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Whitaker v. CIA, No. 12-316, 2014 WL 3973865 (D.D.C. Aug. 15, 2014) (Kollar-Kotelly, J.)


Whitaker v. CIA, No. 12-316, 2014 WL 3973865 (D.D.C. Aug. 15, 2014) (Kollar-Kotelly, J.)

Re: Request for records concerning disappearance of planes, plaintiff's father, and other individuals

Disposition: Granting defendants' renewed motion for summary judgment

  • Exemption 3:  The court grants the CIA's motion for summary judgment.  The court notes that "[h]ere, the CIA has invoked two statutes—the CIA Act of 1949 and the National Security Act of 1947."  The court explains that "Section 6 of the CIA Act states that 'the Agency shall be exempted from the provisions of ... any other law which require the publication or disclosure of the organization, functions, names, official titles, salaries, or numbers of personnel employed by the Agency.'"  The court finds "that '[t]he CIA Act has been invoked to protect the names and other information that would identify CIA personnel, such as their initials, email addresses, telephone numbers, and office locations.'"  Therefore, "the Court concludes that the CIA has properly applied the CIA Act in response to the Court's previous Order, and summary judgment on this issue is appropriate."  The court explains that "[t]he National Security Act of 1947 vests the Director of National Intelligence with the authority to protect 'intelligence sources and methods.'"  The court finds that "the CIA has stated that the document processing materials either themselves discuss intelligence sources and methods or contain information that would reveal intelligence sources and methods which the CIA has sought to protect through its Glomar response."  Based on this information, and "[i]n light of the 'great deference' afforded the CIA pursuant to this provision, the Court concludes that this material may be withheld pursuant to the National Security Act and Exemption (b)(3)."
  • Procedural Requirements, Searching for Responsive Records:  The court explains that it previously found that the State Department's "search was inadequate because the State Department had not searched for records about . . . the co-pilot of the plane containing Plaintiff's father."  The court notes that "[t]he State Department now represents that it has searched for records relating to [the co-pilot] as requested by Plaintiff and released the one document located in response to Plaintiff, thus curing the defects in its previous search."
  • Litigation Considerations, Reasonably Segregable Requirements:  The court "does not find segregability concerns sufficient to deny summary judgment to Defendants."  The court relates that "the CIA evaluated the documents potentially responsive to Plaintiff's request and determined that any documents responsive to Plaintiff's requests were exempt from disclosure in their entirety."


Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 3
Litigation Considerations, “Reasonably Segregable” Requirements
Procedural Requirements, Searching for Responsive Records
Updated February 1, 2022