied in part each of the defendants' motions, further resolving seven of NSC's claims. Id. at 208-11. With the plaintiff conceding summary judgment or voluntarily withdrawing two additional claims, id. at 118 n.3, fifteen of NSC's claims against the defendants survived, in whole or in part, the parties' initial round of dispositive motions addressing this trio of cases. As a result, all of NSC's pattern or practice claims have now been dismissed, and its remaining claims relate to the defendants' responses to individual FOIA requests, including eleven requests submitted to the CIA, and one request submitted to each of the DIA, ODNI, DOJ, and State.

         With these FOIA challenges still unresolved, the defendants set about reprocessing many of the relevant FOIA requests in an effort to comply fully with their obligations under the statute. See Joint Status Report, NSC 444 ECF No. 59. Thereafter, the defendants again moved for summary judgment on each of the plaintiff's remaining claims. See Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. on All Remaining Claims, NSC 444 ECF No. 60, NSC 445 ECF No. 59. In response, the plaintiff filed three separate cross-motions for partial summary judgment on a number of the outstanding claims. See Pl.'s Cross-Mot. Part. Summ. J., NSC 444 ECF No. 72, NSC 445 ECF Nos. 70, 73. During the course of briefing these motions, the parties continued to engage in settlement negotiations to an effort to narrow the issues requiring resolution by the Court. See Sec. Joint Mot. Amend Summ. J. Briefing Schedule at 1, NSC 444 ECF No. 82. In light of these ongoing discussions, the Court stayed these actions and directed the parties to inform the Court of any issues still in dispute when their negotiations were complete. See NSC 444 Minute Order, dated Mar. 16, 2015.

         On April 2, 2015, the parties jointly notified the Court that, of its original claims, NSC continued to challenge only the sufficiency of the defendants' searches with respect to the FOIA requests at issue in NSC 444 Counts Eighteen and Twenty, and NSC 445 Counts One, Two, Three, and Seven. See Joint Summ. Remaining Disputes (“Joint Summ.”), NSC 444 ECF No. 88. In addition, NSC still challenges the withholding, in full or in part, of 216 agency records identified by the defendants in an updated Vaughn index. See id., Ex. (“Combined Vaughn Index”), NSC 444 ECF No. 88-1.[3] This apparent progress notwithstanding, NSC also indicated its intent to file two motions, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54, seeking reconsideration of this Court's prior dismissal of two of its claims against the CIA and DOJ. Id. at 2 n.1. While ultimately declining to file one of these expected motions, see Pl.'s Not. Non-Filing Mot., NSC 445 ECF No. 85, NSC has moved for reconsideration of various aspects of the Court's prior disposition of its claim in Count Three of NSC 443. Pl.'s Part. Mot. Recon., NSC 444 ECF No. 89.

         Each of the parties' three pending motions have been fully briefed and are now ripe for consideration. For ease of reference, these three motions are: (1) the defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment on All Remaining Claims, NSC 444 ECF No. 60, NSC 445 ECF No. 59; (2) the plaintiff's Motion for Partial Reconsideration, NSC 444 ECF No. 89; and (3) the plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Partial Summary Judgment addressing the plaintiff's underlying FOIA challenges, NSC 445 ECF No. 70.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Congress enacted the FOIA as a means “to open agency action to the light of public scrutiny, ” Am. Civil Liberties Union v. U.S. Dep't of Justice, 750 F.3d 927, 929 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (quoting Dep't of Air Force v. Rose, 425 U.S. 352, 361 (1976)), and “to promote the ‘broad disclosure of Government records' by generally requiring federal agencies to make their records available to the public on request, ” DiBacco v. U.S. Army, 795 F.3d 178, 183 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (citing U.S. Dep't of Justice v. Julian, 486 U.S. 1, 8 (1988)). As the Supreme Court has “consistently recognized[, ] . . . the basic objective of the Act is disclosure.” Chrysler Corp. v. Brown, 441 U.S. 281, 290 (1979). At the same time, the statute represents a “balance [of] the public's interest in governmental transparency against legitimate governmental and private interests [that] could be harmed by release of certain types of information.” United Techs. Corp. v. U.S. Dep't of Def., 601 F.3d 557, 559 (D.C. Cir. 2010) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Reflecting that balance, the FOIA contains nine exemptions set forth in 5 U.S.C. § 552(b), which “are explicitly made exclusive and must be narrowly construed.” Milner v. U.S. Dep't of Navy, 562 U.S. 562, 565 (2011) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted) (citing FBI v. Abramson, 456 U.S. 615, 630 (1982)); see Murphy v. Exec. Office for U.S. Attys., 789 F.3d 204, 206 (D.C. Cir. 2015); Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Wash. v. U.S. Dep't of Justice (“CREW”), 746 F.3d 1082, 1088 (D.C. Cir. 2014); Pub. Citizen, Inc. v. Office of Mgmt. & Budget, 598 F.3d 865, 869 (D.C. Cir. 2010). “[T]hese limited exemptions do not obscure the basic policy that disclosure, not secrecy, is the dominant objective of the Act.” Rose, 425 U.S. at 361.

         The agency invoking an exemption to the FOIA has the burden “to establish that the requested information is exempt.” Fed. Open Mkt. Comm. of Fed. Reserve Sys. v. Merrill, 443 U.S. 340, 352 (1979); see U.S. Dep't of Justice v. Reporters Comm. for Freedom of Press, 489 U.S. 749, 755 (1989); DiBacco, 795 F.3d at 195; CREW, 746 F.3d at 1088; Elec. Frontier Found. v. U.S. Dep't of Justice, 739 F.3d 1, 7 (D.C. Cir. 2014), cert. denied sub nom. Elec. Frontier Found. v. Dep't of Justice, 135 S.Ct. 356 (2014); Assassination Archives & Research Ctr. v. CIA, 334 F.3d 55, 57 (D.C. Cir. 2003). In order to carry this burden, an agency must submit sufficiently detailed affidavits or declarations, a Vaughn index of the withheld documents, [4] or both, to demonstrate that the government has analyzed carefully any material withheld, to enable the court to fulfill its duty of ruling on the applicability of the exemption, and to enable the adversary system to operate by giving the requester as much information as possible, on the basis of which the requester's case may be presented to the trial court. See Oglesby v. U.S. Dep't of Army, 79 F.3d 1172, 1176 (D.C. Cir. 1996) (“The description and explanation the agency offers should reveal as much detail as possible as to the nature of the document, without actually disclosing information that deserves protection . . . [which] serves the purpose of providing the requestor with a realistic opportunity to challenge the agency's decision.” (citation omitted)); see also CREW, 746 F.3d at 1088 (“The agency may carry that burden by submitting affidavits that ‘describe the justifications for nondisclosure with reasonably specific detail, demonstrate that the information withheld logically falls within the claimed exemption, and are not controverted by either contrary evidence in the record nor by evidence of agency bad faith.'” (quoting Larson v. U.S. Dep't of State, 565 F.3d 857, 862 (D.C. Cir. 2009)). While “an agency's task is not herculean[, ]” it must “describe the justifications for nondisclosure with reasonably specific detail and demonstrate that the information withheld logically falls within the claimed exemption.” Murphy, 789 F.3d at 209 (internal quotation marks omitted) (citing Larson, 565 F.3d at 862).

         The FOIA provides federal courts with the power to “enjoin the agency from withholding agency records and to order the production of any agency records improperly withheld from the complainant, ” 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(B), and “directs district courts to determine de novo whether non-disclosure was permissible, ” Elec. Privacy Info. Ctr. v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec., 777 F.3d 518, 522 (D.C. Cir. 2015). A district court must review the Vaughn index and any supporting declarations “to verify the validity of each claimed exemption.” Summers v. U.S. Dep't of Justice, 140 F.3d 1077, 1080 (D.C. Cir. 1998). Moreover, a district court has an “affirmative duty” to consider whether the agency has produced all segregable, non-exempt information. Elliott v. U.S. Dep't of Agric., 596 F.3d 842, 851 (D.C. Cir. 2010) (referring to court's “affirmative duty to consider the segregability issue sua sponte ”) (quoting Morley v. CIA, 508 F.3d 1108, 1123 (D.C. Cir. 2007)); Stolt-Nielsen Transp. Grp. Ltd. v. United States, 534 F.3d 728, 734 (D.C. Cir. 2008) (“[B]efore approving the application of a FOIA exemption, the district court must make specific findings of segregability regarding the documents to be withheld.”) (quoting Sussman v. U.S. Marshals Serv., 494 F.3d 1106, 1116 (D.C. Cir. 2007)); Trans-Pac. Policing Agreement v. U.S. Customs Serv., 177 F.3d 1022, 1028 (D.C. Cir. 1999) (“[W]e believe that the District Court had an affirmative duty to consider the segregability issue sua sponte . . . even if the issue has not been specifically raised by the FOIA plaintiff.”); see also 5 U.S.C. § 552(b) (“Any reasonably segregable portion of a record shall be provided to any person requesting such record after deletion of the portions which are exempt under this subsection.”).

         “In FOIA cases, summary judgment may be granted on the basis of agency affidavits if they contain reasonable specificity of detail rather than merely conclusory statements, and if they are not called into question by contradictory evidence in the record or by evidence of agency bad faith.” Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Secret Serv., 726 F.3d 208, 215 (D.C. Cir. 2013) (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Consumer Fed'n of Am. v. U.S. Dep't of Agric., 455 F.3d 283, 287 (D.C. Cir. 2006)). “Ultimately, an agency's justification for invoking a FOIA exemption is sufficient if it appears ‘logical' or ‘plausible.'” Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Dep't of Def., 715 F.3d 937, 941 (D.C. Cir. 2013) (quoting Am. Civil Liberties Union v. U.S. Dep't of Def., 628 F.3d 612, 619 (D.C. Cir. 2011)); Larson, 565 F.3d at 862 (quoting Wolf v. CIA, 473 F.3d 370, 374-75 (D.C. Cir. 2007)).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Over the last five years, a majority of the dozens of claims alleged by the plaintiff in connection with numerous FOIA requests submitted to the defendants between 2009 and 2011 have been resolved. Nonetheless, while the issues still in dispute between the parties have been substantially narrowed, the three pending motions present a number of outstanding issues that will be addressed as follows: first, the plaintiff's motion for reconsideration of the Court's grant of summary judgment to the CIA on Count Three of NSC 443 is discussed. Next, the plaintiff's remaining challenges to the defendants' responses to its FOIA requests will be considered, beginning with an assessment of the adequacy of the CIA's search for responsive agency records, which the plaintiff challenges in NSC 444 Counts Eighteen and Twenty, and NSC 445 Counts One, Two, Three, and Seven. Finally, the legal sufficiency of the defendants' justification for their withholdings under FOIA Exemptions 3 and 5, in response to the plaintiff's FOIA requests described in NSC 445 Counts One, Two, Three, Five, Six, Seven, and Eight, are reviewed.

         A. NSC's Motion for Reconsideration is Denied, and All Remaining Claims Alleged in NSC 443 are Conceded

         The plaintiff has renewed its request, first asserted in Count Three of NSC 443, for additional information responsive to a May 12, 2010 FOIA request for the Tables of Contents (“TOCs”) from all back issues of the CIA in-house journal, Studies in Intelligence, through a motion for reconsideration. See Pl.'s Part. Mot. Recon.; NSC 443 Compl. ¶ 30.

         The CIA has withheld certain material appearing in these TOCs, including numerous authors' names, as well as a smaller number of article titles and other related information, under FOIA Exemption 1, NSC II, 960 F.Supp.2d at 168, which exempts from disclosure “matters that are . . . (A) specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy and (B) are in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive order, ” 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(1). Arguing that such withholding is improper, the plaintiff contends that certain of this information has been made public through other official agency sources, including the CIA's public website. See NSC II, 960 F.Supp.2d at 168. According to the plaintiff, the apparent release of some of this information through other official avenues undercuts the CIA's assertion that all of the material it has withheld in response to the FOIA request at issue is subject to Exemption 1. Id. at 168-169.

         In August 2013, the Court concluded that the agency had met its burden of producing all responsive, non-exempt information included in the relevant TOCs. Id. at 171. In reaching this conclusion, the Court noted that federal agencies maintain no “affirmative duty to ascertain whether information has been made publicly available before deciding to withhold it from release under the FOIA.” Id. at 169 (citing Davis v. U.S. Dep't of Justice, 968 F.2d 1276, 1279 (D.C. Cir. 1992)). Accordingly, the withholding of information potentially available through other means does not necessarily suggest that an agency's response to a particular FOIA request was careless or otherwise legally inadequate. Id. at 169. Moreover, the Court credited the CIA's assertion that, based on its review of materials made available on its public website, the agency released “any officially disclosed information” falling within the scope of the plaintiff's FOIA request as of November 2012. Id. 169-70 (citing Supp. Decl. Martha M. Lutz (Nov. 15, 2012) (“NSC 443 Lutz Decl.”) ¶ 7, NSC 443 ECF No. 43-1). The Court thus concluded that the agency properly invoked Exemption 1 to withhold any other information included in the TOCs and granted summary judgment to the CIA in all relevant respects. Id. at 171; see also Order, NSC 444 ECF No. 58.[5] Thereafter, following an extended dispute regarding the agency's responsibility to produce these records electronically, the CIA voluntarily produced electronic versions of records the agency produced in an earlier paper production to the plaintiff in October 2014. See Pl.'s Part. Mot. Recon. at 3.

         Nearly a year and a half later, the plaintiff filed the present motion seeking reconsideration of the August 2013 Order and attacking anew the credibility of the CIA's assurance that it had produced all information included in the TOCs that, at the time of its original production, had been previously officially disclosed by the agency. Pl.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. Part. Recon. (“Pl.'s Recon. Mem.”) at 2-5, NSC 444 ECF No. 89. In support, the plaintiff cites the CIA's most recent electronic production in connection with the present actions as further evidence that publicly disclosed information has been wrongfully withheld. This most recent production, completed in October 2014 following the parties' resolution of the plaintiff's request for responsive documents in electronic format, ostensibly comprised the same materials previously produced to the plaintiff in hardcopy. See Pl.'s Not. Withdrawal Cross-Mots. Part. Summ. J., NSC 444 ECF No. 86 at 1 (explaining that the CIA, “by providing electronic copies of the requested records, . . . has rendered moot” the parties' dispute regarding the agency's responsibility to provide responsive records in electronic format). According to plaintiff, however, the records produced by the agency were “reprocessed” by the agency prior to being released in electronic format. Fourth Decl. Kelly McClanahan, Esq. (Apr. 15, 2015) ¶¶ 4, 7, NSC 444 ECF No. 89-1. Noting various inconsistencies between this electronic production and the materials previously provided in hardcopy, the plaintiff highlights two categories of information that, in the plaintiff's view, demonstrate that the agency continues to withhold officially released information.

         First, the plaintiff contends that, in its most recent electronic production, the CIA continued to withhold the bulk of the information previously identified by the plaintiff as having been officially disclosed prior to November 2012. Pl.'s Recon. Mem. at 3. Second, the plaintiff asserts that, in the months following the August 2013 Order, the CIA officially released additional information that the agency likewise withheld in the October 2014 electronic production. Id. at 3-4. This new information derives in part from documents released in connection with another FOIA matter currently pending before this Court. Id. at 6-7; Fourth Decl. Kelly McClanahan, Esq. (Apr. 15, 2015) ¶ 9 (citing Scudder v. CIA, No. 12-807 (D.D.C. filed May 16, 2012)). In light of this evidence, the plaintiff seeks an order directing the CIA to renew its search for publicly released information in order to supplement its October 2014 production. Pl.'s Recon. Mem. at 5. Though acknowledging that it has already obtained some portion of the additional information it seeks (i.e., those materials the plaintiff has identified as publicly available), the plaintiff explains that its effort to obtain this information directly from the agency is essential to its goal of providing “researchers and students with a comprehensive set of TOCs for [Studies in Intelligence] that they could then use to guide their research.” Id. at 5 n.6.

         In light of the inconsistencies identified by the plaintiff in the CIA's hardcopy and electronic productions, the Court directed the agency to provide an explanation for any such differences, as well as any steps taken by the agency to remedy these discrepancies. NSC 444 Minute Order, dated May 10, 2016. In response, the agency submitted an additional proffer describing in greater detail the contents of its October 2014 electronic production. Def.'s Resp. Court's Order Dated May 10, 2016 (“CIA Resp.”), NSC 444 ECF No. 96. As an initial matter, the agency explained that it did not “reprocess” the records previously found to be responsive to the plaintiff's FOIA request in making its electronic production. Id. at 2. Instead, “[a]s a courtesy to NSC, ” the CIA acknowledged that it “remove[d] redactions from certain information” that the agency released in connection with the Scudder action cited by the plaintiff. Id. Further, in response to the plaintiff's claim that certain information produced in hardcopy was not included in the subsequent electronic production, the CIA provided additional electronic copies of each of the documents identified by the plaintiff as missing from the latter production. Id. at 3-4.

         Finally, with regard to any additional information released publicly by the agency in the period between its hardcopy and electronic productions, the CIA contends that, after initially processing the plaintiff's FOIA request in December 2011 and February 2012, “[i]t did not and was not required to revisit and reprocess each of its redactions before providing NSC with electronic copies of the responsive records” in October 2014. Id. at 4. To the contrary, the CIA argues that requiring the agency to reprocess each of its redactions before providing the plaintiff with electronic records the agency had already produced in hardcopy is inconsistent with this Court's precedent. Id. (citing authorities).

         1.Legal Standard

         A motion for reconsideration under Rule 59(e) is “‘not simply an opportunity to reargue facts and theories upon which a court has already ruled, '” Fresh Kist Produce, LLC v. Choi Corp., 251 F.Supp.2d 138, 140 (D.D.C. 2003) (quoting New York v. United States, 880 F.Supp. 37, 38 (D.D.C. 1995)), nor is it a “vehicle to present a new legal theory that was available prior to judgment, ” Patton Boggs LLP v. Chevron Corp., 683 F.3d 397, 403 (D.C. Cir. 2012) (citing Fox v. Am. Airlines, Inc., 389 F.3d 1291, 1296 (D.C. Cir. 2004)); see also Standing Order ¶ 14, NSC 444 ECF No. 4. Instead, a “Rule 59(e) motion is discretionary and need not be granted unless the district court finds that there is an intervening change of controlling law, the availability of new evidence, or the need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice.” Fox, 389 F.3d 1291, 1296 (D.C. Cir. 2004) (citing Firestone v. Firestone, 76 F.3d 1205, 1208 (D.C. Cir. 1996); see also Mohammadi v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 782 F.3d 9, 17 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (quoting Patton Boggs, 683 F.3d at 403)). In considering such a motion, the D.C. Circuit has cautioned that, as a general rule, courts should “be loath to [reconsider their prior rulings in the midst of a given proceeding] in the absence of extraordinary circumstances such as where the initial decision was clearly erroneous and would work a manifest injustice.” PNC Fin. Servs. Grp., Inc. v. Comm'r, 503 F.3d 119, 127-28 (D.C. Cir. 2007) (internal quotations omitted) (quoting Christianson v. Colt Indus. Operating Corp., 486 U.S. 800, 817 (1988)).

         2.Discussion

         Despite the D.C. Circuit's admonition against reconsideration of prior rulings absent extraordinary circumstances, the parties' arguments in connection with the present motion largely parallel those advanced in connection with the CIA's original request for summary judgment. As before, the plaintiff argues that evidence, in the form of information it avers has been published on the CIA's website and other official channels, undermines the agency's assertion that all previously officially released information has been included in its most recent production. The plaintiff charges that this publicly available information demonstrates that the agency “fundamentally misled the Court” regarding the extent of the agency's efforts to identify previously released information and its corresponding effort to ensure that all information withheld in connection with the instant FOIA request is properly subject to FOIA Exemption 1. Pl.'s Recon. Mem. at 3.

         The CIA responds that the plaintiff has mischaracterized the agency's prior representations to the Court, explaining that “[w]hile the CIA produced the information that it determined had been officially disclosed, it did not claim, either in its declaration or its motion papers, that it produced the information that Plaintiff alleged was publicly available.” Def.'s Opp'n Pl.'s Mot. Part. Reconsideration (“Def.'s Recon. Opp'n”) at 6, NSC 444 ECF No. 91 (emphasis in original). Thus, the agency reiterates its prior assertion, credited by this Court, that it has undertaken reasonable efforts to identify any information included in the TOCs that was officially disclosed prior to November 2012 and has included this information in its most recent production to NSC. Id. at 7-8. In response, the plaintiff points to the agency's distinction between (1) information NSC contends has been officially released and (2) information that, while publicly available, the agency has not determined to have been officially released, “encapsulates the reason NSC filed [the instant reconsideration m]otion.” Pl.'s Reply Supp. Mot. Part. Recon. at 3 (“Pl.'s Recon. Reply”), NSC 444 ECF No. 93. In short, the plaintiff asks the Court, upon consideration of additional evidence purportedly showing that records published on the CIA's website have been withheld by the agency, to reexamine its holding that the CIA undertook reasonable efforts to ensure that all withheld information is exempt from disclosure under Exemption 1. Id.

         Having reviewed this evidence, however, the Court concludes that reconsideration of its prior holding is not warranted. The present motion rests primarily on the plaintiff's view that its proffered evidence demonstrates that the Court, in granting summary judgment to the CIA, misunderstood the extent of the agency's production. Pl.'s Recon. Mem. at 3-4. According to the plaintiff, given this purported misunderstanding, the prior holding in favor of the CIA was clearly erroneous and must be revisited. Pl.'s Recon. Reply at 1. As before, however, the Court is not persuaded that the evidence proffered by the plaintiff meaningfully undermines the agency's assurance that it undertook reasonable steps to produce all non-exempt records responsive to the plaintiff's FOIA request.

         In response to NSC's FOIA request, the CIA located and produced TOCs from 148 issues of Studies in Intelligence published over the last five decades, each of which included, on average, entries for ten separate articles. NSC 443 Lutz Decl. ¶¶ 4-5. At the behest of the plaintiff, agency officials searched both the agency's public website and the CIA's internal databases “to determine whether the [a]gency had made any previous releases of” the information included in these TOCs. Id. ¶ 7. Following these supplemental searches, the agency's declarant averred that the agency released any previously disclosed information included in the TOCs to the NSC in connection with its request for these materials. Id. Nonetheless, in opposing summary judgment in the first instance, the plaintiff argued that the agency's wrongfully withheld certain previously disclosed information and requested the release of additional material withheld in forty-one of the roughly 1, 500 total entries included in the TOCs produced by the agency. Id. ¶ 8 (emphasizing that the challenged withholdings equate to less than three percent of the total volume of material produced to NSC).

         As to this original set of challenged withholdings, a significant majority of this material falls outside the stipulated scope of the plaintiff's present FOIA request. From the forty-one entries at issue, the plaintiff identified eighty “pieces of substantive information, ” which it defines to include “an article's author, an article title, or the descriptive text accompanying the article title, ” it believes were wrongfully withheld by the agency. Pl.'s Recon. Mem. at 3 & n.4. Of this total, at least sixty are the names of authors that appear in publicly released copies of specific articles, but which are redacted in the TOCs produced to the plaintiff. See generally In Camera Decl. Kelly McClanahan (Oct. 29, 2012), NSC 443 ECF No. 58-1. Yet, the plaintiff voluntarily agreed to limit the scope of its challenge in this action to the redaction of article titles, thus forgoing any claim to the release of information about authors' names in connection with the present FOIA request. NSC II, 960 F.Supp.2d at 170 n.37. Moreover, even assuming these authors' names were responsive to NSC's request, the agency explains that the disclosure of an author's name in a particular context, or in connection with a particular article, does not necessarily permit the disclosure of this individual's name as it appears in other agency documents, since relevant information (e.g., the author's position and title) may change over time. NSC 443 Lutz Decl. ¶ 9; see also Mobley v. CIA, 806 F.3d 568, 583 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (explaining that an item of information is “officially acknowledged” and therefore subject to disclosure only where, inter alia, the information requested is “as specific as the information previously released” and “match[es] the information previously disclosed” (internal quotations omitted) (quoting Fitzgibbon v. CIA, 911 F.2d 755, 765 (D.C. Cir. 1990))).

         Even crediting the plaintiff's submission that the remaining information it has identified has been officially released, however, the Court is not convinced that the redaction of certain previously released material meaningfully undermines the CIA's assertion that it has taken reasonable steps to ensure that all withheld information is properly subject to Exemption 1. As noted above, an agency responding to a FOIA request bears no obligation to determine whether material subject to a FOIA exemption has elsewhere been publicly released before withholding this material in connection with a particular request. Davis, 968 F.2d at 1279. Nonetheless, here, the agency agreed to conduct an additional review of its publicly available online resources to attempt to identify any previously released material, and then did release additional information to the plaintiff as a result of this search. See Pl.'s Recon. Mem. at 3 (acknowledging that the agency released “some classification codes” identified by NSC as having been previously released). With these “eminently reasonable efforts” to identify officially released information in mind, the plaintiff's scattered examples of withheld information that may be otherwise publicly available does little to “undercut the ‘substantial weight' accorded to ‘an agency's affidavit concerning the details of the classified status of the disputed record.'” NSC II, 960 F.Supp.2d at 169 (citing Afshar v. U.S. Dep't of State, 702 F.2d 1125, 1131 (D.C. Cir. 1983)); accord DiBacco v. U.S. Army, 795 F.3d at 191 (noting that an agency's “‘failure to turn up a particular document . . . does not undermine the determination that the agency conducted an adequate search for the requested records'” (quoting Wilbur v. CIA, 355 F.3d 675, 678 (D.C. Cir. 2004))).

         Second, as to the information publicly disclosed since the August 2013 Order, the plaintiff offers no reason to suggest that the exclusion of this information from the agency's October 2014 electronic production is relevant to the present dispute. As the agency clarified in its most recent submission, the electronic records produced in October 2014 were largely identical to the records previously produced in hardcopy to NSC. CIA Resp. at 2. Any inconsistencies between these productions were the result of either (1) the CIA's voluntary disclosure of additional information released publicly after the agency's original hardcopy production, or (2) inadvertent withholdings of information released in hardcopy format, which the CIA has since cured through the production of additional electronic records. Id. at 2-4.

         While NSC suggests that these minor inconsistencies substantially undermine the agency's credibility regarding the adequacy of its initial search, Pl.'s Recon. Mem. at 4, the plaintiff offers no basis for concluding that the failure to take account of information released only after that search in any way undercuts the agency's assurance that all information publicly released as of the original search was produced to NSC. As the D.C. Circuit has emphasized, given the premium Congress places on rapid processing of FOIA requests, judicial review of agency responses to FOIA requests “properly focuses on the time the determination to withhold is made.” Bonner v. U.S. Dep't of State, 928 F.2d 1148, 1152 (D.C. Cir. 1991) (citing Afshar v. Department of State, 702 F.2d 1125, 1138 n. 18 (D.C. Cir. 1983)). “To require an agency to adjust or modify its FOIA responses based on post-response occurrences could create an endless cycle of judicially mandated reprocessing.” Id.; see also Am. Civil Liberties Union v. U.S. Dep't of Justice, No. 15-5217, 2016 WL 1657953, at *4 (D.C. Cir. Apr. 21, 2016) (per curiam). Thus, even assuming the agency has disclosed additional responsive information since the Court's August 2013 ruling, the plaintiff offers no support for the proposition that this information should have been incorporated into the agency's subsequent electronic production. Thus, the exclusion of any additional newly released information from these records is irrelevant to the Court's consideration of the sufficiency of the agency's production prior to the August 2013 Order.

         In sum, the existence of a certain limited information withheld in response to the plaintiff's request that has been subsequently publicly released by the CIA through other means does not persuasively demonstrate that the Court's prior grant of summary judgment was premised on any omission or misrepresentation by the CIA. At the same time, while cognizant of the plaintiff's asserted interest in obtaining a comprehensive set of TOCs in response to its present FOIA request, the Court discerns no significant injustice in declining to reconsider its prior ruling on this issue. By definition, any additional information to which the plaintiff is entitled is already available to the public. Any inconvenience to the plaintiff in compiling the information it has acquired through other sources with the information it has obtained by means of the present FOIA request is simply insufficient to support NSC's request for more comprehensive disclosure. Accordingly, the plaintiff's effort to relitigate this issue is denied.

         The plaintiff likewise renews its request for a sua sponte Order from the Court directing the CIA to release the names of all authors identified in the TOCs whose names have been previously officially disclosed through other avenues. Pl.'s Recon. Mem. at 5-6. As the Court previously explained, in bringing the present action, the plaintiff voluntarily agreed to limit the scope of its challenge to the titles of articles appearing in the TOCs that the plaintiff believes have been wrongfully withheld. NSC II, 960 F.Supp.2d at 170 n.37; see also Pl.'s In Camera Opp'n Def. CIA's Mot. Summ J. on Count 3 at 2, NSC 443 ECF No. 58 (“NSC admits that it did agree not to formally challenge any withholdings of authors' names, [but] it made that agreement before learning the true extent of CIA's improper invocations of the CIA Act to withhold this information.” (internal citation omitted)). Nonetheless, in seeking reconsideration, the plaintiff again asks the Court to consider, sua sponte, a challenge to the CIA's withholding of authors' names from certain tables of contents that the plaintiff agreed not to make. For the reasons previously articulated, see NSC II, 960 F.Supp.2d at 170 n.37, the plaintiff's invitation to rule on matters not properly before the Court is declined and, accordingly, the plaintiff's request for reconsideration on this score is also denied.[6]

         Apart from its partial request for reconsideration, the plaintiff has conceded all remaining claims arising under NSC 443. In its initial opposition to the defendants' request for summary judgment, the plaintiff continued to dispute the adequacy of the CIA's search for eleven Studies in Intelligence articles responsive to the FOIA request at issue in Count One of Case No. 443, and one redaction from one document produced in response to that request. Pl.'s Mem. Opp'n Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. & Supp. Pl.'s Cross-Mot. Part. Summ. J. (“Pl.'s 444 Opp'n”) at 2-3, NSC 444 ECF No. 71. In reply, however, the CIA indicated that these outstanding disputes had been resolved in discussions between the parties, Def.'s Reply Supp. Mot. Summ. J. & Opp'n Pl.'s Cross-Mots. Summ. J. (“Def.'s 444 Reply”) at 1, NSC 444 ECF No. 83, and the parties made no mention of these issues in their subsequent joint status report identifying those documents and redactions that remain in controversy in this case, see generally Joint Summ. Indeed, in response to the Court's Order seeking additional clarification of this most recent joint status report, the parties again did not indicate that any other claims or issues in NSC 443 remain in dispute. Joint Resp. Court's 3 November 2014 Order, NSC 444 ECF No. 87. Consequently, the Court grants summary judgment to the CIA on all remaining counts of NSC 443, as conceded.

         B. Adequacy of Search Efforts

         The Court turns next to the merits of the plaintiff's remaining FOIA challenges. As previously indicated, this discussion begins with a review of the plaintiff's outstanding claims contesting the adequacy of the defendants' efforts to identify records responsive to various FOIA requests. These claims are addressed in the order in which they were filed, beginning with Counts Eighteen and Twenty in NSC 444 and then Counts One, Two, Three, and Seven in NSC 445.

         1.Legal Standard

         Upon receiving a FOIA request, federal agencies are “required to perform more than a perfunctory search” to identify potential responsive records. Ancient Coin Collectors Guild v. U.S. Dep't of State, 641 F.3d 504, 514 (D.C. Cir. 2011). Instead, the agency bears the burden of demonstrating that it “made a ‘good faith effort to conduct a search using methods which can be reasonably expected to produce the information requested.'” DiBacco, 795 F.3d at 188 (internal alterations omitted) (quoting Oglesby v. U.S. Dep't of Army, 920 F.2d 57, 68 (D.C. Cir. 1990)). To meet this burden, the agency must “demonstrate beyond material doubt that its search was ‘reasonably calculated to uncover all relevant documents.'” Valencia-Lucena v. U.S. Coast Guard, 180 F.3d 321, 325 (D.C. Cir. 1999) (quoting Truitt v. U.S. Dep't of State, 897 F.2d 540, 542 (D.C. Cir. 1990)). At the summary judgment stage, an agency may meet this burden by submitting “‘[a] reasonably detailed affidavit, setting forth the search terms and the type of search performed, and averring that all files likely to contain responsive materials (if such records exist) were searched.'” Ancient Coin Collectors Guild, 641 F.3d at 514 (quoting Valencia-Lucena, 180 F.3d at 326). Such an affidavit must “‘explain in reasonable detail the scope and method of the search conducted by the agency.'” See Morley, 508 F.3d at 1121 (quoting Perry v. Block, 684 F.2d 121, 127 (D.C. Cir. 1982)).

         2.NSC 444 Count Eighteen

         Summary judgment was previously denied to the CIA on the adequacy of its search for records responsive to the FOIA Request F-2011-00682 (“Request 682”), which agency response was challenged in Count Eighteen of NSC 444. NSC II, 960 F.Supp.2d at 151-53. Request 682 sought a “copy of all [CIA] records pertaining to the search tools and indices available to the Office of Information Management Services (“IMS”) for conducting searches of its own records in response to FOIA requests.” Id. at 127 (quoting Decl. Martha M. Lutz (Dec. 13, 2011) (“First Lutz Decl.”), Ex. Q at 1, NSC 444 ECF No. 20-3). The request was limited to “only those search tools and indices that would be personally used by IMS personnel to search IMS records systems.” Id. Summary judgment was denied because the CIA had, to that point, “failed to meet its burden” of producing a “‘reasonably detailed affidavit, setting forth the search terms and the type of search performed” so that the Court could “determine if the search was adequate.'” Id. at 151-52 (quoting Oglesby, 920 F.2d at 68). Specifically, in denying summary judgment to the agency, the Court explained that the declaration provided by the agency failed to describe the “parameters [the agency] used to accomplish the search, i.e., whether the CIA searched for the indices themselves or what search terms the CIA used to identify responsive records.” Id. at 152. Having now supplemented its prior affidavit to provide additional detail regarding the CIA's search methods, the agency again seeks summary judgment on the question of the adequacy of its search efforts. Defs.' Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. on All Remaining Claims (“Defs.' Mem.”) at 7-9, NSC 444 ECF No. 60.

         The CIA's new declaration identifies the individuals who performed the search for records responsive to Request 682, as well as the methods those individuals employed to identify potentially responsive records. See Suppl. Decl. Martha M. Lutz (Mar. 4, 2014) (“2014 Lutz Decl.”) ¶¶ 7-10, NSC 444 ECF No. 60-1. First, the agency's declarant explains that, because the plaintiff's FOIA request is limited to information related to IMS's searches of its own records, the agency's search for responsive documents was limited to IMS itself. Id. ¶ 7. To identify potentially responsive records, the agency “consulted with Information Management Technical Officers (‘IMTOs') who are knowledgeable about Agency records systems and who task and oversee searches conducted in response to FOIA requests[, and are] in the best position to provide details regarding the search tools and indices available to IMS for its own record searches.” Id. ¶ 7. The declaration explains that, according to these IMTOs, “IMS primarily uses two databases to conduct searches of its own records, the CIA's Automated Declassification and Review Environment (‘CADRE') and the Space Management and Retirement Tracking System (‘SMART2').” Id. ¶ 8. The IMTO assigned to IMS averred that neither CADRE nor SMART2 has an index that would allow a user to “browse information about a general subject matter or using some other identifier.” Id. Instead, IMS must search its databases using unique search queries designed for each FOIA request. See id.

         Nonetheless, construing Request 682 to seek agency records about the CADRE and SMART2 databases themselves, the CIA searched “an internal [agency] website . . . for descriptions of CADRE and SMART2 using the full database name and abbreviations as search terms.” Id. ¶ 9. These searches generated two responsive records, which “provide[] descriptions” of the databases and have been produced to NSC. Id. Further, “based on personal knowledge of the records systems, ” IMS personnel produced to the plaintiff a Federal Register Privacy Act Systems of Records notice describing the CIA's record systems. Id.

         The plaintiff characterizes this detailed explanation as a “complain[t] that [the CIA's] databases do not have ‘indices' and that it does not refer to anything by the term ‘search tools, '” Pl.'s 444 Opp'n at 5 (citing 2014 Lutz Decl. ¶¶ 8-9), but this misconstrues the thrust of the CIA's declaration. Indeed, as described above, the agency's declaration explains that the two databases used primarily by IMS staff to conduct searches of its own records included neither indices nor automated search tools to identify potentially responsive records. 2014 Lutz Decl. ¶ 8. Likewise, while the plaintiff points to the agency's declarations in other matters to suggest that the agency maintains additional databases of records, the agency here explains that these “databases” are in fact informal compilations of agency records, not specific to IMS, maintained by subject-matter experts at the agency. Id. ¶ 10. Request 682 is narrowly tailored to obtain records related to search tools and indices maintained by the IMS, a component within one of the CIA's five directorates. See Decl. Martha Lutz (Dec. 13, 2011) ¶¶ 35, 48, NSC 444 ECF No. 20-1. Since IMS is the component that tasks other CIA components to search for records, see Id. ¶ 34, it is not implausible that IMS itself has few databases and indices. Although the plaintiff argues that the terms “search tools” and “indices” are often used in declarations by the CIA “to describe its FOIA process to courts, ” Pl.'s 444 Opp'n at 5-6, and that “[t]hese terms mean something to whomever writes these declarations, ” id. at 7, the CIA has explained, in detail, why those terms “search tools” or “indices, ” which may apply to databases maintained by other agency components, do not apply to records maintained by IMS and IMS personnel, see 2014 Lutz Decl. ¶¶ 7-10.

         To be sure, an agency is required to “construe a FOIA request liberally, ” LaCedra v. Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys, 317 F.3d 345, 348 (D.C. Cir. 2003) (quoting Nation Magazine v. U.S. Customs Serv., 71 F.3d 885, 890 (D.C. Cir. 1995), and the CIA has done so here in the context of the tightly limited request from the plaintiff. The CIA reasonably restricted its search to IMS in light of the plaintiff's request seeking “only those search tools and indices that would be personally used by IMS personnel to search IMS records systems.” NSC II, 960 F.Supp.2d at 151-53 (emphasis added). Additionally, although he CIA avers that IMS does not consider CADRE or SMART2 to be “search tools, ” it nevertheless searched for any description of the databases since it believed the databases could be considered responsive to the request. 2014 Lutz Decl. ¶ 9. Consequently, the CIA has met its burden of describing adequately the personnel who performed the search for responsive records and the methods used in that search, and summary judgment is granted to the CIA on Count Eighteen in NSC 444.

         3.NSC 444 Count Twenty

         Along similar lines, summary judgment was previously denied to the CIA on the adequacy of its search for records responsive to the FOIA Request F-2010-00020 (“Request 020”), which search was challenged in Count Twenty in NSC 444. NSC II, 960 F.Supp.2d at 153-54. Request 020 sought copies of all CIA “records, including cross-references, pertaining to guidelines for attorneys in the Office of General Counsel (‘OGC') for the conduct of civil cases, especially pertaining to interactions between OGC attorneys and Department of Justice (‘DOJ') attorneys.” Id. at 119 (quoting First Lutz Decl., Ex. T at 1). The request was limited to “general guidelines, and records that only pertain to guidelines for a specifically named case should be excluded.” First Lutz Decl., Ex. T at 1 (emphasis in original). The CIA found no responsive records. NSC II, 960 F.Supp.2d at 153. Summary judgment was denied on this count because, as with the agency's response to Request 682, the CIA failed to explain with the requisite specificity the agency's search efforts, including the record systems searched, the search parameters used, and the process by which certain directorates were identified as those most likely to possess responsive records. Id. at 153-54.

         The CIA has resolved these issues in its supplemental declaration accompanying the present motion. The CIA's declarant avers that the “Litigation Division of the Office of General Counsel . . . would be the only office within the CIA likely to maintain records responsive to this request” because that division “handles all civil litigation to which the Agency is a party, and it also works with Department of Justice attorneys in connection with those cases.” 2014 Lutz Decl. ¶ 11. Thus, to identify potentially responsive records, IMTOs “conducted searches of the electronic records systems that house current and archival Litigation Division records, ” using a variety of search terms, including “guidelines, procedures, handbook, legal guidance, [or] instruction” as well as the terms “attorney or OGC.” Id. ¶ 12 (internal quotation marks omitted). After these searches yielded no results, the agency surveyed “Litigation Division management, ” who “are responsible for the day-to-day administration of the office and the supervision of its attorneys” and “would be responsible for drafting any guidelines governing the conduct of Litigation Division attorneys, ” in an effort to verify its search results. Id. The CIA's declarant, who is herself the Chief of the Litigation Support Unit for the CIA, personally “verified [the IMTOs'] previous findings” by conducting her own discussion with Litigation Division management. Id. These managers confirmed that they were aware of no current or historical guidelines for civil case management and that, as a general matter, “training on civil litigation matters is provided to Litigation Division attorneys orally, rather than in writing.” Id.

         Offering only a brief challenge to the CIA's renewed request for summary judgment, the plaintiff focuses on this final suggestion that Litigation Division attorneys generally obtain training orally, as opposed to through written guidelines. Pl.'s 444 Opp'n at 7. Plainly dubious of the agency's assertions on this score, the plaintiff alleges that, even assuming most training is delivered orally, “any records of that ‘oral training' would be responsive” to Request 020, and the “CIA shows no indication of ever searching for” such records. Id.

         Neither the plaintiff's apparent incredulity regarding the dearth of responsive records, nor its related speculation regarding the potential existence of undiscovered responsive records, is sufficient to overcome the agency's request for summary judgment. As an initial matter, because the Litigation Division handles all civil cases for the CIA, it is reasonable to believe that any “guidelines for attorneys in the Office of General Counsel . . . for the conduct of civil cases, ” First Lutz Decl., Ex. T at 1, would be held by the Litigation Division. Within this division, the CIA searched for all records pertaining to “guidelines, procedures . . . legal guidance, [and] instruction, ” using search terms reasonably calculated to identify such materials, and further conferred with Litigation Division managers in an attempt to locate any responsive records. 2014 Lutz Decl. ¶ 12. Contrary to the plaintiff's creative parsing of the agency's declaration, the search terms used did not distinguish between oral or written training, nor is there any evidence that any such limit was raised during conversations with the division's managers. See Id. Accordingly, the detailed description provided in the agency's most recent declaration provides enough specificity to find that the search for records responsive to FOIA 020 was sufficient and, therefore, summary judgment is granted to the CIA as to Count Twenty in NSC 444.

         4.NSC 445 Counts One, Two, Three, and Seven

         The plaintiff next challenges the adequacy of the CIA's search in connection with four FOIA requests submitted in late 2009 and early 2010, which are the subject of Counts One, Two, Three, and Seven of NSC 445. Summary judgment was previously granted to the CIA as to the adequacy of the agency's search efforts on each of these counts. See NSC II, 960 F.Supp.2d at 209-10. Irrespective of this prior disposition, however, the plaintiff now maintains that the adequacy of the CIA's searches “is still in controversy.” Pl.'s Mem. Opp'n Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. on All Remaining Claims & Supp. Pl.'s Cross-Mot. Part. Summ. J. (“Pl.'s 445 Opp'n”) at 3, NSC 445 ECF No. 69.

         According to the plaintiff, the Court previously approved the agency's search efforts “without the benefit of knowing what was actually in the records” produced by the agency. Id. This assertion is put forth in the plaintiff's opposition and cross-motion for summary judgment, while invoking Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) to urge that “the Court should revise its earlier opinion and hold that CIA failed to perform an adequate search in those four counts.” Id.[7]In this sense, the plaintiff's present opposition is more properly construed as a separate motion for reconsideration of the Court's prior disposition of this aspect of these claims.

         Nonetheless, however styled, the plaintiff's request to revisit the Court's prior holding on this issue is denied for two reasons. First, the plaintiff has waived any challenge to the adequacy of CIA's searches for records responsive to the requests in Counts One, Two, Three, and Seven. In the round of summary briefing that resulted in NSC II, the plaintiff specifically challenged the adequacy of the searches conducted by State and the NSA, but made no argument regarding the CIA's search efforts. Pl.'s Opp'n Defs.' 445 Mot. Summ. J. (“Pl.'s NSC II 445 Opp'n”) at 35, NSC 445 ECF No. 33. Thus, NSC waived any challenge to the adequacy of the CIA's search. See Students Against Genocide v. U.S. Dep't of State, 257 F.3d 828, 834-35 (D.C. Cir. 2001) (affirming the district court's holding that FOIA requester waived an issue by failing to raise in in an earlier proceeding); Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Wash. v. U.S. Dep't of Educ., 905 F.Supp.2d 161, 168 n.5 (D.D.C. 2012) (finding argument not raised in summary judgment regarding processing of FOIA request waived).

         Second, while Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) permits “any order or other decision, however designated, that adjudicates fewer than all the claims” in a matter to “be revised at any time before the entry of a judgment adjudicating all the claims, ” such revisions are not mandated by the rule. See Filebark v. U.S. Dep't of Transp., 555 F.3d 1009, 1013 (D.C. Cir. 2009) (noting district court “was free to reconsider” a motion under 54(b)'s permissive scheme). A district court may exercise its discretion “[a]s justice requires, ” such as when “the court has patently misunderstood a party, has made a decision outside the adversarial issues presented to the [c]ourt by the parties, has made an error not of reasoning, but of apprehension, or where a controlling or significant change in the law or facts [has occurred] since the submission of the issue to the court.” Estate of Botvin ex rel. Ellis v. Islamic Republic of Iran, 772 F.Supp.2d 218, 223 (D.D.C. 2011) (internal quotations and citations omitted). The plaintiff has not even addressed these factors, let alone offered enough evidence to convince the Court that “justice requires” a reversal of its previous grant of summary judgment based on arguments the plaintiff could have, but explicitly chose not to raise. See Patton Boggs LLP, 683 F.3d at 403 (explaining that a motion for reconsideration is not a “vehicle to present a new legal theory that was available prior to judgment”). Indeed, to the extent that the Court's prior holding in favor of the CIA failed to take into account the contents of the materials produced to the plaintiff, this is precisely because the plaintiff failed to bring this issue to the Court's attention in connection with the CIA's earlier motion. For these reasons, the plaintiff's request to revisit this prior ruling in favor of the CIA is denied.[8]

* * *

         In sum, summary judgment is granted to the CIA on Counts Eighteen and Twenty in NSC 444 with regard to the adequacy of the CIA's search efforts. Likewise, summary judgment is granted, again, to the CIA as to the adequacy of its search efforts in Counts One, Two, Three, and Seven in NSC 445.

         C. Remaining Challenged Withholdings

         The Court turns next to the parties' remaining disputes regarding the defendants' withholding of certain documents, either in full or in part, under various FOIA exemptions. As noted, the parties have provide an updated Vaughn index describing the withheld agency records still subject to dispute, as well as the defendants' asserted bases for refusing to produce these materials to the plaintiff. As set out in this updated Vaughn index, the parties have resolved all outstanding disputes stemming from FOIA requests addressed in NSC 444 and have narrowed the universe of documents still in dispute in NSC 445. Specifically, the plaintiff continues to challenge agency withholdings under FOIA Exemptions 3 and 5 in connection with FOIA requests addressed in NSC 445 Counts One, Two, Three, Five, Six, Seven, and Eight.

         Analysis of the plaintiff's continued challenges is organized according to the exemption invoked by the defendants in withholding responsive records, beginning with those records withheld under Exemption 3 by the CIA and then turning to records withheld under Exemption 5 by the CIA, DIA and ODNI. To meet their burden of establishing that the requested information was properly withheld under either asserted exemption, Elec. Frontier Found., 739 F.3d at 7, the defendants must show that the asserted justification for invoking the relevant FOIA exemption is “‘logical' or ‘plausible, '” Judicial Watch, Inc., 715 F.3d at 941.

         1.Exemption 3

         First, the plaintiff continues to challenge the withholding, in whole or in part, under FOIA Exemption 3 of eighteen agency records by the CIA, which is the only defendant here to rely on Exemption 3. These eighteen withheld records were responsive to the ...


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