District Court Decisions
ACLU v. DOJ, No. 10-436, 2011 WL 4005324 (D.D.C. Sept. 9, 2011) (Collyer, J.). Holding: Granting summary judgment to the CIA on the basis that it properly refused to confirm or deny the existence of records responsive to the request in conjunction with Exemptions 1 and 3. The court finds unavailing plaintiffs' argument that the former CIA Director "has officially admitted that some or all of the requested records exist so that they are no longer FOIA exempt." Rather, the court finds that the fact that the former CIA Director "acknowledged that such a program exists [in a public speech] and he had some knowledge of it, or that he was able to assess its success, is simply not tantamount to a specific acknowledgment of the CIA's involvement in such program, nor does it waive the CIA's ability to properly invoke Glomar." Similarly, the court concludes that general statements made by the former CIA Director to the news media are not sufficient to demonstrate official agency acknowledgment, finding that "Plaintiffs fail to cite any official disclosure containing the exact information sought by Plaintiffs." The court notes that "[h]ere, Plaintiffs seek exactly what is not publicly available – an official CIA acknowledgment of the fact that it is or is not involved in the drone strike program." Moreover, the court finds that "none of the comments by former Director Panetta on which Plaintiffs rely constituted an explicit admission 'that a specific record exists.'" Accordingly, "even if former Director Panetta could be understood colloquially to have suggested some sort of CIA involvement in drone strikes, he neither referenced specific records nor referenced records that go to the exact requests posed by Plaintiffs." Moreover, the court finds that "despite speculation or overt factual assertions of the CIA's involvement in drone strikes rampant in the various articles cited in Plaintiffs' briefs, the statements of journalists, 'experts,' or even unofficial or unidentified sources (even were they CIA personnel) are not 'official' disclosures by the CIA."