Carter v. NSA, No. 12-0968, 2013 WL 4505284 (D.D.C. Aug. 26, 2013) (Kollar-Kotelly, J.)

Date: 
Monday, August 26, 2013
Re: Request for records concerning the "surveillance, targeting, and/or domestic collection" of plaintiff Disposition: Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment
  • Procedural Requirements, Proper FOIA Requests:  The court reject's plaintiff's challenge of defendant's construction of plaintiff's request and holds that, "[i]n light of the origin, function, and mission of [defendant], it is reasonable for its staff to have interpreted Plaintiff's FOIA request as one for information about him which [defendant] obtained in the course of its communications surveillance activities."
  • Exemption 1 and Exemption 3 Glomar:  The court finds that, "Plaintiff offers nothing more than opinion and speculation as to the deficiencies in the declaration, and therefore does not undermine the deference normally afforded to an agency, and particularly in the realm of national security matters."  The court continues to state, "[n]or does Plaintiff demonstrate any other basis to conclude that [defendant's] Glomar response, which is 'an exception to the general rule that agencies must acknowledge the existence of information responsive to a FOIA request and provide specific, non-conclusory justifications for withholding that information,' is not proper in this case."  The court explains that defendant, "refuses to confirm or deny the existence or nonexistence of the information Plaintiff requests because Exemptions 1 and 3 'would ... preclude the acknowledgement of such documents.'"  The court states that, "[defendant] establishes that any further response to Plaintiff's FOIA request would result in disclosure of intelligence information which, in light of [defendant's] intelligence responsibilities, amounts to the disclosure of the sources of and methods by which its intelligence is collected."  Specifically concerning Exemption 3, the court finds that, "[defendant] establishes that any such information is classified in accordance with Executive Order 13,526, and is otherwise protected from release by the relevant provisions of the National Security Act of 1959, 18 U.S.C. § 798, and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004."
Topic: 
District Court
Exemption 1
Exemption 3
Glomar
Procedural
Updated August 6, 2014