IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
[date stamp:] 12/07/01
___________________________________ STEVEN AFTERGOOD ) Plaintiff, ) ) Case No. 1:01CV02524 (RMU) v. ) ) CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY ) Washington, DC 20505 ) Defendant. ) ___________________________________)
COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT
1. This is an action under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. §552. Plaintiff Steven Aftergood seeks disclosure of aggregate U.S. intelligence budget figures for the years 1947 and 1948. Despite previous disclosures of much more recent budget figures, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has refused to release the requested historical data.
2. Pursuant to a previous FOIA lawsuit brought by the Plaintiff (1:97CV01096(TFH)), the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) disclosed the aggregate intelligence budget for Fiscal Year 1997 on October 15, 1997. This disclosure showed that current intelligence budget data could be disclosed without damage to national security and without compromise of intelligence sources and methods.
3. Pursuant to a FOIA request from the Plaintiff, the DCI again disclosed the aggregate intelligence budget for Fiscal Year 1998 on March 20, 1998. This disclosure demonstrated that current intelligence budget data for two sequential fiscal years could be disclosed without damage to national security and without compromise of intelligence sources and methods.
4. The DCI declined to release intelligence budget data for Fiscal Year 1999 and his decision was upheld by this court upon challenge by the Plaintiff (1:98CV02107(TFH)).
5. The present complaint seeks disclosure of historical budget information that is more than five decades old. As such, it more closely resembles the Fiscal Year 1997 and 1998 budget data that have been declassified and disclosed than it does the Fiscal Year 1999 budget total that remains classified.
6. Since budget figures from Fiscal Years 1997 and 1998 could be disclosed without damage to national security or compromise of intelligence sources and methods, it strains credulity to claim, as CIA does, that disclosure of budget data from fifty years earlier would have such adverse effects.
7. Security professionals agree that unnecessary classification damages national security by undermining the credibility of the national security classification system and diverting resources to protect information that is no longer sensitive. In this sense, CIA's continued classification of the requested data, not its declassification, may cause damage to national security and may compromise intelligence sources and methods.
8. The U.S. Constitution (Art. 1, Sect. 9, Cl. 7) requires without exception that "a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time." Yet the CIA has never published the requested information.
9. Consequently, CIA's refusal to release the requested information is a violation of the Freedom of Information Act.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
10. This Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. sec. 552(a)(4)(B), the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. sec 701 et seq., and 28 U.S.C. sec. 1331 and 1361.
11. Venue lies in this district under 5 U.S.C. sec. 552(a)(4)(B).
PARTIES12. Plaintiff Steven Aftergood is a resident of Washington, DC. A lawsuit brought by the plaintiff, on behalf of his employer the Federation of American Scientists, led to disclosure of the total amount appropriated for intelligence in 1997.
13. Defendant Central Intelligence Agency is an agency of the United States government which has possession of the information requested by plaintiff under the Freedom of Information Act.
STATEMENT OF THE CASE14. By letter dated May 11, 1995, plaintiff Aftergood, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, requested a copy of historical U.S. intelligence budget data from 1947 through 1990 [CIA case number F95-0825].
15. By letter dated May 30, 1995, the CIA denied the request in its entirety, citing FOIA exemptions (b)(1) and (b)(3).
16. By letter dated June 5, 1995, plaintiff appealed the Agency's refusal to provide the requested information.
17. By letter dated June 19, 1995, the CIA acknowledged receipt of the plaintiff's appeal.
18. By letter dated December 14, 2000, the CIA advised that its Agency Release Panel had affirmed the initial denial in its entirety.
CAUSES OF ACTION
19. Plaintiff incorporates each allegation of paragraphs 1- 18 as if fully set forth herein.
20. Defendant CIA's failure to release the requested information violates the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. sec. 552.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, plaintiff requests that the Court:
a. declare that the defendant's refusal to produce the requested information is unlawful;
b. order defendant to release to plaintiff documents that provide aggregate U.S. intelligence budget data for 1947 and 1948;
c. award plaintiff his costs in this action; and
d. grant such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper.
Respectfully submitted,December 7, 2001