United States District Court, District of Columbia
N. MCFADDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Plaintiff in this case, Daniel DeFraia, seeks specific
records under the Freedom of Information Act related to the
Central Intelligence Agency's former detention and
interrogation program. The requested records have been
separated into two categories, and both parties have moved
for partial summary judgment on the first category, as the
CIA continues to process and produce records from the second.
I conclude that the CIA is entitled to partial summary
judgment, because the parties have agreed to narrow the FOIA
requests at issue to specified contracts and the records
“cited in” a specified Senate committee report,
and the CIA has produced all of the required records in those
December 2014, Mr. DeFraia sent the CIA a FOIA request
seeking “a) all CIA contracts with Bruce Jessen, b) all
CIA contracts with James Mitchell, c) contract information
between Jessen and Mitchell, d) contracts between the CIA and
Mitchell, Jessen[, ] and AMP Associates, and e)  all
information related to  Jessen and  Mitchell and their
interaction with detainees including interrogation.”
Compl. 4; Decl. of Antoinette Shiner, Def.'s Mot. Summ.
J. Ex. 1, Exhibit A at 25, ECF No. 16-1 (the 2014 Request).
“Dr. James Mitchell and Dr. Bruce Jessen were
contractors employed by the CIA to assist in interrogating
CIA detainees under the CIA's former detention and
interrogation program.” Shiner Decl. ¶ 26. In May
2015, Mr. DeFraia sent another request asking for five
categories of records that had been “cited in” or
“stated in” the declassified portion of the
report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on that
program. Shiner Decl. Ex. H, ECF No. 16-1 at 40 (the 2015
Request); see also Report of the Senate Select
Committee on Intelligence Study of the CIA's Detention
and Interrogation Program (Senate Report), available at
documents/CRPT-113srpt288.pdf (last visited April 26, 2018).
Having received no documents in response to either request,
Mr. DeFraia filed suit in September 2016.
Joint Status Report submitted in December 2016, the parties
informed the Court that “[w]ith respect to the first
category of records sought [in the 2014 Request], the parties
have agreed to refine the scope of the request as seeking
contracts between (1) the CIA and (2) Bruce Jessen and/or
James Mitchell and/or Mitchell Jessen & Associates from
2001-2009 that relate to the CIA's rendition, detention,
and interrogation program.” ECF No. 7 at 2 (Joint
Status Report). Both sides agreed to exclude a laundry list
of sensitive information “from Defendant's initial
production of records responsive to this category, ”
such as the names and contact information of CIA personnel.
Id. at 2-3. The CIA had already produced these exact
documents for another litigation,  and so anticipated providing
responsive records within two weeks, after which the
Plaintiff “reserve[d] the right to request that CIA
produce certain redacted material.” Joint Status Report
at 3. As for the 2015 Request, “the parties  agreed
that the request will be processed as written.”
productions from the CIA, both parties filed motions for
summary judgment on the first portion of the 2014 Request and
the full 2015 request. Mem. In Support of Def.'s Mot.
Summ. J. (Def.'s Mot. Summ. J.) at 1-2, ECF No. 15; Mem.
In Support of Pl.'s Mot. Summ. J. (Pl.'s Mot. Summ.
J.), ECF No. 19. Production on the second portion of the 2014
Request is ongoing. See Order, ECF No. 28 at 1-2
(setting a production schedule that ends on June 29, 2018).
prevail on a motion for summary judgment, a movant must show
that “there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986);
Celotex Corp v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
The FOIA requires federal agencies to “disclose
information to the public upon reasonable request unless the
records at issue fall within specifically delineated
exemptions.” Judicial Watch, Inc. v. FBI, 522
F.3d 364, 365-66 (D.C. Cir. 2008); see also 5 U.S.C.
§ 552(a)(3)(A) (records sought must be “reasonably
describe[d]”). Thus, a FOIA defendant is entitled to
summary judgment if it demonstrates that there is no genuine
dispute as to whether “each document that falls within
the class requested either has been produced, is
unidentifiable or is wholly exempt from the Act's
inspection requirements.” See Weisberg v. Dep't
of Justice, 627 F.2d 365, 368 (D.C. Cir. 1980). The
“vast majority” of FOIA cases are decided on
motions for summary judgment. See Brayton v. Office of
U.S. Trade Rep., 641 F.3d 521, 527 (D.C. Cir. 2011).
for records requires “both systemic and case-specific
exercises of discretion and administrative judgment and
expertise, ” and is “hardly an area in which the
courts should attempt to micro-manage the executive
branch.” Schrecker v. Dep't of Justice,
349 F.3d 657, 662 (D.C. Cir. 2003). To demonstrate the
reasonableness of its search, an agency can submit 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.” Oglesby,
920 F.2d at 68. Agency declarations are given “a
presumption of good faith, which cannot be rebutted by
‘purely speculative claims about the existence and
discoverability of other documents.'” SafeCard
Servs. Inc. v. SEC, 926 F.2d 1197, 1201 (D.C. Cir.
1991). “[S]ummary judgment . . . is warranted if the
affidavits describe the documents and 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.” Military Audit Project v. Casey, 656
F.2d 724, 738 (D.C. Cir. 1981).
contends that it has fully complied with its pertinent FOIA
obligations, supported by a declaration from Ms. Antoinette
Shiner, the Information Review Officer for the CIA's
Litigation Information Review Office. Def.'s Mot. Summ.
J. Ex. 1 (Shiner Decl.). But Mr. DeFraia argues that the
CIA's description of its search methodology is legally
inadequate, and that the CIA has failed “to follow-up
on clear leads indicating the existence of additional
[responsive] agency records.” Pl.'s Mot. Summ. J.
at 9; Supp. Decl. of Daniel DeFraia, Pl.'s Mot. Summ. J.
(Supp. DeFraia Decl). He also asks for in camera review
to verify that the CIA has properly invoked two FOIA
exemptions. Pl.'s Mot. Summ. J. at 13-15. Based on the
governing language of Mr. DeFraia's requests, I conclude
that the CIA has provided every legally required record, and
that no basis exists for in camera review of the
The CIA Has Produced the “Contracts” Listed in
the 2014 Request
parties have expressly agreed, in a document signed by
attorneys for both sides, that the scope of the first portion
of Mr. DeFraia's 2014 Request is limited to
“contracts between (1) the CIA and (2) Bruce Jessen
and/or James Mitchell and/or Mitchell Jessen & Associates
from 2001-2009 that relate to the CIA's rendition,
detention, and interrogation program, ” with specific,
agreed-upon redactions. Joint Status Report at 2. Immediately
after the parties agreed to this narrowed scope, the CIA
produced all of the CIA contracts at issue. Shiner Decl.
¶ 22. The contracts were redacted as specified in the
Joint Status Report, and the CIA invoked no additional
DeFraia still wants to enforce the scope of his original 2014
Request, which was somewhat broader, and he therefore demands
“additional documents” to which the contracts
“directly refer.” Pl.'s Mot. Summ. J. at 10
(“[t]he portion of the . . . 2014 Request at issue
herein sought “all contract
information”). But it is the Joint Status Report, not
Mr. DeFraia's original request, that controls. 5 U.S.C.
§ 552(4)(A)(viii)(II)(bb), (6)(B)(ii) (both referring to
a FOIA requestor's ability to later “limit the
scope of the request”); Gilman v. U.S. Dep't of
Homeland Sec., 32 F.Supp.3d 1, 22 (D.D.C. 2014)