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Freedom Watch v. National Security Agency

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

April 24, 2015

FREEDOM WATCH, INC., APPELLANT
v.
NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY, ET AL., APPELLEES

Argued: April 2, 2015.

Page 1341

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. (No. 1:12-cv-01088).

Larry Klayman argued the cause and filed the briefs for appellant.

Catherine H. Dorsey, Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, argued the cause for appellees. With her on the brief were Ronald C. Machen, Jr., U.S. Attorney at the time the brief was filed, and Matthew M. Collette, Attorney.

Before: ROGERS, TATEL, and SRINIVASAN, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1342

Tatel, Circuit Judge :

On June 1, 2012, the New York Times published an article by investigative reporter David E. Sanger describing a classified government initiative to " undermine the Iranian nuclear program" through " increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran's main nuclear enrichment facilities." David E. Sanger, Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran, N.Y. TIMES, June 1, 2012, at A1. Later that day, appellant Freedom Watch, a self-styled " public interest group acting on behalf of the public at large," Appellant's Br. 2, filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, seeking records relating to the Sanger article from four federal agencies--the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Defense (DoD), and the State Department. Specifically, Freedom Watch sought documents concerning each of the following topics (only the second is at issue here):

1) Any and all information that refers or relates to the New York Times article . . . and which information was provided and leaked to Mr. Sanger and the New York Times;
2) Any and all information that refers or relates in any way to information released to David E. Sanger and/or made available to him;
3) The names of the persons, employers and job titles, and addresses of those who leaked the above information to David E. Sanger;
4) Communications with The White House and/or Office of the President and/or Vice President that refer or relate in any way to the leaked information and/or the reasons for leaking the information;
5) Any and all information that refer[s] or relate[s] to the decision to leak the above previously ...

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