Description: Action seeking production of metadata for personal e-mail, text messaging, and phone accounts of EPA administrators.
Competitive Enterprise Institute v. U.S. National Security Agency
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 01/13/2015 Memorandum Opinion Download Summary judgment for defendants. The court rejected CEI’s “novel and inventive gambit” to obtain information about EPA officials’ phone calls, e-mails, and text messages from the NSA. The court disagreed with CEI’s contention that NSA had waived its right to issue a Glomar response because it had publicly admitted (after the release of the Edward Snowden documents) that NSA collected this type of information. The court agreed with the NSA that there had been no official acknowledgment that the NSA had the specific records sought by CEI. Nor did public knowledge of the “general contours” of the NSA’s data collecting “vitiate” the Glomar response in this case. 06/09/2014 Complaint Download Complaint filed. The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and two other organizations commenced a FOIA lawsuit against the National Security Agency (NSA) in the federal district court for the District of Columbia. CEI and other entities had requested “metadata” for text messaging, e-mail, and phone accounts used by EPA administrators. Plaintiffs alleged that the EPA officials had used personal email and phones to circumvent FOIA and the Federal Records Act, and that the metadata are therefore records under FOIA. The NSA refused to confirm or deny the existence of the records sought by CEI. CEI contended that there had been “clear public admissions” that the NSA had collected the type of metadata it sought, and that the agency was therefore precluded from responding in this fashion (known as a “Glomar” response) to FOIA requests. Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as attorney fees and other costs.