United States District Court, District of Columbia
G. SULLIVAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
appearing pro se, challenged in a 57-count complaint
the responses of several Department of Justice components, as
well as those of the Internal Revenue Service and the
National Archives and Records Administration, to his sweeping
requests for records under the Freedom of Information Act
(“FOIA”) and the Privacy Act. On March 30, 2017,
the Court granted summary judgment to the defendants, except
as to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's
(“FBI”) withholding of information from its June
15, 2015 release and the Executive Office for United States
Attorneys' (“EOUSA”) referral of records to
the United States Postal Inspection Service
(“USPIS”). See Mem. Op. and Order
(“Mem. Op. 1”) [Dkt. # 50]. Pending is the
renewed motion of EOUSA and the FBI for summary judgment
[Dkt. # 54]. For the reasons explained below, the motion will
referral was in response to plaintiff's request for
records containing “the name Joan Markman, Esquire,
” of whom plaintiff had provided proof of death. Mem.
Op. 1 at 4. EOUSA properly referred “Memorandums of
Interviews” to USPIS, see Mem. Op. 1 at 4,
26-27, but the Court could not determine which entity, EOUSA
or USPIS, had released responsive records, when it occurred,
and what exactly was released. Id. at 27. EOUSA has
now shown that USPIS released all of the 34 referred
documents to plaintiff on February 17, 2016, after redacting
third-party identifying information-save Markman's-under
FOIA exemptions 6 and 7(C). Decl. of Kimberly Mungin
¶¶ 8-9 [Dkt. # 54-4]; see also Decl. of
Kimberly Williams ¶¶ 5-7 [Dkt. # 31-12]. The Court
has previously approved the withholding of similar
information under Exemption 7(C), and it applies the same
reasoning to USPIS's redactions. See Mem. Op. 1
at 23-24. As a result, EOUSA is now entitled to summary
judgment on all claims.
30, 2015, the FBI informed plaintiff that it had processed
130 responsive records. It released 102 pages, 94 of which
contained redactions, and withheld 28 pages in full. Second
Decl. of David M. Hardy ¶ 5 [Dkt. # 54-1]. The FBI
withheld information under FOIA exemptions 3, 6, 7(C), 7(D)
and 7(E), id. ¶ 23, but it no longer relies on
Exemption 7(E), id. ¶ 4 & n.1. The FBI
referred 21 of the 28 withheld pages to the USPIS, which, in
turn, released the pages to plaintiff by letter of September
21, 2015, with third-party information properly redacted
pursuant to FOIA exemptions 6 and 7(C). See Decl. of
Tammy A. Warner ¶¶ 6, 12-16 [Dkt. # 54-3].
FOIA Exemption 3
3 covers records that are “specifically exempted from
disclosure by statute, ” provided that such statute
either requires withholding from the public “in such a
manner as to leave no discretion on the issue or . . .
establishes particular criteria for withholding or refers to
particular types of matters to be withheld.” 5 U.S.C.
§ 552(b)(3); see Senate of the Commonwealth of
Puerto Rico v. U.S. Dep't of Justice, 823 F.2d 574,
582 (D.C. Cir. 1987).
invokes Exemption 3 in conjunction with Rule 6(e) of the
Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which regulates the
disclosure of matters before a grand jury. Hardy Decl.
¶¶ 26-27. In this circuit, the grand jury exception
is limited to material which, if disclosed, would “tend
to reveal some secret aspect of the grand jury's
investigation, such . . . as the identities of witnesses or
jurors, the substance of testimony, the strategy or direction
of the investigation, the deliberations or questions of
jurors, and the like.” Senate of Puerto Rico v.
United States Dep't of Justice, 823 F.2d 574, 582
(D.C. Cir. 1987).
withheld the names of recipients of grand jury subpoenas,
save that of murder victim Donna Willard, and “specific
categories of information that the grand jury subpoenaed as
part of its investigation.” Second Hardy Decl. ¶
27; see Mem. Op. 1 at 2 (recounting plaintiff's
conviction for the murder of federal witness Donna Willard).
The declarant explains that if disclosed, such information
“would reveal the inner workings of the grand jury; the
direction that the grand jury was taking; and the focus and
scope of its investigation by identifying who the grand jury
believed had relevant information, and by revealing the
information it was seeking in furtherance of its
investigation.” Second Hardy Decl. ¶ 27. Plaintiff
has not contested the FBI's justifications, which the
Court found proper in assessing similar withholdings by
EOUSA. See Mem. Op. 1 at 19-20. Accordingly, summary
judgment is granted to the FBI on its Exemption 3
FOIA Exemption 7(C)
invokes the FOIA's personal privacy exemptions, 6 and
7(C), but the Court, having determined that the records were
compiled for law enforcement purposes, need not address the
former since the latter applies to the same records.
See Mem. Op. 1 at 22-23 (citing Roth v.
U.S. Dep't of Justice, 642 F.3d 1161, 1173
(D.C. Cir. 2011)). The FBI withheld under Exemption 7(C) the
names and/or identifying information of various categories of
individuals, including FBI special agents and support
personnel, other federal government employees, persons of
“investigative interest, ” persons “merely
mentioned, ” local and state law enforcement personnel,
persons who provided information, and persons with criminal
records or rap sheets. Second Hardy Decl. ¶¶ 32-40.
The declarant has adequately explained the potential harm in
disclosing such information. See id. Plaintiff has
neither contested the FBI's valid justifications nor
produced any evidence to trigger consideration of an
overriding public interest. Accordingly, summary judgment is
granted on the FBI's Exemption 7(C) withholdings for the
reasons stated in the initial ruling. See Mem. Op. 1
FOIA Exemption 7(D)
Exemption 7(D) protects from disclosure those records or
information compiled ...