Josh Gerstein of Politico has an update on the litigation brought against the goverment for the death photos of Osama Bin Laden. The government is saying that the records are in the possession of the CIA and as the records are a classified intelligence activity, the CIA may withhold the material pursuant to FOIA Exemptions 1 and 3.
I have consistently stated that if the government made this argument it would be difficult for requesters to overcome. The requesters opposition is due on October 24, 2011.
Here's a roundup of FOIA items from the past few days --
The first is a youtube video of a story from Financial News Online about a FOIA lawsuit filed against the FDA on information on Gilead's HIV Prevention pill.
Next is a story from the Chicago Tribune about the FOIA release from the SEC's Office of Inspector General that details that the SEC overspent on living expenses for a former SEC Official.
Finally, an editorial from the Knoxville News criticizing the DEA on the length of time it takes to respond to FOIA requests -- and the fact that its website for the information sought hasn't been updated since 2006.
I've just returned from the American Society for Access Professional's (ASAP) Workshop in Chicago -- everything about it was excellent, the hotel, the training, and especially the attendees. Next up for ASAP is the Fall Symposium in D.C. It is two days, December 7-8, 2011 and should be excellent (I say that because I am the chair of the committee planning it, so we better deliver!). Registration is open and online right here.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has remanded a case against the United States Trade Representative because it found that the government's declarations failed to provide enough information to warrant the finding of summary judgment granted by the district court. Specifically, the court found that the declarations did not adequately describe the search for responsive records, how the withheld records met the thresshold of Exemption 5 and the Exemption 6 balancing test.
One of the judges on the three-judge panel, Judge Jay Bybee dissented on the search issue stating he would have affirmed for the government. However, he joined in with the other two judges on the justification of Exemptions 5 and 6 on the remand.
The White House has released a report on government transparency efforts during the Obama Administration, which includes efforts to improve FOIA operations. Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press has this on the report.
United States District Court Judge for the District of Columbia Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has found, on a reconsideration motion, that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) had named a third party as a DEA informant and therefore, the DEA needed to release information that was released in open court that is in the requested material. In re-examining the transcripts of the requester's criminal trial, the court additionally found that because the DEA said the individual was an informant in court it could not use the glomar exclusion at Section 552(c)(2) of the FOIA to neither confirm nor deny his informant status.
Judge Ricardo Urbina of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has issued an order awarding attorneys fees in a case brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center ("EPIC") against the Department of Homeland Security. EPIC was awarded fees for work that included the review of documents released during the litigation. Significantly, the Court disagreed with the government's argument that this was not reimburseable. The Court found that this review was part of the litigation and was compensable.
Judge Rosemary Collyer of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled that the fact of whether or not the CIA has used drones for targeted killings and attacks is a CIA intelligence source and/or method and is therefore protected pursuant to FOIA Exemptions 1 and 3. The Court further ruled that then CIA Director Leon Pannetta's public statements did not acknowledge the existence of the records, if they exist.