Mosier v. CIA, No. 2:13-cv-00744-MCE-KJN, 2013 WL 6198197 (E.D. Cal. November 27, 2013) (England, Jr., C.J.)

Date: 
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Re: Request for records concerning plaintiff Disposition: Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment; denying plaintiff's motion for summary judgment
  • Exemption 1, Glomar Response:  The court holds that "[defendant] properly used a Glomar Response in refusing to confirm or deny the existence of responsive records that would reveal a classified connection to [defendant] under FOIA Exemption (b)(1)."  The court finds that "it is logical and plausible that either confirming or denying the existence or nonexistence of records reflecting a classified connection between Plaintiff and [defendant] could reveal intelligence methods, intelligence sources, and ongoing intelligence activities."
  • Exemption 3, Glomar:  The court holds that "[defendant's] response to Plaintiff's FOIA request was proper under FOIA Exemption 3."  The court notes that, in this case, the two statutes used were "Section 102A(i)(1) of the National Security Act and (2) the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949."  The court finds that "[t]he requested information falls within the scope of [these] statute[s]" because "[r]equiring the CIA to disclose whether a classified relationship between Plaintiff and the Agency exists may reveal an intelligence source."  The court also finds that "inconsistent use of the Glomar Response would be incompatible with the CIA's efforts to keep its sources and methods free from unwarranted disclosure."
  • Glomar:  The court holds that "[b]ecause Plaintiff presented no evidence to support a showing that any classified records have been publicly acknowledged or that the Agency acted in bad faith, he cannot defeat the CIA's proper use of a Glomar Response."  The court notes that "[p]laintiff states, and the record reflects, only that the CIA at one time maintained a security file on Plaintiff and that said file was destroyed in 1996."  The court finds that "[t]his minimal information does not meet any of the three requirements for a claim of prior disclosure."
  • Litigation Considerations:  The court holds that "[b]ecause [defendant's] affidavit provided a sufficient basis for establishing FOIA exemptions 1 and 3 as proper bases of the CIA's Glomar Response, this Court finds that [defendant's] declaration was adequate."
  • Litigation Considerations, In Camera Inspection:  The court "rejects Plaintiff's request for an in camera review."  The court finds that "[h]ere, where the CIA's declaration provides an adequate basis for determining the propriety of the CIA's Glomar Response, an in camera is unnecessary."
  • Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search:  The court holds that "[t]he CIA's  search for responsive, non-exempt documents was reasonable and adequate in light of facts presented to the Agency in Plaintiff's FOIA request."  The court finds that the CIA's "declaration explains in a detailed manner the steps taken by the CIA in searching for records responsive to Plaintiff's request."  Specifically, "[t]he CIA conducted a search of its two directorates that it reasonably concluded were likely to have records subject to Plaintiff's FOIA."  The court notes that the CIA "adequately explained why, based on Plaintiff's request, these two directorates were chosen for review."  The court also finds that "[t]o the extent that Plaintiff contests the adequacy of search as it relates to classified records, because the Court has already determined that the CIA's Glomar Response was appropriate, review of the adequacy of the search is unnecessary."
Topic: 
Adequacy of Search
District Court
Exemption 1
Exemption 3
Glomar
In Camera Review
Litigation Considerations
Updated August 6, 2014