Skip to main content

Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Dep't of the Navy, No. 12-1182, 2013 WL 5297150 (D.D.C. Sept. 18, 2013) (Leon, J.)

Re: Request for records concerning "burial at sea of terrorist leader killed during special forces raid" Disposition: Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment
  • Exemption 1:  The court concludes that the Navy properly withheld information concerning the terrorist's burial at sea pursuant to Exemption 1.  "The information redacted from [three documents] includes sensitive information about timing, personnel, procedures, and protocols."  "As such, disclosure could harm our national security by compromising military operational secrets that could be used to thwart future operations."  "There is also plausible reason to believe that disclosing the redacted information could harm our national security by inciting al-Qai'da's members to retaliate against United States citizens and interests."  The court finds that the defendant's "assertion that disclosure of the redacted information poses a potential threat to national security easily crosses the logical and plausible threshold recently affirmed by" the D.C. Circuit.
  • Responsiveness/Exemption 5:  The court holds that the Navy properly withheld "headings of the ten responsive documents, which were added to the documents during processing in response to plaintiff's FOIA request."  "Because these headings post-date the Navy's search for documents in response to plaintiff's FOIA request, they are by definition nonresponsive."  The court also concludes that the headings were properly protected pursuant to "the attorney work-product prong of Exemption 5."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 1
Exemption 5
Updated August 6, 2014