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On May 31, 2011, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Justice Department seeking information about the government's use and interpretation of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which authorizes the government to obtain "any tangible thing" that is "relevant to" a terrorism investigation. On October 26, 2011, the ACLU filed a lawsuit to compel the government to comply with the request in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York under under the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U, S. C. $ 552. The ACLU sought injunctive and other appropriate relief, seeking the immediate processing and release of records improperly withheld by Defendants Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") and the United States Department of Justice ("DOJ").
On December 9, 2011, Judge William H. Pauley issued a stipulation and order regarding the FOIA Request. The order limited the documents requested, excluded certain documents, set the date for the DOJ's response to the request to March 15, 2012, and gave the parties 21 days after the production of the documents to meet and confer regarding the documents withheld in whole or in part and the ACLU will notify the DOJ if they wish to object to any of the withholdings.
On February 27, 2012, the DOJ filed for partial summary judgment. On March 15, 2012, the government released 258 pages of documents. On March 26, 2012, the ACLU filed a cross motion for partial summary judgment. On April 16, 2012, the government released an additional 98 pages of documents. On May 15, 2012, the government released additional documents. On May 17, 2012, Judge Pauley denied the ACLU's motion for partial summary judgment and granted the DOJ's motions for summary judgment. Subsequently, the DOJ and the ACLU both separately filed for summary judgment again.
On August 16, 2013, Judge Pauley withdrew the parties' motions for summary judgment. Judge Pauley ordered the government to review the FISC opinions at issue and release any segreable information not exempt under FOIA by September 10, 2013. Judge also ordered the government to review a second tranche of documents and release any segreable information not exempt under FOIA by October 10, 2013. In addition, Judge ordered the government to review the remaining documents at issue, excluding the FISC orders in the final row of the government's Vaughn index, and release any segreable information not exempt under FOIA by October 31, 2013.
On March 11, 2014, Judge Pauley set a briefing schedule with summary judgment filings due in April and May, and argument to be held in June. The argument has since been rescheduled for the end of July.
Please see the ACLU
for a list of all the disclosures.Jessica Kincaid - 06/10/2014