IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
___________________________________ STEVEN AFTERGOOD ) Plaintiff, ) ) Case No. 02-1146 (RMU) v. ) ) CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY ) Washington, DC 20505 ) Defendant. ) ___________________________________)
DEFENDANT'S STATUS REPORTDefendant, the Central Intelligence Agency ("CIA" or "Agency"), respectfully submits this status report.
INTRODUCTIONThis is an action under the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") brought pro se by plaintiff Steven Aftergood. Pursuant to FOIA, plaintiff requested disclosure of certain classified intelligence information. His request for that information, the aggregate U.S. intelligence budget total for fiscal year 2002, was denied by defendant. Plaintiff subsequently filed suit. Defendant timely filed its answer on July 15, 2002, without having sought any enlargement.
CURRENT POSTUREAlthough defendant is already assembling information and preparing its litigation position, it is unable to file a motion for summary judgment at this time. This is so for several reasons. First, the CIA personnel who are and will be responding to this lawsuit include the most senior personnel in the Agency, including the Director of Central Intelligence ("DCI") himself. This is so because of the major policy issues that must be resolved in deciding whether or not to disclose the aggregate, and currently classified, intelligence budget number. It is likely, in fact, that the DCI will provide written testimony in support of defendant's summary judgment motion. These individuals are currently preoccupied with critical wartime intelligence and national security matters, sometimes requiring overseas travel. In addition to operational requirements, they are responding to a significantly increased level of presidential and congressional demands. These demands require increased testimony before and increased reporting to Congress, as well as greater support to other executive branch agencies such as the Departments of Defense and Justice.
Second, when senior CIA officials are able to focus on this issue, they will give significant consideration to its resolution. In the three past years when plaintiff requested release of similar information, the Agency's decision to withhold or disclose the aggregate intelligence budget number was carefully made on a year-by-year basis. In two of those prior years the DCI decided, in his discretion, to release the aggregate budget figure. This decision has taken into account a number of circumstances, including changes to the intelligence budget and changes in the world situation. It will be no easier this time.
Third, undersigned counsel for defendant is in the process of obtaining the necessary security clearance to litigate this matter, and it is currently unclear how long that process will take.
Defendant is working diligently to be able to move for summary judgment. Given the uncertainties discussed above, however, it is unclear when that summary judgment motion can be prepared. We hope to be in a position to provide a meaningfu1 report by Tuesday, August 13, 2002. We therefore suggest that we submit another status report on or before Wednesday, August 14, 2002. That proposed status report would: (1) provide an estimate of the additional time, if any, necessary to complete defendant's review of this matter, and (2) propose a realistic schedule, devised after consulting with plaintiff, for briefing defendant's summary judgment motion.
We have consulted with plaintiff, and he has stated that he has no objection to proceeding in this manner.
A proposed order reflecting our suggestion is attached.
Respectfully submitted,Dated: July 17, 2002
ROSCOE C. HOWARD, JR., D.C. Bar #246470
United States Attorney
MARK E.NAGLE, D.C. Bar #416365
Assistant United States Attorney
ROBERT E. LEIDENHEIMER, JR., D.C. BAR #420959
Assistant United States Attorney
Judiciary Center Building
555 4th St., N.W., Room 10-816
Washington, D.C. 20530