Judicial Watch Files FOIA Suit To Compel DOJ To Turn Over FISA Documents

June 4, 2018 - San Francisco - CA - PipeLineNews.org - In a major breaking story, Judicial Watch has filed suit against the U.S. Department of Justice to force the agency to comply with its previous [Feb 2018] Freedom of Information Act filings demanding any and all documents relevant to the FISA controversy dating from June 2016.

The DOJ acknowledged receipt of the requisite documents and since then provided no reason why the requested information should not be immediately provided.

Having offered no defense it seems that the DOJ is going to lose this historic stand-off.

Salient points taken from JW’s lawsuit.

“Plaintiff Judicial Watch, Inc. (“Plaintiff”) brings this action against Defendant U.S. Department of Justice to compel compliance with the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552 (“FOIA”). As grounds therefor, Plaintiff alleges as follows:

On February 9, 2018, Plaintiff submitted a FOIA request to DOJ seeking the following records:

1. Any and all records of communications and correspondence between DOJ officials and Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary (“USSCJ”) and/or their staff members regarding USSCJ’s attempts to acquire the applications and renewals for FISA warrants against Carter Page and any other members of President Trump’s presidential campaign, as well as any records relating to or forming the basis of those FISA warrant applications/renewals.

2. Any and all records of communications and correspondence between DOJ officials and Members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (“HPSCI”) and/or their staff members, regarding HPSCI’s attempts to acquire the applications and renewals for FISA warrants against Carter Page and any other members of President Trump’s presidential campaign, as well as any records relating to or forming the basis of those FISA warrant applications and renewals.

The timeframe for the requested records was identified as “June 1, 2016 to the present.”

6. On the same day, Plaintiff submitted a FOIA request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), a component of DOJ, seeking the following records:

1. Any and all records of communications and correspondence between FBI officials and Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary (“USSCJ”) and/or their staff members regarding USSCJ’s attempts to acquire the applications and renewals for FISA warrants against Carter Page and any other members of President Trump’s presidential campaign, as well as any records relating to or forming the basis of those FISA warrant applications/renewals.

2. Any and all records of communications and correspondence between FBI officials and Members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (“HPSCI”) and/or their staff members, regarding HPSCI’s attempts to acquire the applications and renewals for FISA warrants against Carter Page and any other members of President Trump’s presidential campaign, as well as any records relating to or forming the basis of those FISA warrant applications and renewals.

As of the date of this Complaint, DOJ and the FBI have failed to: (i) produce the requested records or demonstrate that the requested records are lawfully exempt from production; (ii) notify Plaintiff of the scope of any responsive records they intend to produce or withhold and the reasons for any withholdings; or (iii) inform Plaintiff that it may appeal any adequately specific, adverse determination.

Defendant is violating FOIA by failing and/or refusing to search for, identify, and produce any and all non-exempt records responsive to Plaintiff’s requests.

12. Plaintiff is being irreparably harmed by Defendant’s violations of FOIA, and Plaintiff will continue to be irreparably harmed unless Defendant is compelled to comply with FOIA…

Because Defendants failed to determine whether to comply with Plaintiff’s requests within the time required by FOIA, Plaintiff is deemed to have exhausted its administrative appeal remedies. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(C)(i).

15. Plaintiff has no adequate remedy at law

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff respectfully requests that the Court: (1) order Defendant to conduct searches for any and all records responsive to Plaintiff’s requests and demonstrate that they employed search methods reasonably likely to lead to the discovery of records responsive to the requests; (2) order Defendant to produce, by a date certain, any and all non-exempt records responsive to Plaintiff’s requests and a Vaughn index of any responsive records withheld under claim of exemption; (3) enjoin Defendant from continuing to withhold any and all non-exempt records responsive to the requests; (4) grant Plaintiff an award of attorneys’ fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred in this action pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(E); and (5) grant Plaintiff such other relief as the Court deems just and proper.

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