Case Detail

American Civil Liberties Union v. Department of Justice
On September 9, 2011, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit that sought to require the CIA to disclose documents concerning its use of drones to attack al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere. The decision was a victory for WLF, which filed a brief urging the court to dismiss the case. The court agreed with WLF that FOIA’s Exemption #1 authorized the CIA to refuse even to acknowledge whether it has documents responsive to the ACLU’s request. Exemption #1 exempts from disclosure documents that are authorized by statute to be kept secret in the interests of national security. WLF’s brief also focused on an issue the CIA did not raise (and which the court did not reach): dismissal was required under the “state secrets” doctrine, which bars a court from even hearing a case when doing so risks disclosure of highly classified government information.
Case Status:
Victory. WLF’s victory became final on April 21, 2016 when the appeals court affirmed the district court’s decision.
More Information and Downloads:
10/15/2010: Download the Brief

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