Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Litigation

On June 7, 2007, the Global Justice Clinic (as part of Washington Square Legal Services)joined with the Center for Constitutional Rights and Amnesty International USA to sue  the U.S. government for failing to produce documents about the secret detention and rendition program that the organizations had requested several years earlier under FOIA. The lawsuit, Amnesty, et al., v . CIA, et al.,  sought the release of records related to secret detention and transfer of detainees held either in so-called black site detention or eventually transferred to Guantanamo Bay; the policies and procedures utilized for such programs; the identities of individuals detained or transferred and the locations of their detention or transfer–including any information applicable to the suing parties’ clients; the activities of private contractors and non-governmental actors; and details on the injuries and treatment of individuals detained or transferred.

On August 24, 2009, the CIA and the State Department released documents to the groups pursuant to the lawsuit. The CIA documents detail guidelines for CIA conditions of confinement and interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, as well as limited legal assessments of each technique.

On September 22, 2009, as part of their motion for summary judgment, the CIA released Vaughn index entries for cables regarding the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

On August 2, 2010, Judge Loretta A. Preska issued an Opinion and Order granting in part and denying in part the CIA’s and plaintiffs’ respective motions for summary judgment. Although upholding the CIA’s withholding of documents on several grounds, Judge Preska also ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in determining that the CIA interpreted the FOIA requests on the specific interrogation technique “attention shake” too narrowly and failed to provide adequate justification for withholding certain legal documents.

Relevant documents:

(Documents below reprinted with permission from CCR)