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Case TitleFREEDOM WATCH, INC. v. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY et al
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2012cv00721
Date Filed2012-05-02
Date Closed2012-10-05
JudgeJudge Ellen S. Huvelle
PlaintiffFREEDOM WATCH, INC.
DefendantCENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
DefendantNATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY
DefendantDEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
DefendantDEPARTMENT OF STATE
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Opinion/Order [11]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle has ruled that the CIA, NSA, Department of Defense, and Department of State responded properly to a broad request submitted by Freedom Watch for all records allegedly leaked to various reporters on a number of topics. The CIA and the NSA both responded that they could neither confirm nor deny the existence of the records, while both Defense and State rejected the requests as failing to describe the records in such a way that they could actually be located. Freedom Watch declined to appeal any of the agencies' decisions and filed suit instead. Freedom Watch argued that it had not appealed the denials because it was apparent that it would be futile to do so. Huvelle pointed out that "it is simply not sufficient to argue that [an appeal would be futile]." She indicated that all four agencies had provided extensive reasons for denying the request and observed that "such responses give no grounds for arguing that exhaustion of administrative remedies would be futile." Addressing the issue of whether the request sufficiently described the records sought, Huvelle noted that "Freedom Watch's complaint demonstrates on its face that its FOIA requests were virtually incomprehensible. . .[Responsive material] might include anything 'relating to' the individual nations referenced in two New York Times articles and the Foreign Policy article, which include Iran, Israel, Iraq, North Korea, Russia, Azerbaijan, and others." She pointed out that "Freedom Watch's request, with its references in 42 items to alleged 'leaks'‚Ä"a term that Freedom Watch does not define‚Ä"would impermissibly require defendants 'to undertake an investigation and then draw legal conclusions based on the investigation's findings'. . .It is thus evident that Freedom Watch intends for federal employees to make complicated determinations about whether crimes have been committed. While 'the central purpose of FOIA is to "open up the workings of government to public scrutiny,'" it is not intended to force a federal agency to undertake grand-jury style investigations."
Issues: Determination - Glomar response, Request - Specificity
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2012-05-021COMPLAINT against CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY ( Filing fee $ 350, receipt number 4616047989) filed by FREEDOM WATCH, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit, # 2 Civil Cover Sheet)(jf, ) (Entered: 05/08/2012)
2012-05-02SUMMONS (6) Issued as to CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (jf, ) (Entered: 05/08/2012)
2012-07-182NOTICE of Appearance by John Kenneth Theis on behalf of All Defendants (Theis, John) (Entered: 07/18/2012)
2012-07-183ANSWER to 1 Complaint, by CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY.(Theis, John) (Entered: 07/18/2012)
2012-07-19MINUTE ORDER: it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall confer and file a joint proposed briefing schedule by July 31, 2012. Signed by Judge Ellen S. Huvelle on July 19, 2012. (AG) (Entered: 07/19/2012)
2012-07-20Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint proposed briefing due by 7/31/2012. (gdf) (Entered: 07/20/2012)
2012-07-204MOTION for Partial Summary Judgment Against Defendant Department of State by FREEDOM WATCH, INC. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support of Partial Motion for Summary Judgment Against Defendant Department of State, # 2 Statement of Facts Not in Dispute, # 3 Affidavit of Larry Klayman, # 4 Text of Proposed Order, # 5 Certificate of Service)(Klayman, Larry) (Entered: 07/20/2012)
2012-07-315Joint MOTION for Briefing Schedule , Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 4 MOTION for Partial Summary Judgment Against Defendant Department of State by CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, FREEDOM WATCH, INC., NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Theis, John) (Entered: 07/31/2012)
2012-07-31MINUTE ORDER granting 5 Joint Motion for Briefing Schedule and Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply: Upon consideration of the parties' Joint Proposed Briefing Schedule and Defendant Department of State's Motion for an Extension of Time to Respond to Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, it is hereby ORDERED that Defendant Department of State's Motion for an Extension of Time to Respond to Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment is GRANTED; it is further ORDERED that the Defendants will file their combined Motion to Dismiss and opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment by August 17, 2012; and it is further ORDERED that Plaintiff will file its reply in support of its Motion for Partial Summary Judgment by August 24, 2012; and it is further ORDERED that Plaintiff will file its opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss by August 31, 2012; and it is further ORDERED that Defendants will file their reply in support of their Motion to Dismiss by September 10, 2012. Signed by Judge Ellen S. Huvelle on July 30, 2012. (AG) (Entered: 07/31/2012)
2012-08-03Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and Response to Partial Motion for Summary Judgment due by 8/17/2012; Reply to Partial Motion for Summary Judgment due by 8/24/2012; Response to Motion to Dismiss due by 8/31/2012; Reply due by 9/10/2012. (gdf) (Entered: 08/03/2012)
2012-08-176MOTION to Dismiss by CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY (Attachments: # 1 Declaration Ex. A: Giuffrida Decl., # 2 Declaration Ex. B: Phillips Decl., # 3 Declaration Ex. C: Kammer Decl., # 4 Declaration Ex. D: Walter Decl., # 5 Text of Proposed Order)(Theis, John) (Entered: 08/17/2012)
2012-08-177Memorandum in opposition to re 4 MOTION for Partial Summary Judgment Against Defendant Department of State filed by DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts Response to Plaintiff's Statement of Facts, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Theis, John) (Entered: 08/17/2012)
2012-08-248REPLY to opposition to motion re 4 MOTION for Partial Summary Judgment Against Defendant Department of State filed by FREEDOM WATCH, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate of Service)(Klayman, Larry) (Entered: 08/24/2012)
2012-08-319RESPONSE re 6 MOTION to Dismiss filed by FREEDOM WATCH, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3, # 4 Exhibit 4, # 5 Exhibit 5, # 6 Text of Proposed Order, # 7 Certificate of Service)(Klayman, Larry) (Entered: 08/31/2012)
2012-09-1010REPLY to opposition to motion re 6 MOTION to Dismiss filed by CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY. (Theis, John) (Entered: 09/10/2012)
2012-10-0511MEMORANDUM OPINION re 6 defendants' Motion to Dismiss. Signed by Judge Ellen S. Huvelle on October 5, 2012. (lcesh1) (Entered: 10/05/2012)
2012-10-0512ORDER granting 6 defendants' Motion to Dismiss and denying as moot 4 plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. See Order for details. Signed by Judge Ellen S. Huvelle on October 5, 2012. (lcesh1) (Entered: 10/05/2012)
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