Skip to main content

ACLU v. FBI, No. 11-7562, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43244 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 31, 2015) (Pauley, III, J.)


ACLU v. FBI, No. 11-7562, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43244 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 31, 2015) (Pauley, III, J.)

Re: Request for records concerning government's use of section 215 of USA PATRIOT Act

Disposition: Granting remainder of defendant's motion for summary judgment; denying plaintiff's motion for summary judgment

  • Exemption 1:  "After considering the Government's classified submissions, this Court finds that the Section 1.4(c) exemption applies to the records listed in the Government's Vaughn index."  "In short, disclosure of responsive records or any farther information about them (i.e., their nature or number) would reveal classified intelligence activities, sources or methods."
  • Exemption 3:  The court holds that "'[t]he [Government] has stated as much detail publicly in this case as it reasonably could without revealing sensitive information, and presented farther specifics in camera.'"  "'This is the proper way to satisfy FOIA Exemption 3.'"  The court relates that "[t]he Government asserts that disclosing the FISC opinion or any other information about FISC orders beyond what is listed on its Vaughn index would reveal intelligence sources and methods."  The court notes that "[t]he Government invokes Exemption 3 pursuant to Section 102A(i)(1) of the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, 50 U.S.C. § 3024(i)(1), which provides that 'the Director of National Intelligence shall protect intelligence sources and methods from unauthorized disclosure.'"
  • Litigation Considerations, "Reasonably Segregable" Requirements:  "After considering all of the classified submissions, [the] Court finds the Government's justifications particularly persuasive and concludes that its segregability determinations were lawful."  The court explains that "[t]he Government is acutely aware of the consequences of revealing filaments of its intelligence gathering."  "Where, as here, the Government has offered a reasoned and persuasive explanation for withholding information, its judgment should not be second guessed."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 1
Exemption 3
Litigation Considerations, “Reasonably Segregable” Requirements
Updated December 17, 2021