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James Madison Project v. CIA, No. 17-1231, 2018 WL 4623036 (D.D.C. Sept. 26, 2018) (Jackson, J.)


James Madison Project v. CIA, No. 17-1231, 2018 WL 4623036 (D.D.C. Sept. 26, 2018) (Jackson, J.)

Re:  Requests for records concerning 2017 meeting in which President Trump allegedly shared "'sensitive classified information'" concerning terrorist threat with Russian Foreign Minister and Russian Ambassador to United States

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

  • Exemptions 1 & 3, Glomar:  The court holds that, "[h]ere, the three agencies' declarants aver that the question of whether or not these agencies have responsive records is itself a classified fact that is protected by Executive Order and that disclosure of this fact could pose a risk to national security."  "After examining the declarations submitted by the three agencies in support of their motion, the Court is satisfied that they have put forth a 'plausible' and 'logical' argument in support of their Glomar responses under FOIA Exemption 1."  Additionally, "[b]ecause each agency's declaration both identifies the statute that excludes the information and establishes that the information falls within the statute’s scope, the Court finds that FOIA Exemption 3 was properly invoked."

    Also, "[t]he Court cannot speculate that specific documents exist within individual agencies based on general pronouncements in the public domain, or the fact that 'the U.S. Government' had an 'interest' in a matter that came up at the meeting."  "To do so would violate the strict requirements of the official acknowledgment doctrine which demands 'exactitude,' particularly in cases like this one where national security and foreign affairs are involved."  "[T]he Court finds that none of the public statements constitute official acknowledgments that waived defendants’ Glomar responses."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 1
Exemption 3
Updated November 19, 2021