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Jun 29 15

CIA: Going for the Catch 22 Prize

by David Burnham

1024px-CIA.svgFive months ago, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). TRAC, as we are known, was not seeking classified information. Rather, we asked for records about the FOIA requests the agency had received since October 1, 2012; information that by law the agency is required to maintain for its annual reports to the public and Congress.

On June 9, 2015 – after multiple attempts, including another TRAC request for more timely information and a brief conversation with an individual in the agency’s FOIA office who refused to give us his last name – the agency dropped its bomb.

In a brief letter fully worthy of the Catch 22 prize, the CIA said it was “declining to process” one of our appeals on the grounds that the CIA had not extended to TRAC the right to have an administrative appeal. Michael Lavergne, an Information and Privacy Coordinator closed his letter about this decision by declaring we “regret that we cannot be of further assistance to you.”

Anne Weismann, a nationally respected FOIA litigator, said the agency’s unilateral decision to end our appeal rights was “bizarre.” The response to TRAC’s request, she said, “is obstructionist and ignores both the letter and the spirit of the law.”

read more…

Jun 25 15

ADVOCATES FOR HIGHWAY AND AUTO SAFETY v. FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION and 10 other new FOIA lawsuits, plus case descriptions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 61 documents from 11 FOIA cases filed between June 14, 2015 and June 20, 2015. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. ADVOCATES FOR HIGHWAY AND AUTO SAFETY v. FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION (filed Jun 16, 2015)
    Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety submitted a FOIA request to the Federal Highway Administration for records concerning the ET-Plus end terminal guardrail. Advocates also asked for a fee waiver. The agency granted a partial fee waiver and Advocates appealed that decision, which was upheld by the agency read more…
Jun 25 15

FOIA Activity: 9 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 9 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between June 14, 2015 and June 20, 2015. These are associated with 8 FOIA cases pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

Click on the date to view the full text of the decision. Click on a case title below to view other details for that case, including links to the docket report and complaint.

  1. CAN 3:2013cv03127American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California v. Department of Justice
    • June 17, 2015: ORDER by Judge Maria-Elena James granting in part and denying in part [35] Motion for Summary Judgment; granting in part and denying in part [36] Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (mejlc2S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/17/2015)
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Jun 18 15

Goldwater Institute v. United States Department of Health and Human Services and 8 other new FOIA lawsuits, plus case descriptions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 39 documents from 9 FOIA cases filed between June 7, 2015 and June 13, 2015. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. Goldwater Institute v. United States Department of Health and Human Services (filed Jun 9, 2015)
    The Goldwater Institute submitted a FOIA request to the Food and Drug Administration for records concerning whether ZMapp, an experimental drug given to two U.S. citizens who contracted Ebola, had been approved under the compassion use process for investigational new drugs. The Goldwater Institute also requested a fee waiver read more…
Jun 18 15

FOIA Activity: 10 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 10 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between June 7, 2015 and June 13, 2015. These are associated with 8 FOIA cases pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

Click on the date to view the full text of the decision. Click on a case title below to view other details for that case, including links to the docket report and complaint.

  1. CAS 3:2015cv00454Bedgood v. Mabus et al
    • June 8, 2015: ORDER: The motion to dismiss (Doc. [7] ) is granted. The Complaint is dismissed without prejudice. No later than thirty (30) days from the date this Order is filed, Plaintiff may file a motion for leave to amend the Complaint, accompanied by a proposed first amended complaint. Signed by Judge William Q. Hayes on 6/8/2015. (mdc)
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Jun 11 15

PRISON LEGAL NEWS v. SAMUELS and 7 other new FOIA lawsuits, plus case descriptions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 32 documents from 6 FOIA cases filed between May 31, 2015 and June 6, 2015. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. PRISON LEGAL NEWS v. SAMUELS (filed Jun 3, 2015)
    Prison Legal News submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Prisons in 2008 for records about money spent by BOP settling lawsuits or claims from 2003-2008. After a good deal of back and forth, PLN filed another FOIA request to BOP in 2010 for the same records covering 2008-2010. In 2010, BOP disclosed 917 pages responsive to the 2008 request read more…
Jun 11 15

FOIA Activity: 3 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 3 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between May 31, 2015 and June 6, 2015. These are associated with 3 FOIA cases pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

Click on the date to view the full text of the decision. Click on a case title below to view other details for that case, including links to the docket report and complaint.

  1. CAN 3:2013cv05439Bothwell v. Brennan
    • June 4, 2015: ORDER by Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley granting in part and denying in part [39] Motion for Summary Judgment (ahm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/4/2015) (Additional attachment(s) added on 6/4/2015: # 1 Certificate of Servcie) (ahm, COURT STAFF).
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Jun 10 15

Guest Post: Suing BIA For Tribal Constitutions

by Kevin R. Kemper

Seal_of_the_United_States_Bureau_of_Indian_Affairs.svgAs a researcher, author, and lay advocate for Native American rights, I need access to the constitutions and articles of incorporation of the 566 federally recognized indigenous tribes in the United States.

My goal is to organize and post these documents online so that tribal members, other researchers, and visitors to tribal lands can know and understand the law.

I made my first request to Bureau of Indian Affairs for these records a few years ago. I was denied, and, at the time, did not challenge BIA’s response.

read more…

Jun 4 15

FOIA Activity: 6 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 6 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between May 24, 2015 and May 30, 2015. These are associated with 6 FOIA cases pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

Click on the date to view the full text of the decision. Click on a case title below to view other details for that case, including links to the docket report and complaint.

  1. CAC 2:2013cv04658Abraham John Pusa v. Federal Bureau of Investigation et al
    • May 26, 2015: JUDGMENT by Judge Beverly Reid O'Connell. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that judgment be entered in favor of defendants Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Attorney's Office, and U.S. Department of Justice on Plaintiff's Complaint, and this action be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. (MD JS-6, Case Terminated). (jp)
  2. read more…

Jun 4 15

CAUSE OF ACTION INSTITUTE v. INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE et al and 2 other new FOIA lawsuits, plus case descriptions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 23 documents from 3 FOIA cases filed between May 24, 2015 and May 30, 2015. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. CAUSE OF ACTION INSTITUTE v. INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE et al (filed May 26, 2015)
    To investigate the legal and ethical implications of detailing Department of Justice attorneys to the White House, Cause of Action submitted a FOIA request to the IRS for records of communications between specified IRS officials and anyone using an email address associated with either the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration or the Executive Office of the President, relating to Norah E read more…