University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Wilner v. National Security Agency NS-NY-0002
Docket / Court 1:07-cv-03883-DLC ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) National Security
Attorney Organization Center for Constitutional Rights
Case Summary
On May 17, 2007, attorneys who represented detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 552, against the National Security Agency ("NSA") and Department of Justice ("DOJ"). The plaintiffs, represented by counsel from the Center of ... read more >
On May 17, 2007, attorneys who represented detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 552, against the National Security Agency ("NSA") and Department of Justice ("DOJ"). The plaintiffs, represented by counsel from the Center of Constitutional Rights as well as private counsel, asked the court to compel defendants to comply with requests to turn over all records of NSA's wiretapping of the plaintiffs, claiming that the plaintiffs had a statutory right to such records, and that there was no legal basis for the defendants' refusal to disclose them.

In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the U.S. government began to intercept electronic communications, including telephone and email, of thousands of individuals, including U.S. citizens, both within and outside the United States. The surveillance was conducted without warrants, and without oversight by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ("FISC"). The surveillance program was conducted in secret until media reports in December 2005, and subsequent U.S. government acknowledgement. By separate letters to the NSA and DOJ dated January 18, 2006, plaintiffs submitted FOIA requests seeking seven categories of records. FOIA Request No. 1 sought "records obtained or relating to ongoing or completed warrantless electronic surveillance or physical searches regarding, referencing or concerning any of the plaintiffs." The defendants refused to confirm or deny whether they possessed records responsive to the request--a non-informative response known as a "Glomar Response." The other six FOIA requests did not become at issue in the litigation as the parties voluntarily dismissed claims relating to those requests on July 12, 2010. Thus, the only issue before the court was plaintiffs' FOIA Request No. 1 and the Glomar response issued by defendants.

On June 25, 2008, the District Court (Judge Denise Cote), granted summary judgment to the defendants as to FOIA Request No. 1. The court held that defendants' Glomar Response was lawful. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Judges Jose A. Cabranes, Debra Ann Livingston, and Edward R. Korman) affirmed the district court's opinion in all respects on December 30, 2009. The Supreme Court denied the plaintiffs' petition for certiorari on October 4, 2010.

Michael Mirdamadi - 10/12/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Records Disclosure
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552
Defendant(s) Department of Justice
National Security Agency
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are lawyers who provide or have provided legal representation to individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, Cuba.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Center for Constitutional Rights
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement Confession of Judgment
Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2010
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Links Guest Post: New Resource — Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse FISA Archives
Just Security
Posted: Jun. 26, 2014
By: Margo Schlanger
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
07-cv-3883 (S.D.N.Y.) 07/12/2010
NS-NY-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 05/17/2007
NS-NY-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 11/02/2007
NS-NY-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion & Order 07/31/2008 (2008 WL 2949325) (S.D.N.Y.)
NS-NY-0002-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Rule 54(b) Partial Judgment 07/31/2008 (S.D.N.Y.)
NS-NY-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal Pursuant to F.R.C.P. 41(a)(1)(A)(ii) of Claims of Plaintiff Anne Castle 10/23/2009 (S.D.N.Y.)
NS-NY-0002-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment 12/30/2009
NS-NY-0002-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal 07/09/2010 (S.D.N.Y.)
NS-NY-0002-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and Order of Partial Dismissal 07/12/2010 (S.D.N.Y.)
NS-NY-0002-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Cote, Denise (S.D.N.Y.)
NS-NY-0002-0003 | NS-NY-0002-0004 | NS-NY-0002-9000
Korman, Edward Robert (E.D.N.Y.)
NS-NY-0002-0006
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Borg, Karen M. (Illinois)
NS-NY-0002-0002 | NS-NY-0002-9000
Cobb, Kendric M. (Illinois)
NS-NY-0002-0001
Gomez, Merkys I. (Illinois)
NS-NY-0002-0001
Jones, R. Cantrell (Illinois)
NS-NY-0002-0001
Kadidal, Shayana (New York)
NS-NY-0002-0001 | NS-NY-0002-0002 | NS-NY-0002-0005 | NS-NY-0002-0007 | NS-NY-0002-0008 | NS-NY-0002-9000
Kebriaei, Pardiss (New York)
NS-NY-0002-0002 | NS-NY-0002-9000
MacLean, Emilou Harris (New York)
NS-NY-0002-9000
Ratner, Michael (New York)
NS-NY-0002-0001 | NS-NY-0002-0002 | NS-NY-0002-9000
Rubin, James R. (Illinois)
NS-NY-0002-0001 | NS-NY-0002-0002
Schwartz, Mark A. (Illinois)
NS-NY-0002-0002 | NS-NY-0002-9000
Shelton, Julie P. (Illinois)
NS-NY-0002-0001 | NS-NY-0002-0002 | NS-NY-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bhattacharyya, Rupa (District of Columbia)
NS-NY-0002-9000
Haas, Alexander K (District of Columbia)
NS-NY-0002-0005 | NS-NY-0002-9000
Wolverton, Caroline Lewis (District of Columbia)
NS-NY-0002-0007 | NS-NY-0002-0008
Other Lawyers Rubin, Bruce A. (Oregon)
NS-NY-0002-0001

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