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Hetznecker v. NSA, No. 16-945, 2017 WL 264389 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 20, 2017) (Schiller, J.)


Hetznecker v. NSA, No. 16-945, 2017 WL 264389 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 20, 2017) (Schiller, J.)


Re: Request for records concerning "Occupy Philly"


Disposition: Denying defendant's motion for reconsideration

  • Litigation Considerations, In Camera Inspection: The court denies defendants' motion for reconsideration. The court relates that "[t]he NSA and the CIA argue that the Court committed a clear error of law when it ordered in camera review following their Glomar Responses." "The Agencies also argue that the Court erred as a matter of law by declining to decide if the Agencies' pubic affidavits are sufficient to justify the Glomar Responses before ordering in camera review." The court finds that "[c]ourts often defer to agencies on national security as the agency's 'information, experience, and expertise' are matters generally outside of the Court’s purview." "But the district judge must make a final determination at summary judgment, and in camera review aids in that process." "Because this is a purely domestic record request of two internationally-focused agencies, the Court feels it must tread carefully, taking all responsible steps in order to arrive at the correct outcome." The court does note that, "[i]n order to preserve the Glomar Responses, the Court required the Agencies to submit the indices regardless of whether or not the searches yielded any records." "Thus, the Court's order preserves the status quo by not revealing to [plaintiff] or to the public whether documents responsive to his request exist and the Agencies suffer no manifest injustice."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Litigation Considerations, In Camera Inspection
Updated December 9, 2021