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DeFraia v. CIA, No. 16-01862, 2018 WL 2016474 (D.D.C. Apr. 30, 2018) (McFadden, J.)


DeFraia v. CIA, No. 16-01862, 2018 WL 2016474 (D.D.C. Apr. 30, 2018) (McFadden, J.)

Re:  Request for records concerning CIA's former detention and interrogation program

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

  • Litigation Considerations, Mootness and Other Grounds for Dismissal:  The court relates that "[t]he parties have expressly agreed, in a document signed by attorneys for both sides, that the scope of the first portion of [plaintiff's] 2014 Request is limited to [certain contracts]."  "The contracts were redacted as specified in the Joint Status Report, and the CIA invoked no additional exemptions."  "[Plaintiff] still wants to enforce the scope of his original 2014 Request, which was somewhat broader."  "But [the court finds that] it is the Joint Status Report, not [plaintiff's] original request, that controls."  The court also relates that "[plaintiff] points to five sets of documents referenced in the CIA contracts, which he says are illustrative of 'obvious indications that [the] CIA omitted responsive records.'"  "But [the court finds that] none of those documents constitute a contract – or part of a contract – that the CIA has failed to produce."  Overall, the court holds that "the CIA has produced all the records that [plaintiff] requested under the first part of his 2014 Request, fully complying with its obligations under FOIA."  The court finds similarly regarding plaintiff's 2015 request.
  • Litigation Considerations, In Camera Inspection:  The court "find[s] that no justification exists for reviewing any documents in camera for compliance with Exemption 6."  The court finds that "the mere possibility of error does not warrant in camera review."  Additionally, the court finds that "[defendant's] bland description is reasonably specific, and indeed seems wise."  "This program obviously 'implicat[ed] national security, a uniquely executive purview,' where 'both the Supreme Court and this Court have expressly recognized the propriety of deference to the executive in the context of FOIA claims.'"  "Any additional specificity about the specific 'proposals' or 'resource allocation' decisions under consideration might well be unreasonable in this context, and [plaintiff] points to no 'contrary evidence in the record nor . . . evidence of agency bad faith.'"
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Litigation Considerations, In Camera Inspection
Litigation Considerations, Mootness and Other Grounds for Dismissal
Updated December 7, 2021