Veterans for a Strong Am. v. Dep't of State, No. 15-464, 2016 WL 5676068 (D.D.C. Sept. 30, 2016) (Collyer, J.)

Date: 
Friday, September 30, 2016

Veterans for a Strong Am. v. Dep't of State, No. 15-464, 2016 WL 5676068 (D.D.C. Sept. 30, 2016) (Collyer, J.)

Re: Request for recordings or transcripts of calls made by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during twenty-four hour period in which attacks against U.S. facilities and personnel in Benghazi, Libya occurred

Disposition: Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment

  • Procedural Requirements, Searching for Responsive Records: "The Court finds that the search was adequate for the requested records for the Secretary's calls." The court finds that "[t]o the extent that Plaintiffs claim State did not seek information concerning calls made on private phones, they are in error." The court explains that "[c]onsistent with its obligations under the Federal Records Act, . . . but not FOIA, State did the same thing regarding telephonic records that it did regarding emails that may have been retained by Secretary Clinton: it asked for them by letter." "To the extent that the records they seek are outside State's possession and control, State is not required to search for them."
     
  • Exemption 1: The court holds that "State has provided enough detail for this Court to find, as it does, that Exemption 1 was properly invoked." The court finds that "State has established that: (1) all of the withheld records were classified by . . . an original classification authority; (2) the withheld records were owned, produced or controlled by the United States Government; and (3) the withheld information fell within one or more of the categories of information listed in § 1.4 of Executive Order 13526."
     
  • Litigation Considerations, "Reasonably Segregable" Requirements: "The Court has reviewed [defendant's] Declaration with care and finds that it adequately explains that State conducted a line-by-line review of each document and concluded that there was no additional information that could be reasonably segregated for release."
     
  • Litigation Considerations, Discovery: The court holds that "[p]laintiffs articulate no factual dispute that is relevant to their FOIA Complaint." The court explains that "Plaintiffs have offered nothing to overcome the presumption to which the State Department is entitled and the Court can find no basis to doubt the good faith of the very detailed [defendant] Declaration."
Topic: 
Adequacy of Search
Discovery
Exemption 1
Litigation Considerations
Segregability
Updated January 19, 2017