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Case TitleELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER v. OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2017cv00163
Date Filed2017-01-25
Date Closed2017-12-19
JudgeJudge Rudolph Contreras
PlaintiffELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER
Case DescriptionThe Electronic Privacy Information Center submitted a FOIA request to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for an unredacted copy of the ODNI assessment concerning Russian interference with the 2016 election. EPIC also requested a fee waiver and expedited processing. After hearing nothing further from the agency, EPIC filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Public Interest Fee Waiver, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantOFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Complaint attachment 4
Opinion/Order [26]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Rudolph Contreras has ruled that public disclosure of a declassified version of the intelligence community's assessment that Russia tried to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election does not require disclosure of those declassified portions as they appear in a separate classified assessment and that the entire classified report is protected by Exemption 1 (national security) and Exemption 3 (other statutes). After the declassified version was made public, EPIC requested a copy of the classified version, arguing that those portions that had been disclosed could no longer be considered top secret. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence rejected EPIC's claim, indicating that even the disclosure of the declassified material would provide foreign intelligence agencies the ability to better understand the capabilities of U.S. intelligence. Contreras agreed with the agency, noting that "because the entire document is exempt, there is no non-exempt reasonably segregable portions of the report that must be disclosed. . .[E]ven though there are portions of the classified report that have already been released, to the public, those lines, when placed within the classified report itself, have not been 'officially acknowledged' in full. . ." Accepting the agency's Exemption 1 claims, Contreras pointed out that "it is true that this information, taken out of context and transplanted into a new document, has been determined to be releasable. But ODNI's release of this information in the declassified report does not undercut its claim that such information, when seen within the context of the redacted report, 'reveals an additional association or relationship that meets the standards for classification under the [Executive Order]." The agency cited Section 102A(i)(1) of the National Security Act of 1947, protecting sources and methods of intelligence, as the basis for its Exemption 3 claim. Contreras explained that the agency's representations "are sufficient to demonstrate that the portions of the classified report that have already been released in the declassified report were properly withheld in response to EPIC's FOIA request. The agency's concern about Russian intelligence capabilities to discern more information from a partially redacted version of the report than a member of the general public is logical, and the accuracy of those concerns appear plausible." He added that "although the amount of protected information foreign intelligence agencies would be able to obtain by reviewing a fully redacted version of the report as opposed to a partially redacted version of the report is far smaller, the agency still met its burden of demonstrating that it is plausible that even releasing a fully redacted version of the report would pose too great a risk to the collecting agencies' national security operations." Although ODNI admitted portions of the classified report had been made public in the declassified version, Contreras agreed that EPIC had not shown that "the agency has officially acknowledged such information as the length of the report, where the conclusions that have already been released are placed within the report, or what proportion of the report remains classified as compared to the portions that are unclassified or now declassified." Contreras also rejected EPIC's request that he review the classified report in camera. He pointed out that "even if the Court were to inspect the documents in camera, the Court would be no better situated to evaluate the agency's prediction that the release of such information would be harmful to national security."
Issues: Exemption 1 - Harm to national security, Exemption 3 - Statutory prohibition of disclosure, Litigation - In camera review
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2017-01-251COMPLAINT against OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-4818547) filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Summons Attorney General for the United States, # 3 Summons Office of the Director of National Intelligence, # 4 Summons U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia)(Butler, Alan) (Entered: 01/25/2017)
2017-01-252Corporate Disclosure Statement by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Butler, Alan) (Entered: 01/25/2017)
2017-01-253NOTICE of Appearance by Marc Rotenberg on behalf of ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Rotenberg, Marc) (Entered: 01/25/2017)
2017-01-264REQUEST FOR SUMMONS TO ISSUE re 1 Complaint, filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. Related document: 1 Complaint, filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER.(Butler, Alan) (Entered: 01/26/2017)
2017-01-27Case Assigned to Judge Rudolph Contreras. (zsb) (Entered: 01/27/2017)
2017-01-275SUMMONS (3) Issued Electronically as to OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachment: # 1 Consent Form)(zsb) (Entered: 01/27/2017)
2017-02-106AMENDED COMPLAINT against OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER.(Butler, Alan) (Entered: 02/10/2017)
2017-02-217RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 2/10/2017. Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 3/12/2017. (Butler, Alan) (Entered: 02/21/2017)
2017-02-218RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 02/14/2017. (Butler, Alan) (Entered: 02/21/2017)
2017-02-219RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE served on 2/15/2017 (Butler, Alan) (Entered: 02/21/2017)
2017-03-0910NOTICE of Appearance by Jennie Leah Kneedler on behalf of OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE (Kneedler, Jennie) (Entered: 03/09/2017)
2017-03-0911Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer re 6 Amended Complaint or Otherwise Respond to Amended Complaint by OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Kneedler, Jennie) (Entered: 03/09/2017)
2017-03-09MINUTE ORDER granting 11 Defendant's Consent Motion for Enlargement of Time: It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall respond to 6 the Amended Complaint on or before March 17, 2017. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 3/9/2017. (lcrc1) (Entered: 03/09/2017)
2017-03-10Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's Answer to the Amended Complaint due by 3/17/2017, (hs) (Entered: 03/10/2017)
2017-03-1712ANSWER to 6 Amended Complaint by OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE. Related document: 6 Amended Complaint filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER.(Kneedler, Jennie) (Entered: 03/17/2017)
2017-03-17MINUTE ORDER: It is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall meet, confer, and submit a proposed briefing schedule on or before April 3, 2017. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 3/17/2017. (lcrc1) (Entered: 03/17/2017)
2017-04-0313PROPOSED BRIEFING SCHEDULE re Order by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Butler, Alan) (Entered: 04/03/2017)
2017-04-03MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 13 Proposed Briefing Schedule, it is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall process and release all non-exempt portions of the record responsive to Plaintiff's FOIA request on or before May 3, 2017, and the parties shall file a joint status report on or before May 17, 2017 addressing the need for further briefing. SO ORDERED.. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 4/3/2017. (lcrc1) (Entered: 04/03/2017)
2017-05-1714Joint STATUS REPORT by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Butler, Alan) (Entered: 05/17/2017)
2017-05-17SCHEDULING MINUTE ORDER adopting 14 Joint Status Report and Proposed Order: It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall file its motion for summary judgment on or before June 19, 2017; Plaintiff shall file any cross-motion or opposition on or before July 18, 2017; Defendant shall file any opposition or reply on or before August 7, 2017; and Plaintiff shall file any reply on or before August 22, 2017. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 5/17/2017. (lcrc1) (Entered: 05/17/2017)
2017-05-18Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's Summary Judgment motion due by 6/19/2017. Plaintiff's Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 7/18/2017. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 8/7/2017. Reply due by 8/22/2017. (hs) (Entered: 05/18/2017)
2017-06-1615Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Motion for Summary Judgment by OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Kneedler, Jennie) (Entered: 06/16/2017)
2017-06-16MINUTE ORDER granting 15 Defendant's Consent Motion for Enlargement of Time: It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall file its motion for summary judgment on or before June 21, 2017; Plaintiff shall file any cross-motion or opposition on or before July 20, 2017; Defendant shall file any opposition or reply on or before August 9, 2017; and Plaintiff shall file any reply on or before August 24, 2017. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 6/16/2017. (lcrc1) (Entered: 06/16/2017)
2017-06-2116Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Motion for Summary Judgment by OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Kneedler, Jennie) (Entered: 06/21/2017)
2017-06-2617MOTION for Summary Judgment by OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Edward Gistaro, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Kneedler, Jennie) (Entered: 06/26/2017)
2017-07-05MINUTE ORDER granting 16 Defendant's Consent Motion for Enlargement of Time: It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall file its motion for summary judgment on or before June 26, 2017; Plaintiff shall file any cross-motion or opposition on or before July 25, 2017; Defendant shall file any opposition or reply on or before August 14, 2017; and Plaintiff shall file any reply on or before August 29, 2017. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 7/5/2017. (lcrc1) (Entered: 07/05/2017)
2017-07-06Set/Reset Deadlines: Cross Motions due by 7/25/2017. Response to Cross Motions due by 8/14/2017. Reply to Cross Motions due by 8/29/2017. Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 7/25/2017. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 8/14/2017. (tj) (Entered: 07/06/2017)
2017-07-2518Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Statement of Facts, # 3 Exhibits 1-7, # 4 Text of Proposed Order)(Butler, Alan) (Entered: 07/25/2017)
2017-07-2519Memorandum in opposition to re 17 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Statement of Facts, # 3 Exhibits 1-7, # 4 Text of Proposed Order)(Butler, Alan) (Entered: 07/25/2017)
2017-08-0820Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 17 MOTION for Summary Judgment , 18 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Kneedler, Jennie) (Entered: 08/08/2017)
2017-08-08MINUTE ORDER granting 20 Defendant's Consent Motion for Enlargement of Time: It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall file its combined opposition and reply on or before August 21, 2017 and Plaintiff shall file its reply on or before September 5, 2017. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 8/8/2017. (lcrc1) (Entered: 08/08/2017)
2017-08-09Set/Reset Deadlines: Response to Dispositive Motions due by 8/21/2017. Reply to Dispositive Motions due by 9/5/2017. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 8/21/2017. (tj) (Entered: 08/09/2017)
2017-08-2121MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 17 MOTION for Summary Judgment , 18 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Kneedler, Jennie) (Entered: 08/21/2017)
2017-08-22MINUTE ORDER granting 21 Defendant's Motion for Enlargement of Time: It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall file its combined opposition and reply on or before August 22, 2017 and Plaintiff shall file its reply on or before September 6, 2017. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 8/22/2017. (lcrc1) (Entered: 08/22/2017)
2017-08-2222Memorandum in opposition to re 18 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Dustin Razsi, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Kneedler, Jennie) (Main Document 22 replaced on 8/23/2017) (znmw). (Entered: 08/22/2017)
2017-08-2223REPLY to opposition to motion re 17 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Dustin Razsi)(Kneedler, Jennie) (Main Document 23 replaced on 8/23/2017) (znmw). (Entered: 08/22/2017)
2017-09-0624REPLY to opposition to motion re 18 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1)(Butler, Alan) (Entered: 09/06/2017)
2017-12-1825ORDER granting 17 Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment; denying 18 Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. See document for details. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 12/18/2017. (lcrc1) (Entered: 12/18/2017)
2017-12-1826MEMORANDUM OPINION granting 17 Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment; denying 18 Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. See document for details. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 12/18/2017. (lcrc1) (Entered: 12/18/2017)
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by FOIA Project Staff