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Case TitleJUDICIAL WATCH, INC. v. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2017cv00414
Date Filed2017-03-08
Date Closed2018-02-07
JudgeJudge Christopher R. Cooper
PlaintiffJUDICIAL WATCH, INC.
Case DescriptionJudicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the CIA for records concerning the CIA's unclassified assessment of Russian interference in the U.S. election. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Judicial Watch filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Adequacy - Search, Litigation - Vaughn index, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantCENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Complaint attachment 4
Opinion/Order [17]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Christopher Cooper has ruled that the CIA properly invoked a Glomar response neither confirming nor denying the existence of records in response to a request from Judicial Watch for the 2016 White House report on Russian meddling after the report was referenced in a Wall Street Journal article pertaining to a demand from House Intelligence Committee Member Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) that the Obama administration release the report. Judicial Watch argued that the CIA had already publicly acknowledged the existence of the report through a January 2017 report issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence about Russian attempts to interfere in the U.S. election, which was prepared by the CIA, the FBI and the NSA. Cooper rejected Judicial Watch's claim, noting that "but even if the 2017 Assessment did prove that the CIA was responsible for that information, it still does not amount to a public acknowledgement that can overcome a Glomar response. This is because Plaintiff requested a specific document: 'a copy of the unclassified assessment or report identified in the Wall Street Journal article. And nowhere does the 2017 Assessment acknowledge the existence of a CIA report assessing Moscow's interference in foreign elections. The only person alleged to have acknowledged the existence of that report is Congressman Mike Turner when he spoke to the Wall Street Journal. Needless to say, this does not constitute a public acknowledgement by the Agency." Cooper added that "here Judicial Watch has not requested all documents related to a particular topic; rather, it has requested one, particular document. And the 2017 Assessment's brief reference to Russia's interference in European elections is not 'an agency record' that acknowledges the existence of that particular document." Cooper observed that "while it may be that the CIA does in fact have the report referenced in the Wall Street Journal article, the Court's inference that a record exists cannot stand in for a Plaintiff's showing of an official acknowledgment. Participating in intelligence community-wide assessments about related topics does not amount to a public acknowledgement that the CIA has a specific document." Cooper found that both Exemption 1 (national security) and Exemption 3 (other statutes) provided an adequate basis for the agency's Glomar response.
Issues: Determination - Glomar response, Public domain, Exemption 1 - Harm to national security, Exemption 3 - Statutory prohibition of disclosure
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2017-03-081COMPLAINT against CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-4868487) filed by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Summons for Central Intelligence Agency, # 3 Summons for US Attorney for DC, # 4 Summons for US Attorney General)(Bekesha, Michael) (Entered: 03/08/2017)
2017-03-082LCvR 7.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. (Bekesha, Michael) (Entered: 03/08/2017)
2017-03-08Case Assigned to Judge Christopher R. Cooper. (jd) (Entered: 03/08/2017)
2017-03-083SUMMONS (3) Issued Electronically as to CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachment: # 1 Consent Forms)(jd) (Entered: 03/08/2017)
2017-03-174RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 3/13/2017. ( Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 4/12/2017.), RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 3/13/2017., RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY served on 3/13/2017 (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Cristina Rotaru)(Bekesha, Michael) (Entered: 03/17/2017)
2017-04-145NOTICE of Appearance by Jennie Leah Kneedler on behalf of CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (Kneedler, Jennie) (Entered: 04/14/2017)
2017-04-146Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer re 1 Complaint, or Otherwise Respond to Complaint by CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Kneedler, Jennie) (Entered: 04/14/2017)
2017-04-17MINUTE ORDER granting 6 Motion for Extension of Time. Defendant shall respond to the Complaint on or before April 26, 2017. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 4/17/2017. (lccrc3) (Entered: 04/17/2017)
2017-04-18Set/Reset Deadlines: Answer due by 4/26/2017. (zlsj) (Entered: 04/18/2017)
2017-04-267ANSWER to Complaint by CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY.(Kneedler, Jennie) (Entered: 04/26/2017)
2017-04-26MINUTE ORDER: Before the Court in this FOIA case are a complaint and an answer. Since the requirements of LCvR 16.3 and Rule 26(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not apply, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall confer and file a joint proposed schedule for briefing or disclosure by May 10, 2017. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 4/26/2017. (lccrc3) (Entered: 04/26/2017)
2017-04-27Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Proposed Briefing Schedule due by 5/10/2017. (lsj) (Entered: 04/27/2017)
2017-05-108Joint STATUS REPORT (Proposed Schedule) by CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Kneedler, Jennie) (Entered: 05/10/2017)
2017-05-15MINUTE ORDER: Pursuant to the parties' 8 Joint Status Report, the Court hereby enters the following briefing schedule. Defendant shall make a final determination on Plaintiff's FOIA request on or before May 24, 2017. Defendant shall file a motion for summary judgment on or before June 28, 2017. Plaintiff shall file any response and cross-motion for summary judgment on or before August 2, 2017. Defendant shall file any reply and opposition to Plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment on or before September 6, 2017. Plaintiff shall file any reply to its cross-motion for summary judgment on or before September 20, 2017. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 5/15/2017. (lccrc3) (Entered: 05/15/2017)
2017-05-15Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant shall make a final determination on Plaintiff's FOIA request due by 5/24/2017. Summary Judgment motions due by 6/28/2017. Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 8/2/2017. Defendant's Reply to and Opposition to Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment due by 9/6/2017. Plaintiff's Replies to its Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment due by 9/20/2017. (lsj) (Entered: 05/15/2017)
2017-06-239Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Motion for Summary Judgment by CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Kneedler, Jennie) (Entered: 06/23/2017)
2017-06-23MINUTE ORDER: Pursuant to Defendant's 9 Consent Motion for Extension of Time, the Court's summary judgment briefing schedule is hereby revised as follows: Defendant shall move for summary judgment on or before July 19, 2017. Plaintiff shall file its opposition and cross-motion for summary judgment on or before August 23, 2017. Defendant shall file its reply and opposition on or before September 27, 2017. Plaintiff shall file its reply on or before October 11, 2017. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 6/23/2017. (lccrc3) (Entered: 06/23/2017)
2017-06-27Set/Reset Deadlines: Summary Judgment motions due by 7/19/2017. Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 8/23/2017. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 9/27/2017. Replies due by 10/11/2017. ***Deadlines terminated. (lsj) (Entered: 06/27/2017)
2017-07-1910MOTION for Summary Judgment by CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 to Memorandum, # 2 Declaration of Antoinette Shiner, # 3 Text of Proposed Order)(Kneedler, Jennie) (Entered: 07/19/2017)
2017-08-0811Memorandum in opposition to re 10 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Bekesha, Michael) (Entered: 08/08/2017)
2017-08-0812Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Bekesha, Michael) Modified event title on 8/9/2017 (znmw). (Entered: 08/08/2017)
2017-09-2713Memorandum in opposition to re 12 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY. (Kneedler, Jennie) (Entered: 09/27/2017)
2017-09-2714REPLY to opposition to motion re 10 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY. (Kneedler, Jennie) (Entered: 09/27/2017)
2017-10-0215REPLY to opposition to motion re 12 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Bekesha, Michael) (Entered: 10/02/2017)
2018-02-0716ORDER granting 10 Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and denying 12 Plaintiff's Cross Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 2/7/2018. (lccrc3) (Entered: 02/07/2018)
2018-02-0717MEMORANDUM OPINION re 16 Order. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 2/7/2018. (lccrc3) (Entered: 02/07/2018)
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by FOIA Project Staff