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Elgabrowny v. CIA, No. 17-00066, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54807 (D.D.C. Mar. 31, 2019) (Chutkan, J.)


Elgabrowny v. CIA, No. 17-00066, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54807 (D.D.C. Mar. 31, 2019) (Chutkan, J.)

Re:  Request for records concerning "1993's World Trade Center Bombing Conspiracy"

Disposition:  Granting in part and denying in part defendant's motions for summary judgment; denying plaintiff's cross-motions for summary judgment

  • Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search:  The court holds that "the FBI searched sites where records relating to Plaintiff's Requests, if they existed, were reasonably likely to be found."  The court also notes that "[defendant] expressly attested that the searches were 'adequate [and] reasonably likely to locate records responsive to [P]laintiff's request.'"  The court finds that "Plaintiff has failed to show, beyond speculation, that a text search of [another records system] would produce responsive documents."  Additionally, "[t]he court finds that the CIA has discharged its obligation under FOIA regarding Request No. F-2011-001562,[one request] because it adequately searched and located the sole document requested."  "However, the CIA provides no information regarding its search, if any, regarding to [another request], and therefore the court denies summary judgment as to that Request."  Finally, the court finds that "[EOUSA] provides little to no detail regarding the searches."  "[EOUSA] mentions AccessPro but includes no other particulars to explain the nature of that particular system, or how it was specifically utilized in these searches."  "[EOUSA] offers no other details regarding the search methodology, or what sources were investigated."
  • Exemption 3:  "The court also finds that Exhibit C relates to 'intelligence sources and methods.'"  The court explains that "Section 102A(i)(1) of the National Security Act permits invocation of Exemption 3."  Regarding plaintiff's segregability argument, the court finds that "Plaintiff has not provided any basis to question the good-faith presumption afforded to these representations."
  • Litigation Considerations, In Camera Inspection:  The court finds that "given the reasonably detailed nature of both the CIA Declaration regarding the reasons for withholding Exhibit C, the absence of any evidence of bad faith, and the lack of valid justification provided by Plaintiff supporting such relief, Plaintiff's Third Motion for In Camera Review is denied."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 3
Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search
Litigation Considerations, In Camera Inspection
Litigation Considerations, Supplemental to Main Categories
Updated January 11, 2022