University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Competitive Enterprises Institute v. US National Security Agency NS-DC-0077
Docket / Court 1:14-cv-00975-JEB ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) National Security
Case Summary
On June 9, 2014, a complaint was filed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) against the National Security Agency (NSA) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for failing to fulfill two Freedom of Information Act requests for records pertaining to the conduct of the EPA ... read more >
On June 9, 2014, a complaint was filed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) against the National Security Agency (NSA) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for failing to fulfill two Freedom of Information Act requests for records pertaining to the conduct of the EPA.

The case was filed after the NSA issued a Glomar response, in which it declined to provide the requested information, and instead refused to confirm or deny that it possessed the request records.

According to the complaint, this lawsuit stems from repeated incidents of the EPA circumventing federal recordkeeping laws by using personal devices, including email accounts and text messages, to conduct work-related correspondence and otherwise federal business. As revealed by its Inspect General, NSA is known to have a program to collect metadata from telephone, text message and email records from certain telephony carriers including Verizon. CEI requested the copies of all text message data, and particularly all metadata of text messaging activity using Verizon voice and/or data accounts in NSA’s possession.

On September 5, 2014, defendant filed for summary judgment.

In response, the plaintiffs argued that NSA has waived its right to issue such a response by its previous official acknowledgment that it has the records they seek. The judge found that despite their FOIA requests for email and text records, the plaintiffs failed to identify any evidence showing that the NSA actually collects this information on a widespread basis.

On January 13, 2015, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant. The court stated that plaintiffs failed to point to concrete evidence showing that the NSA has actually admitted this fact.

The court entered a judgment for the defendant on the same day. The case is closed.

Ginny Lee - 02/10/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Records Disclosure
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552
Defendant(s) US National Security Agency
Plaintiff Description Plaintiff CEI is a public policy research and educational institute dedicated to advancing responsible regulation and in particular economically sustainable environmental policy.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
1:14−cv−00975−JEB (D.D.C.)
NS-DC-0077-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/13/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
NS-DC-0077-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/09/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Boasberg, James Emanuel (FISC, D.D.C.)
NS-DC-0077-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bader, Hans F. (District of Columbia)
NS-DC-0077-0001 | NS-DC-0077-9000
Horner, Christoper C. (Virginia)
NS-DC-0077-0001
Kazman, Sam (District of Columbia)
NS-DC-0077-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Snead, Jacqueline E. Coleman (District of Columbia)
NS-DC-0077-9000

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