Thursday, September 15, 2016
Manna v. DOJ, No. 15-794, 2016 WL 4921394 (D.D.C. Sept. 15, 2016) (Howell, J.)
Re: Request for records concerning alleged informant in plaintiff's criminal case
Disposition: Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment
- Exemption 7(C), The "Glomar" Response: First, the court holds that "defendant's request for summary judgment is granted with respect to its Glomar response to the plaintiff's request" for "record[s] . . . contain[ing] information about [the alleged informant] unrelated to his status as a government informant either in [a third party's] trial or in the plaintiff's case." The court relates that "[i]n [the third party's] trial, [the alleged informant] testified that he previously provided information to the government about the plaintiff prior to the plaintiff's prosecution." The court finds that "the record does not support the conclusion that [the alleged informant] waived the FOIA's protection with respect to all the information targeted by the plaintiff's request" because, "[e]ven assuming [the alleged informant's] disclosure would otherwise qualify as 'officially acknowledged' information, the plaintiff's request for 'any information provided by [the alleged informant] from the onset of his opening as an informant for the government up to and including [August 5, 2014]' far exceeds the scope of that disclosure." Responding to plaintiff's argument, the court finds that "plaintiff has put forth no explanation as to how information about [the alleged informant's] participation or lack thereof in other government investigations could 'corroborate [the plaintiff’s] claim of innocence.'"
Second, for similar reasons, the court finds that "summary judgment is granted to the defendant as to its withholding of records responsive to plaintiff's request for "'information made public by the government,' . . . regarding '[t]he fact that [the alleged informant] was indeed a government informant as to the [third party] matter.'" The court finds that "plaintiff has not articulated how additional information related to [the alleged informant's] status as a government informant in the [third party] trial, which involved a separate investigation and proceeding, would further the public's interest in knowing whether the defendant has engaged in misconduct with respect to the plaintiff's case."
Third, the court finds that "plaintiff's allegations of government misconduct are insufficient to create a genuine dispute of material fact that could overcome the defendant's request for summary judgment as to its withholding of information falling within" plaintiff's request for "'information made public by [the alleged informant] . . . include[ing] '[a]ny information provided by [the alleged informant] in the investigation of [the plaintiff].'" The court relates that "defendant did perform a search for records falling into this category 'given [the alleged informant's] specific acknowledgment of his informant status with respect to' the plaintiff . . . but [the court agrees] that 'the contents of any such records are categorically exempt from disclosure' pursuant to Exemptions 6 and 7(C)."
Updated January 19, 2017