View PDF Version
In the Supreme Court of the United States
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, ET AL.,
AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION, ET AL.
ON PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI
TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT
PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI
Counsel of Record
Assistant Attorney General
EDWIN S. KNEEDLER
Deputy Solicitor General
ANTHONY A. YANG
PRATIK A. SHAH
Assistants to the Solicitor
DOUGLAS N. LETTER
MATTHEW M. COLLETTE
SEAN H. LANE
PETER M. SKINNER
HEATHER K. MCSHAIN
Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001
JEH CHARLES JOHNSON
Department of Defense
Washington, D.C. 20301
LEVATOR NORSWORTHY, JR.
Acting General Counsel
Department of the Army
Washington, D.C. 20310
Whether Exemption 7(F) of the Freedom of Informa tion Act, 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)(F), exempts from mandatory disclosure photographic records concerning allegations of abuse and mistreatment of detainees in United States custody when the government has demonstrated that the disclosure of those photographs could reasonably be expected to endanger the lives or physical safety of United States military and civilian personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan.
PARTIES TO THE PROCEEDING
The petitioners are the Department of Defense and the Department of the Army.
The respondents are the American Civil Liberties Union; Center for Constitutional Rights, Inc.; Physi cians for Human Rights; Veterans for Common Sense; and Veterans for Peace.
In the Supreme Court of the United States
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, ET AL.,
AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION, ET AL.
ON PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI
TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT
PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI
The Solicitor General, on behalf of the Department of Defense and the Department of the Army, respectfully pe titions for a writ of certiorari to review the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in this case.
The opinion of the court of appeals (Pet. App. 1a-60a) is reported at 543 F.3d 59. The orders of the district court (Pet. App. 61a-62a, 63a-64a) are not published in the Federal Supplement but are available at 2006 WL 1722574 and 2006 WL 1638025. A prior order (Pet. App. 65a-70a) is unreported, and a prior opinion (Pet. App. 71a-133a) is reported at 389 F. Supp. 2d 547.
The judgment of the court of appeals was entered on September 22, 2008. A petition for rehearing was denied on March 11, 2009 (Pet. App. 134a-135a). On May 29, 2009, Justice Ginsburg extended the time within which to file a petition for a writ of certiorari to and including July 9, 2009. On June 29, 2009, Justice Ginsburg further extended the time to August 7, 2009. The jurisdiction of this Court is invoked under 28 U.S.C. 1254(1).
STATUTORY PROVISION INVOLVED
Exemption 7(F) of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, exempts from mandatory disclo sure "records or information compiled for law enforce ment purposes, but only to the extent that the produc tion of such law enforcement records or information * * * (F) could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual." 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)(F).
The court of appeals in this FOIA case has ordered the disclosure of photographs related to allegations of abuse and mistreatment of detainees in United States custody, notwithstanding the professional judgment of the Nation's top military officers-confirmed by the President of the United States-that disclosure could reasonably be expected to endanger the lives and safety of United States and Coalition forces and civilian per sonnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. Review by this Court is necessary to prevent that danger.
1. a. In 2003 and 2004, respondents submitted FOIA requests to the Departments of Defense, Home land Security, Justice, and State, several components of those Departments, and the Central Intelligence Agency seeking records concerning the "treatment of Detainees" held overseas in United States custody after September 11, 2001, "deaths of [such] Detainees," and the "rendition of Detainees and other individuals" to countries known to employ torture. C.A. App. 44, 52; see Pet. App. 71a. In particular, respondents sought records regarding the abuse and mistreatment of de tainees in United States custody. C.A. App. 43-44, 51- 52, 58.
Respondents submitted a priority list (C.A. App. 65- 81) at the direction of the district court to facilitate the search for, and processing of, responsive records. Pet. App. 72a. Respondents' list included a request for the release of a series of photographs and digital videos that Army Specialist Joseph Darby had provided to Army investigators (the "Darby photographs"). C.A. App. 81. Those photographs, a few of which had been published by the news media, included images that depicted the abuse and mistreatment of detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Many of the responsive Darby photo graphs showed detainees without clothing or in sexually humiliating positions.
In its initial productions, the government disclosed thousands of documents, but withheld the Darby photo graphs. Pet. App. 72a, 110a-112a. To support that with holding, the Department of Defense and Department of the Army (collectively, petitioners) submitted the decla ration of General Richard Myers (id. at 136a-157a), then the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Na tion's highest ranking military officer. Id. at 137a.1 General Myers had consulted with the commanding gen erals of U.S. Central Command (then General John Abizaid) and the Multi-National Force-Iraq (then Gen eral George Casey), and each agreed with his conclusion that the government's public disclosure of the photo graphs would pose a "grave risk of inciting violence and riots" against American and allied military personnel and would expose innocent civilians to harm. Id. at 150a, 156a; see id. at 140a-141a, 149a. General Myers' judg ment that disclosing the Darby photographs "could rea sonably be expected" to "endanger the lives and physical safety" of those individuals, id. at 137a-138a, 156a, was based on his extensive military experience, assessments by his combat commanders, intelligence reports from subject-matter experts, the violent response to the re lease of photographs of detainees in British custody, and the widespread and deadly rioting following the publica tion of a false story alleging the desecration of detain ees' copies of the Koran at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Id. at 138a-141a, 144a-145a, 147a-149a.
b. On September 29, 2005, the district court ordered the production of the responsive Darby photographs with redactions to conceal identifying characteristics of individuals depicted in the images. Pet. App. 71a, 124a, 133a; cf. C.A. App. 318. As relevant here, the court held that the photographs were not records exempt from mandatory disclosure under FOIA Exemption 7(F), which permits withholding of records compiled for law- enforcement purposes if their production "could reason ably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual," 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)(F). Pet. App. 110a- 112a, 124a-133a.2
The district court recognized that "American soldiers are fighting and dying daily in Afghanistan and Iraq," Pet. App. 75a, and indicated "great respect to the con cerns expressed by General Myers," id. at 127a. But the court stated that FOIA required it to "[b]alanc[e]" core FOIA values favoring disclosure against the Exemption 7(F) values favoring withholding, and the court held that the balance favored disclosure. Id. at 131a-133a; see id. at 5a. Opining that "[o]ur struggle to prevail [in Iraq and Afghanistan] must be without sacrificing the trans parency and accountability of government," the court concluded that publicly disclosing the Darby photo graphs would advance the "purposes of FOIA" by re vealing improper conduct by military personnel. Id. at 131a-133a. The court expressly acknowledged "the risk that the enemy will seize upon" the release to justify "violent acts," id. at 132a, but declared that "[o]ur nation does not surrender to blackmail, and fear of blackmail is not a legally sufficient argument to prevent us from per forming a statutory command." Id. at 126a.
c. In March 2006, while petitioners' appeal of the district court's ruling was pending, all but one of the relevant photographs and videos were published online by a private organization (Salon.com). See Pet. App. 66a. In light of that publication, petitioners withdrew their appeal and responded to respondents' FOIA re quest for the Darby photographs by authenticating the online material and producing the one additional photo graph.
2. a. While the appeal was still pending, petitioners completed processing 29 additional photographs of de tainees that were potentially responsive to respondents' FOIA requests. Pet. App. 67a, 159a. The 21 photo graphs now at issue are a subset of that group. All 29 photographs are contained within files relating to six investigations conducted by the Army's Criminal Inves tigation Command (CID)3 into allegations of abuse or mistreatment of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan. Id. at 6a, 160a, 167a-170a.4 Petitioners previously had re leased all six CID Reports of Investigation to respon dents without the photographs and with other redac tions to protect personal privacy. See id. at 159a-160a; cf. id. at 162a, 169a-170a (discussing investigations). Each of those reports (CID Reports A-F) contains de scriptions of the relevant detainee-abuse allegations and the CID's investigative findings, and each has been pub licly posted on the internet by respondent ACLU, along with the ACLU's summary of its contents. Cf. id. at 46a, 51a.5
The responsive photographs that petitioners with held from the publicly released CID reports depict de tainees in Iraq and Afghanistan while in United States custody. Several of those images are described in the CID reports themselves. The reports, for instance, ex plain that the photographs include an image showing several soldiers posing near standing detainees who are handcuffed to bars with "sandbags covering their heads" while a soldier holds a broom as if "sticking [its] end * * * into the rectum of a restrained detainee," CID Report D 4782; see Pet. App. 169a-170a (discussing Re port D); an image of a solider who appears to be in the process of striking "an Iraqi detainee with [the butt of] a rifle," CID Report F 8653; and several other images that show soldiers pointing pistols or rifles at the heads of hooded and handcuffed detainees. See, e.g., CID Re port E 6178-6182, 6191, 6203, 6214-6216, 6250-6253, 6267, 6271, 6361, 6458, 6470; see Pet. App. 169a-170a (discussing Reports C and E). Three of the six investi gations led to criminal charges and, in two of those cases, the accused were found guilty and punished pur suant to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. 801 et seq. See Pet. App. 169a-170a.
To support withholding the responsive photographs, petitioners submitted the declaration of Brigadier Gen eral Carter Ham. Pet. App. 171a-183a. General Ham, who served on the Pentagon's Joint Staff and had been the senior Commander in Mosul responsible for all Unit ed States and Coalition operations in Iraq's northern provinces, concluded that the government's disclosure of those photographs would "pose a clear and grave risk of inciting violence and riots against American troops and coalition forces" and "could reasonably be expected" to "[e]ndanger the lives and physical safety" of United States and Coalition military and civilian personnel and Iraqi and Afghan security forces and civilians. Id. at 172a-174a, 181a. General Ham's judgment was based on his extensive military experience, operations and intelli gence briefings and reports, the considerations reflected in General Myers' declaration, and updated information, including the deadly responses to a video depicting Brit ish soldiers beating Iraqi youths and to the publication of a Danish cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad. Id. at 174a-175a, 177a-182a. General Ham stated that he had reviewed General Myers' declaration and had consulted with General Abizaid, General Casey, and Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry (who commanded all Coalition forces in Afghanistan), each of whom agreed with his risk assessment and with the need to "withh[o]ld [the images] in order to protect the lives of" Americans and others. Id. at 175a-176a, 183a.
b. Before ruling on the photographs now at issue, the district court entered a stipulated order indicating that it would rely on the parties' previous briefing "[t]o the extent" that the images before it raised the "same legal issues" as the Darby photographs. Pet. App. 68a. The court also declared that to the extent that the De partment of Defense has any additional "responsive im ages" that have been or will be withheld under, inter alia, Exemption 7(F), the question whether such images should be disclosed will be governed by "the final ruling on appeal" of the district court's ruling on the photo graphs at issue here. Id. at 69a.
In June 2006, the district court reviewed the 29 po tentially responsive photographs in camera and ordered the release of 21 images (with the faces of detainees and some soldiers redacted). See Pet. App. 62a, 64a; see C.A. App. 466-503.6 The district court did not issue a written opinion, instead adopting the reasoning of its September 2005 opinion regarding the Darby photo graphs. Pet. App. 62a, 64a.
3. The court of appeals affirmed. Pet. App. 1a-60a. As relevant here, the court held that Exemption 7(F) did not authorize withholding the 21 photographs as law- enforcement records the disclosure of which "could rea sonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual," 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)(F). Pet. App. 8a-43a.7 The court of appeals rejected the district court's balancing approach, explaining that Exemption 7(F) does not authorize courts to balance the "risk [of harm to individuals] against the public interest" in dis closure. Pet. App. 5a, 40a. The court of appeals also assumed for purposes of its decision that disclosing the photographs "could reasonably be expected to incite violence against United States troops, other Coalition forces, and civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan." Id. at 10a n.3; see id. at 18a. The court nevertheless held that Ex emption 7(F) did not exempt the photographs from man datory disclosure because, in its view, Exemption 7(F) requires that the government "identify at least one indi vidual with reasonable specificity and establish that dis closure of the documents could reasonably be expected to endanger that individual." Ibid. Concluding that the government failed to "identify a single person and say that the release * * * could reasonably be expected to endanger that person's life or physical safety," the court found Exemption 7(F) inapplicable. Id. at 18a-19a.
The court of appeals acknowledged that Exemption 7(F) refers to danger to "any individual," but held that this language did not permit withholding based on a dan ger to United States and Coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan generally. Pet. App. 10a-17a. The court reasoned that its interpretation of "any" was "prefer [able]" on the ground that FOIA exemptions should be "narrowly construed." Id. at 14a-15a (citation omitted). The court also concluded that its interpretation com ported with Congress's focus on risk "to an individual" and avoided reading the term "individual" out of the statute. Id. at 16a-17a (emphasis omitted). In the court's view, that term demonstrated that "risks that are speculative with respect to any [particular] individ ual" are not cognizable. Id. at 17a.
The court of appeals further reasoned that a more expansive reading of Exemption 7(F) would be "incon sistent" with FOIA's treatment of national security in formation in Exemption 1, Pet. App. 19a-24a; read Ex emption 7(F)'s legislative history to suggest that Con gress intended the exemption to protect only individuals "whose personal safety is of central importance to the law enforcement process," id. at 32a (citation omitted); see id. at 24a-36a; and distinguished lower court deci sions interpreting Exemption 7(F) more broadly, id. at 37a-43a.
In light of its requirement that the government iden tify an at-risk individual with reasonable specificity, the court deemed it "plainly insufficient to claim that releas ing documents could reasonably be expected to endan ger some unspecified member of a group so vast as to encompass all United States troops, coalition forces, and civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan." Pet. App. 19a.
The court of appeals subsequently denied rehearing en banc, Pet. App. 134a-135a, and, after the government made an initial determination not to seek certiorari, is sued its mandate on April 27, 2009.
4. The President, after consulting his military and national security advisors, subsequently determined that the photographs at issue here should not be dis closed. The Solicitor General accordingly authorized the filing of a petition for a writ of certiorari in the absence of legislation resolving the issue.8
The President stated that his decision was based on his determination that "the most direct consequence of releasing [the photographs] * * * would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in greater danger." Remarks Prior to Departure for Tem pe, Ariz., Daily Comp. Pres. Docs., 2009 DCPD No. 00359, at 2 (May 13, 2009), available at <http://www. gpoaccess.gov/presdocs/2009/DCPD-200900359.pdf>. The President explained that "it was [his] judgment, in formed by [his] national security team, that releasing these photos would * * * endanger [our troops] in theaters of war," and that "the lives of our young men and women serving in harm's way" provide "a clear and compelling reason to not release these particular pho tos." Remarks at the Nat'l Archives & Records Admin., Daily Comp. Pres. Docs., 2009 DCPD No. 00388, at 7-8 (May 21, 2009), available at <http://www.gpoaccess.gov/ presdocs/2009/DCPD-200900388.pdf>.
Petitioners subsequently moved the court of appeals to recall its mandate, explaining that the President and his top national security advisors had determined that release of the photographs would create an unacceptable risk of danger to United States military and civilian per sonnel. That motion was supported by the public and classified declarations of General David Petraeus, the Commander of U.S. Central Command (Pet. App. 184a- 196a), and General Raymond Odierno, the Commander of the Multi-National Force-Iraq (id. at 197a-211a).9
Based on his insurgency expertise, "extensive experi ence in Iraq," and information obtained as Commander of U.S. Central Command, General Petraeus concluded that producing the photographs would "endanger the lives of" United States military and civilian personnel by "fueling civil unrest" that would "caus[e] increased tar geting of U.S. and Coalition forces." Pet. App. 185a- 188a. He explained that the disclosure of "images de picting U.S. servicemen mistreating detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, or that could be construed as depicting mistreatment, would likely deal a particularly hard blow" to counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan and have a "destabilizing effect on our partner nations" at a particularly critical time, "further endanger[ing] the lives of U.S. [personnel] presently serving there." Id. at 185a-186a; see id. at 189a-196a.
General Odierno similarly expressed his professional judgment (based on years of command experience in Iraq and discussions with senior Iraqi leaders) that "the release of these photos will endanger the lives" of Unit ed States military and civilian personnel and our Iraqi partners, and that the Multi-National Force-Iraq "will likely experience an increase in attacks" in retaliation. Pet. App. 200a, 206a; see id. at 197a-199a, 203a-204a, 206a-210a. General Odierno added that "[c]ertain oper ating units are at particular risk of harm from release of the photos," including members of certain 15- to 30- soldier training teams who execute small-unit patrols that are more vulnerable to insurgent attacks and who live in Iraqi-controlled installations without the protec tions available to many soldiers. Id. at 200a.
On June 10, 2009, the court of appeals recalled its mandate pending the disposition of this petition for a writ of certiorari. The court's two-sentence order stated that "[a]n opinion will follow." That opinion has not yet been issued.
REASONS FOR GRANTING THE PETITION
The President of the United States and the Nation's highest-ranking military officers responsible for ongoing combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have deter mined that disclosure by the government of the photo graphs at issue in this case would pose a significant risk to the lives and physical safety of American military and civilian personnel by inciting violence targeting those personnel. The court of appeals did not question the gravity or probability of that risk, nor did it doubt the professional military judgments underlying that assess ment. The court nevertheless concluded as a matter of law that FOIA mandates the public disclosure of such photographs-regardless of the risk to American lives -because FOIA Exemption 7(F) requires the govern ment to "identify at least one individual with reasonable specificity" and show that disclosure "could reasonably be expected to endanger that individual." Pet. App. 18a.
The court of appeals' holding is inconsistent with the text of Exemption 7(F), which broadly encompasses dan ger to "any individual," with no suggestion of the court's extra-textual requirement of victim specificity. The ex emption's drafting history underscores that conclusion. The court of appeals' view that Congress intended to require disclosure when a death or multiple deaths could reasonably be expected to result if the particular victims could not be sufficiently identified in advance disregards Exemption 7(F)'s fundamental concern with human life and safety and misapprehends the practical balance that Congress struck in that exemption. Congress did not mean for public disclosure of agency records to trump the life and physical safety of individuals-particularly in a case such as this, in which the government has al ready made public the underlying investigative reports revealing all relevant allegations of wrongdoing and the associated investigative conclusions.
The court of appeals' decision marks a significant break from prior decisions applying Exemption 7(F), which have eschewed extra-textual requirements and focused on the practical considerations appropriate when the lives and physical safety of individuals are at risk. Those decisions have been by district courts, and other courts of appeals have yet to address the scope of Exemption 7(F). But the importance of the question presented-and the need for this Court to review the decision below-is demonstrated by the President's de termination, supported by the judgment of the Nation's highest-ranking military officers, that the disclosure of the photographs in this case would jeopardize the lives of American and allied troops and personnel.
The President and the United States military fully recognize that certain photographs at issue depict rep rehensible conduct by American personnel and warrant ed disciplinary action. There are neither justifications nor excuses for such conduct by members of the mili tary. But the fact remains that public disclosure of the photographs could reasonably be expected to endanger the lives and physical safety of individuals engaged in the Nation's military operations in Iraq and Afghani stan. The photographs therefore are exempt from man datory disclosure under FOIA. Review by this Court is warranted to give effect to Exemption 7(F) and the pro tection it affords to the personnel whose lives and physi cal safety would be placed at risk by disclosure.
A. The Court Of Appeals Erred In Holding That Exemption 7(F) Does Not Apply To The Photographs In This Case
The court of appeals held that, in order to invoke the protections of FOIA Exemption 7(F), an agency must "identify at least one individual with reasonable specific ity" and show that disclosure could reasonably be ex pected to endanger "that individual." Pet. App. 18a. The extra-textual requirement of victim-specific identifi cation is inconsistent with the text of Exemption 7(F), as well as its purpose and history. Notably, the court of appeals' interpretation of Exemption 7(F) would require a disclosure that is shown to be certain to cause the deaths of numerous individuals when an agency is un able to identify those individuals ex ante with sufficient specificity. No reasonable legislator would have placed such a low value on human life in this context in order to advance FOIA's interest in public disclosure.
1. FOIA Exemption 7(F) exempts from mandatory disclosure records or information compiled for law- enforcement purposes if their production under FOIA "could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual." 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)(F). The ordinary meaning of "any individual" is broad and all-encompassing, and that meaning is not restricted by any other text in Exemption 7(F) limiting its reach. The court of appeals erred in imposing its own, extra-textual limitation.
Congress defined the scope of Exemption 7(F) in 1986 by reference solely to the life or physical safety of "any individual." "[R]ead naturally, the word 'any' has an expansive meaning, that is, 'one or some indiscrimi nately of whatever kind.'" Ali v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 128 S. Ct. 831, 835-836 (2008) (quoting United States v. Gonzales, 520 U.S. 1, 5 (1997)); see Norfolk S. Ry. v. James N. Kirby, Pty Ltd., 543 U.S. 14, 31 (2004) (citing Gonzales). In the absence of "language limiting the breadth of the word," the term "any" should be given this normal, expansive meaning. Gonzales, 520 U.S. at 5 (citing cases); see Boyle v. United States, 129 S. Ct. 2237, 2243 (2009) ("The term 'any' [in a defini tional provision] ensures that the definition has a wide reach."); Ali, 128 S. Ct. at 836 n.4.
Exemption 7(F) contains no limiting language of any kind. In authorizing agencies to withhold law-enforce ment records whenever their production "could reason ably be expected to endanger the life and physical safety of any individual," 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)(F), Congress avoided statutory language that might restrict the class of individuals entitled to the exemption's protection. Congress, for instance, did not limit Exemption 7(F) to individuals associated directly or indirectly with either "law enforcement" or a "law-enforcement investigation." To the contrary, the 1986 amendments to Exemption 7(F) intentionally broadened its earlier text, which had been limited to the protection of "law enforcement per sonnel." 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)(F) (1982). Likewise, Con gress enacted no language that might have restricted Exemption 7(F)'s protections to those at-risk individuals whom an agency can identify with specificity in advance. Significantly, in FOIA's companion statute, the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a, Congress accorded special treatment to criminal law-enforcement records associated with an "identifiable individual," 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2)(B); cf. 5 U.S.C. 552a(a)(6), (l)(2) and (3). But Congress enacted no analogous text limiting the scope of FOIA Exemption 7(F) to harms faced only by an "identifiable individ ual"-or, as the court of appeals put it, an "individual" "identif[ied] * * * with reasonable specificity" (Pet. App. 18a).
Instead of imposing limits on the applicability of Ex emption 7(F) by requiring an identifiable victim, Con gress defined the boundaries of Exemption 7(F) in terms of the harm that would ensue: whether disclosure "could reasonably be expected" to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual. That restriction en sures that an "objective test" of "reasonableness" will govern an agency's "predict[ion of] harm," and thus reg ulates the assessment of probability required to trigger Exemption 7(F). See S. Rep. No. 221, 98th Cong., 1st Sess. 24 (1983); 132 Cong. Rec. 29,619 (1986) (reproduc ing S. Rep. No. 211 in pertinent part as explanation of Exemption 7(F)'s "intended effect"); cf. Pet. App. 33a n.10. The objective standard ensures that Exemption 7(F)'s broad protection will kick in only when the poten tial for danger is sufficiently realistic. But once that express textual condition has been satisfied, the Exemp tion applies. The government need not disclose records causing danger to human life and safety merely because the particular victims cannot be identified in advance with a reasonable degree of specificity.
There is no reason to believe that Congress, in enact ing Exemption 7(F), placed such a low value on human life and safety as the court of appeals' decision would indicate in order to promote FOIA's interest in public disclosure of agency records. Other provisions in Ex emption 7 permit the withholding of records to advance interests that, while important, are significantly less so than human life and safety. Congress recognized that protecting personal privacy, avoiding interference with civil or criminal enforcement proceedings, ensuring im partial adjudications, and preventing circumvention of the law all warrant withholding under Exemption 7. See 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)(A)-(C) and (E). Indeed, this Court has explained that the personal-privacy protections of Exemption 7(C) provide even "more protect[ion] of pri vacy than Exemption 6," which authorizes withholding of such matters as the names and home addresses of government employees to protect such individuals from being "disturbed at home." Department of Def. v. FLRA, 510 U.S. 487, 497 n.6, 501-502 (1994). The Con gress that amended both Exemption 7(C) and Exemp tion 7(F) in 1986 would not have countenanced any requirement that FOIA's general interest in public dis closure trump the reasonable protection of an individ ual's life and physical safety.
As this case comes to the Court, however, that is pre cisely the result directed by the court of appeals. That court accepted (for the purposes of its decision) the judgment of some of the Nation's highest-ranking mili tary officers that disclosing the photographs at issue could reasonably be expected to result in violence against United States and Coalition personnel and other individuals. Pet. App. 10a n.3. Indeed, the court ac cepted that that disclosure could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or safety of not one individual, but many. See ibid.; pp. 3-4, 7-8, 13-14, supra. The court of appeals' willingness to accept that serious risk to the lives of our troops and other individuals in harm's way through its imposition of an extra-textual requirement of ex ante identification (Pet. App. 18a) underscores the extent of its departure from basic principles of statutory construction.
2. None of the considerations on which the court of appeals based its decision justifies its restrictive inter pretation of Exemption 7(F).
a. The court observed that Congress could have drafted Exemption 7(F) to exempt disclosures that "en danger life or physical safety" and reasoned that Con gress's decision to add the phrase "of any individual" "connotes" some "degree of specificity" in the identifica tion of the individual. Pet. App. 11a. The court also found that its interpretation avoided "read[ing] 'individ ual' out of the exemption" and concluded that Congress's "choice to condition the exemption's availability on dan ger to an individual, rather than danger in general, in dicates a requirement that the subject of the danger be identified with at least reasonably specificity." Id. at 11a, 16a. The court of appeals' reasoning does not follow from FOIA's text.
The phrase "of any individual" serves an important function, especially when considered in light of the provi sion's pre-existing language. That phrase makes clear that Exemption 7(F)'s reference to "life or physical safety" concerns the life or physical safety of any natu ral person, and is not limited only to certain categories of people. That understanding is evident from Con gress's 1986 amendment to the Exemption, which substi tuted "any individual" for "law enforcement personnel." See 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)(F) (1982). Nothing in that amendment suggests a requirement that an agency iden tify a particular at-risk individual with a reasonable de gree of specificity.
Such a requirement would have narrowed, not ex panded, Exemption 7(F)'s protection in a critical re spect. Before 1986, the requirement that disclosure would endanger the "life or physical safety of law en forcement personnel" did not require the government to identify particular at-risk officials. No court ever read such a requirement into the provision, nor would such a requirement have been consistent with its terms. See, e.g., LaRouche v. Webster, No. 75 Civ. 6010, 1984 WL 1061, at *8 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 23, 1984) (applying Exemption 7(F) to block public disclosure of an FBI report describ ing a home-made machine gun, in order to protect "law enforcement personnel" generally). Given that the 1986 amendment to Exemption 7(F) was intended to "ease considerably" an "agency's burden in invoking" its protections, 132 Cong. Rec. 31,424 (1986) (statement of Sen. Hatch) (principal sponsor of amendment); cf. S. Rep. No. 221, supra, at 24, there is no reason to be lieve Congress intended to impose a novel requirement that an agency "identify * * * with reasonable specific ity" (Pet. App. 18a) a particular individual at risk of harm.
b. The court of appeals' reliance on situations in which a statute containing the word "any" has been given a restrictive scope (Pet. App. 11a-17a) is equally unavailing. The Court has read limits into statutes con taining the term "any" in certain narrow contexts such as where a statute included a term of art that "com pelled that result," where another statutory term "made sense only under [such] a narrow reading," and where the "clear statement rule" required for waivers of sover eign immunity made a more limited reading appropriate. Ali, 128 S. Ct. at 836 n.4. But the Court has not re stricted the ordinarily expansive meaning of the term where, as here, no considerations such as those are pres ent.10
c. The contextual factors identified by the court of appeals in support of its ruling (Pet. App. 15a-24a) also fall short of overcoming Exemption 7(F)'s textual breadth. Most notably, the court concluded that the general principle that FOIA exemptions should be "nar rowly construed" was of "central importance" in this case-and, by itself, compelled an interpretation "re quiring a FOIA defendant to identify an individual with reasonable specificity." Id. at 15a-16a (stating that that reading "is a narrower construction, and is to be pre ferred on that ground alone"). But that approach to FOIA is fundamentally misguided. Any number of arti ficial limits can yield a "narrower construction." But a proper interpretation of FOIA's Exemptions must de rive such limits from the statute itself. Nothing in the precept that FOIA should be construed in light of the statute's general policy of disclosure justifies novel, extra-textual restraints on the scope of its exemptions.
To the contrary, this Court has made clear that its "pronouncements of liberal congressional purpose" be understood consistently with Congress's intention to give FOIA's exemptions "meaningful reach and applica tion." John Doe Agency v. John Doe Corp., 493 U.S. 146, 152 (1989). Congress established in FOIA a "basic pol icy" favoring disclosure, but it simultaneously recog nized that "important interests [are] served by the ex emptions." FBI v. Abramson, 456 U.S. 615, 630-631 (1982). Those exemptions embody Congress's common- sense determination that "public disclosure is not always in the public interest." CIA v. Sims, 471 U.S. 159, 166-167 (1985). For that reason, the "Court consistently has taken a practical approach" in interpreting FOIA's exemptions, in order to strike a "workable balance" be tween the public's general interest in disclosure and "the needs of Government to protect certain kinds of information from disclosure." John Doe Agency, 493 U.S. at 157; Weinberger v. Catholic Action, 454 U.S. 139, 144 (1981) (Congress "balance[d] the public's need for access to official information with the Government's need for confidentiality.").
The court of appeals' approach erroneously places a thumb on the side of disclosure, regardless of the situa tion or circumstances. The purpose of Exemption 7(F), like all FOIA exemptions, is to protect "legitimate gov ernmental and private interests [that] could be harmed by release" of agency records. Abramson, 456 U.S. at 621. The particular interest at issue in the exemption- the "life" and "physical safety" of individuals-is one of the most important addressed in the statute. The prac tical balance contemplated by this Court's decisions re quires that judicial interpretation of that provision give full weight to the broad language enacted by Congress and the purpose it sought to accomplish.
The court also erroneously relied on FOIA Exemp tion 1 (Pet. App. 20a-24a) to provide a basis for its artifi cial limitation of Exemption 7(F). Exemption 1 applies to records properly classified under an Executive Order of the President. 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(1). Classification de pends, among other things, on a finding that the infor mation concerns certain subject-matter categories (such as intelligence activities, military plans, weapons sys tems, or operations) and a determination that the unau thorized disclosure of that information "reasonably could be expected to result in damage to the national security," i.e., damage to "the national defense or for eign relations of the United States." See Exec. Order No. 12,958, §§ 1.1(a)(3) and (4), 1.4 , 6.1(y) (as amended by Exec. Order No. 13,292, 68 Fed. Reg. 15,315, 15,317, 15,332 (2003)). Those standards require a different in quiry, involving different considerations, from Exemp tion 7(F)'s requisite determination that disclosure could reasonably be expected to "endanger the life or physical safety of any individual," 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)(F). Exemp tion 1 thus cannot provide a basis for reading Exemption 7(F) restrictively, much less for making up a require ment that the government "identify" particular at-risk individuals with "reasonable specificity."
That Exemptions 1 and 7(F) may both be available in certain circumstances does not justify the court of ap peals' conclusion. See Abramson, 456 U.S. at 629 (re jecting similar argument favoring restrictive reading of Exemption 7(C) because of overlapping privacy protec tions in Exemption 6). "[T]he legitimate interests in protecting information from disclosure under Exemp tion 7" are not "satisfied by other exemptions," including Exemption 1. Ibid. Most obviously, there are many potential cases in which Exemption 7(F)'s requirements would be met that have nothing to do with national de fense or foreign relations. Conversely, the interests at issue in Exemption 1 are not satisfied by Exemption 7(F) and could not be restricted on that basis. That two exemptions may be graphically portrayed as a Venn dia gram, with areas of overlap between them, cannot pro vide a basis for refusing to give one, the other, or both their most natural reading.
3. a. The legislative history of Exemption 7(F) con firms that the court of appeals' extra-textual gloss is inconsistent with the intent of Congress.
Exemption 7(F) took its present form in 1986 when Congress passed FOIA amendments based upon a 1980 legislative proposal by the Department of Justice. As then-Professor Scalia testified in 1981, the Justice De partment had come to believe that the initial version of the exemption enacted in 1974-which limited protection to the "life or physical safety of law enforcement person nel," 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)(F) (1982)-was "absurdly lim ited" and reflected an "inadequate" balance of the seri ous interests at stake. See 1 Freedom of Information Act: Hearings Before the Subcomm. on the Constitution of the Senate Comm. on the Judiciary, 97th Cong., 1st Sess. 960 (1981) (1981 Hearings); cf. id. at 953-954. Pro fessor Scalia illustrated the "inadequacy, almost irratio nality" of that limitation, by asking: "Why only law en forcement personnel? Why not their spouses and chil dren? Come to think of it, why not anyone, even you and me?" Id. at 959 (emphasis added).
Attorney General Civiletti's 1980 FOIA proposal, which Justice Scalia's testimony addressed, directly re solved that precise shortcoming by recommending that the term "law enforcement personnel" be replaced with the term "any natural person." 1981 Hearings 178, 182. That change was warranted, the Attorney General ex plained, because there was "no reason" for protecting "law enforcement personnel to the exclusion of all oth ers"; FOIA should authorize the withholding of records whenever "the life or personal safety of any person would be endangered by their release." Id. at 189, 200. The protective scope of the proposed Exemption 7(F), the Department observed, would "include such persons as witnesses and potential witnesses whose personal safety is of critical importance to the law enforcement process." Id. at 638, 693. By identifying "such persons" as "include[d]" under its proposal, the Department did not thereby suggest any limitation on the facially all- inclusive term "any natural person." Rather, the De partment presumably chose to focus on those persons who would most often benefit from its proposal. The proposal itself cast the protective net broadly, to any person whose life or safety was endangered.
Several bills in the 97th Congress, including one in troduced by Senator Hatch (S. 1730), incorporated the Justice Department's recommendation to extend Ex emption 7(F)'s protections to "any natural person." 1981 Hearings 8, 30, 50, 67. Those proposals were sup ported by open-government advocates, including the ACLU, whose representative testified that Exemption 7(F) was "too narrow and should be extended to protect the life and physical safety o[f] 'any natural person.'" Id. at 870, 917; see id. at 518 (Freedom of Information Clearinghouse witness observing that, if individuals' "privacy is worthy of protection, so are their lives").
In the 98th Congress, Senator Hatch introduced S. 774 based on his bill in the previous Congress, propos ing again to extend Exemption 7(F)'s protections to "any natural person." S. Rep. No. 221, supra, at 3-6, 23 (em phasis omitted) (explaining that S. 774 "is virtually iden tical to S. 1730" and recounting S. 1730's history in the 97th Congress). Reflecting the Justice Department's earlier explanation of the bill, the Senator observed that "any natural person" would "include such persons as witnesses, potential witnesses, and family members whose personal safety is of central importance to the law enforcement process." 130 Cong. Rec. 3502 (1984). At the same time, Senator Hatch made clear that the groups of individuals he mentioned were exemplary only: Criticizing the existing Exemption 7(F)'s exclusive focus on the life and physical safety of "law enforcement personnel," Senator Hatch invoked "the [testimony] of Professor Scalia" and asked, "'why not anyone?'" Ibid.
S. 774 passed the Senate, 130 Cong. Rec. 3521 (1984), but it did not pass the House of Representatives before the end of the 98th Congress. The portion of S. 774 amending FOIA Exemption 7 was then reintroduced in the 99th Congress as part of a Senate bill (S. 2878), which the Senate adopted and passed as an amendment to the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 (H.R. 5484). See 132 Cong. Rec. 26,111 (1986) (S. 2878, § 1801(a)); id. at 26,473, 27,208, 27,251-27,252 (H.R. 5484, § 1801); id. at 27,189 (Sen. Leahy) (explaining that the FOIA amend ments' text was "identical" to that in S. 774 and that the Senate Report on S. 774 explained the "meaning and intended effect of the amendments"). Senator Hatch reiterated that the amendment to Exemption 7(F) would extend "protection to the life of any natural person" to correct "an obvious and absurd limitation" in the exist ing law. Id. at 26,770. After a House amendment to the Senate's Exemption 7(F) proposal employed the phrase "any individual" rather than "any natural person," id. at 29,652, Senator Hatch clarified that the change in termi nology did not effect any substantive change. See id. at 31,423-31,424 (revisions to Exemption 7 "derive pre cisely" from S. 774); see also id. at 29,619 (Rep. Kind ness) (explaining that the Senate Report on S. 774 re flects the "meaning and intended effect of the [House] amendments"); cf. Pet. App. 33a n.10. Congress enacted H.R. 5484 into law. See Freedom of Information Re form Act of 1986, Pub. L. No. 99-570, Tit. I, Subtit. N, § 1802(a), 100 Stat. 3207-48 (amending Exemption 7(F)).
b. The court of appeals opined that Congress limited Exemption 7(F) to individuals whose "risk of harm [was] incident to a law enforcement investigation," believing that Congress focused on the problem of criminals "deter[ing] or hinder[ing] law enforcement investiga tions" by targeting "those involved in such investiga tions" and their "associates or relatives." Pet. App. 36a. The history recited above, however, reflects Congress's recognition that extending protection to "any individual" would-and should-sweep more broadly to cover any one whose life or physical safety could be jeopardized. Congress no doubt thought that certain categories of persons would frequently receive protection by virtue of the new, broad language, but nothing in the legislative history suggests any attempt to confine the amended exemption to these "repeat players."
In any event, and more importantly, the language Congress enacted contains no such limit. "[S]tatutory provisions often go beyond the principal evil [targeted by Congress] to cover reasonably comparable evils," and "it is ultimately the provisions of our laws rather than the principal concerns of our legislators by which we are governed." Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Servs., Inc., 523 U.S. 75, 79 (1998); see, e.g., H.J. Inc. v. Northwest ern Bell Tel. Co., 492 U.S. 229, 248 (1989); cf. TVA v. Hill, 437 U.S. 153, 185 (1978). The "whole value of a generally phrased [provision]" like Exemption 7(F) is that its text captures a spectrum of "matters not specifi cally contemplated" by Congress. Republic of Iraq v. Beaty, 129 S. Ct. 2183, 2191 (2009). Thus, even if faithful application of Exemption 7(F)'s text would result in its application to "situations not expressly anticipated by Congress," that possibility "does not demonstrate ambi guity. It demonstrates breadth." PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin, 532 U.S. 661, 689 (2001) (quoting Pennsylvania Dep't of Corr. v. Yeskey, 524 U.S. 206, 212 (1988)).
c. The Department of Justice has long understood Exemption 7(F)'s sweep to be expansive. Shortly after FOIA's 1986 amendments were enacted, the Attorney General issued guidance to federal agencies explaining the amendments' scope. See U.S. Dep't of Justice, At torney General's Memorandum on the 1986 Amend ments to the Freedom of Information Act (1987). The Attorney General explained that Congress's expansion of Exemption 7(F) to "encompass 'any individual' is ob viously designed to ensure that no law enforcement in formation that could endanger anyone if disclosed * * * should ever be required to be released" under FOIA. Id. at 18 (emphasis added). In light of that "clear authority" to withhold documents "endangering any person," the Attorney General instructed that "agencies should take pains to ensure that they withhold any information that, if disclosed under the FOIA, could reasonably be expected to endanger someone's life or physical safety." Id. at 12 n.20, 18. This Court has re peatedly cited the Attorney General's FOIA memoranda as a reliable interpretation of FOIA. See, e.g., National Archives & Records Admin. v. Favish, 541 U.S. 157, 169 (2004); Abramson, 456 U.S. at 622 n.5; Department of State v. Washington Post Co., 456 U.S. 595, 602 n.3 (1982); Kissinger v. Reporters Comm. for Freedom of the Press, 445 U.S. 136, 151 (1980).
B. Review By This Court Is Warranted To Ensure The Pro tection Of Exemption 7(F) For Personnel Involved In Military Operations In Iraq And Afghanistan
The court of appeals' decision is the first to adopt an interpretation of Exemption 7(F) requiring disclosure of records that could reasonably be expected to endanger human lives and safety. Neither the district court in this case nor any of the few courts to have addressed similar questions have declined to apply Exemption 7(F) on the ground that the government failed to identify threat ened individuals with reasonable specificity. Indeed, before the court of appeals' decision, courts had consis tently followed an approach recognizing the important interests at stake and confirming that Exemption 7(F)'s "plain language supports a broader reach." Peter S. Her rick's Customs & Int'l Trade Newsletter v. United States Customs & Border Prot., No. 04-00377, 2006 WL 1826185, at *8-*9 (D.D.C. June 30, 2006) (withholding portions of internal asset-seizure handbook because dis closure would risk danger both to customs officials gen erally and "innocent third parties located in the vicinity of Customs' officials, activities, or seized contraband"); see also, e.g., Los Angeles Times Commc'ns, LLC v. De partment of the Army, 442 F. Supp. 2d 880, 898-900 (C.D. Cal. 2006) (withholding names of companies per forming private security contracts in Iraq because of risk to unspecified "military personnel, [company] em ployees, and civilians"); Living Rivers, Inc. v. United States Bureau of Reclamation, 272 F. Supp. 2d 1313, 1321-1322 (D. Utah 2003) (withholding agency maps showing areas subject to innundation from dam fail- ures to protect individuals who could be at risk from terrorist-induced dam failures); p. 21, supra (discussing LaRouche).11
When only one court of appeals has addressed a par ticular issue, this Court usually will await developments in other courts of appeals before granting certiorari. But the Court should not do so here. The court of ap peals has seriously erred in failing to give full effect to Exemption 7(F)'s manifest purpose to protect against danger to human life and safety. And this error may have grave consequences. FOIA allows "any person" to request agency records and to bring an action to compel disclosure if the request is denied. 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(3) and (4)(B). As a result, the court of appeals' decision would enable any member of the public in the Second Circuit to obtain records that pose a danger to human life and safety whenever potential victims cannot be identified with what a court deems sufficient specificity. The potential dangers of this decision sweep widely.
More acutely, the court of appeals' approach poses a significant risk of harm in this very case, to persons who already are confronting danger on a daily basis. In the judgment of the President and the Nation's highest- ranking military officers, disclosure of the photographs at issue here would pose a substantial risk to the lives and physical safety of United States and allied military and civilian personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. See pp. 3-4, 7-8, 12-14, supra.12 And it would do so at a particu larly fragile time, when conditions in Iraq and Afghani stan are in transition and flux. Before those risks are borne by service members and other in harm's way, this Court should grant review of the court of appeals' deci sion.
The petition for a writ of certiorari should be granted.
Assistant Attorney General
EDWIN S. KNEEDLER
Deputy Solicitor General
ANTHONY A. YANG
PRATIK A. SHAH
Assistants to the Solicitor
DOUGLAS N. LETTER
MATTHEW M. COLLETTE
SEAN H. LANE
PETER M. SKINNER
HEATHER K. MCSHAIN
JEH CHARLES JOHNSON
Department of Defense
Washington, D.C. 20301
LEVATOR NORSWORTHY, JR.
Acting General Counsel
Department of the Army
1 Although respondents filed suit against several governmental de fendants, the Darby photographs and the photographs of detainees now at issue are records of the Department of Defense and the Department of the Army.
2 The district court also held that the redacted photographs were not exempt under FOIA Exemptions 6 and 7(C), 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(6) and (7)(C). See Pet. App. 112a-124a.
3 That Command retains the acronym of its predecessor, the Crimi nal Investigation Division.
4 Although petitioners identified potentially responsive photographs in files relating to a seventh investigation, Pet. App. 160a, the district court concluded that those photographs were not responsive to re spondents' FOIA requests. Id. at 64a, 168a, 170a (discussing Tab G and photographs G-1 and G-2); C.A. App. 504.
5 Those reports and the ACLU's summaries of their contents are available at <http://www.aclu.org/torturefoia/released/122104.html> (listing CID Report A as record for "Incident date: 11/7/02"); <http:// www.aclu.org/torturefoia/released/012405.html> (listing CID Reports B, C, and D as records dated "12/19/2003", "7/21/2004", and "7/16/1934" [7/16/2004]); <http://www.aclu.org/torturefoia/released/021605.html> (listing CID Report E as record dated "8/25/04"); <http://www.aclu.org/ torturefoia/released/030705/> (listing CID Report F as record for inci dent date "6/13/03-6/13/04"). The district court ultimately ordered the release of three photographs (A-6 to A-8) from Report A; two photo graphs (B-1 and B-2) from Report B; one photograph from each of Reports C, D, and F (photographs C-1, D-1, and F-1); and 13 photo graphs (E-1 to E-13) from Report E. See Pet. App. 62a, 64a; cf. id. at 167a-170a (listing photographs and investigations).
6 Shortly after the district court's orders regarding the 21 images currently at issue, petitioners advised respondents that petitioners had processed and withheld 23 other images of detainees. Pet. App. 6a n.2. Petitioners have now identified a "substantial number" of additional detainee photographs in other CID reports (id. at 185a), in addition to the 23 other photographs, which likely will be found responsive to respondents' FOIA requests. Many of the additional photographs raise privacy-based issues distinct from those resolved by the district court and court of appeals in their rulings on Exemptions 6 and 7(C) (see p. 5 note 2, supra; p. 9 note 7, infra). But, as indicated by the district court's stipulated order (Pet. App. 69a), the government's ability to withhold a significant number of the additional images under Exemp tion 7(F) would be governed by the court of appeals' decision at issue in this petition.
7 The court of appeals also held that the photographs are not exempt from mandatory disclosure under FOIA's privacy exemptions (Exemp tions 6 and 7(C)). Pet. App. 43a-59a. The government does not seek review of that aspect of the court of appeals' decision.
8 Legislation is pending that would specifically authorize the Secre tary of Defense to prevent the disclosure of photographs relating to the treatment of detainees held abroad by United States forces after Sep tember 11, 2001 (including the photographs in this case) by certifying his determination that the disclosure of the photographs would endan ger United States citizens or members of the Armed Forces or United States government employees deployed abroad. See 155 Cong. Rec. S6742 (daily ed. June 17, 2009).
On May 21, 2009, the Senate passed by unanimous consent the Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act of 2009 as an amend ment to the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009 (H.R. 2346), 155 Cong. Rec. at S5798-S5799 (Amendment 1157), but the subsequent conference report on H.R. 2346 did not include that amendment. H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 151, 111th Cong., 1st Sess. (2009).
The Senate subsequently has twice passed the Detainee Photo graphic Records Protection Act of 2009 without substantive change. First, on June 17, 2009, the Senate passed the Act by unanimous consent as a freestanding bill (S. 1285). 155 Cong. Rec. at S6742. The House of Representatives has referred S. 1285 to two House commit tees, id. at H7019 (June 18, 2009), where it remains pending. Second, on July 9, 2009, the Senate passed the Act by unanimous consent as an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2010 (H.R. 2892). Id. at S7303-S7304, S7370 (H.R. 2892 § 567(a)). The Senate passed the appropriation act, has requested a conference with the House, and has appointed conferees for H.R. 2892. Id. at S7311-S7312 (July 9, 2009); see id. at H8012 (July 13, 2009). The President recently informed the sponsors of the pending detainee- photograph legislation that he "support[s] this legislation" and "will work with Congress to get it passed." Letter from Pres. Obama to Sen. Lieberman & Sen. Graham (July 29, 2009).
9 The public declarations (Pet. App. 184a-211a) are redacted, unclas sified versions of the classified declarations of Generals Petraeus and Odierno. The classified declarations were submitted to the court of appeals and contain further information regarding the danger to mili tary and civilian personnel and the bases for the Generals' conclusions. Unredacted copies of the classified declarations will be submitted to this Court in connection with this petition under appropriate security measures.
10 The authority cited by the court of appeals (Pet. App. 13a-15a) does not alter that conclusion. The Court's decision in Cline v. General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc., 540 U.S. 581 (2004), for instance, nei ther turned on the meaning of "any individual" nor questioned the breadth of the word "any" in that phrase. See id. at 586-591, 596, 600 (holding that the term "age" in the Age Discrimination in Employment Act "means 'old age' when teamed with 'discrimination'" in the act). The Court in Small v. United States, 544 U.S. 385 (2005), expressly recognized that the "word 'any' demands a broad interpretation" in most instances, but held that Congress's reference in 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1) to convictions in "any court" would not have been intended to include foreign courts in light of the Court's assumption that Congress normally legislates with domestic concerns in mind. 544 U.S. at 388- 391. Similarly, Nixon v. Missouri Municipal League, 541 U.S. 125, 132-133 (2004), merely held that the phrase "any entity" in a preemp tion statute did not extend to subdivisions of a State because of the "strange and indeterminate results of using federal preemption to free public entities from state and local limitations."
11 The court of appeals' announcement of a novel Exemption 7(F) standard is particularly problematic because the court did not remand to provide the government an opportunity to satisfy it. As suggested by the declaration of General Odierno, the government may be able to satisfy the new standard in this case. See Pet. App. 200a (discussing small operating units at particular risk of harm).
12 The practical effect of the court of appeals' decision is magnified
by the potential number of photographs to which it may apply. Although the
court's opinion addressed only the 21 photographs before it and an acknowledged
23 others previously identified as responsive, many other photographs likely
will be found responsive to respondents' FOIA requests. See p. 9 note 6,