IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
[date stamp:] 06/12/02
___________________________________ STEVEN AFTERGOOD ) Plaintiff, ) ) Case No. 02-1146 (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 the aggregate U.S. intelligence budget total for fiscal year 2002. Despite previous disclosures of identical information, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has refused to release the requested number.
2. Pursuant to a previous FOIA lawsuit brought by the Plaintiff (97-1096(TFH)), the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) disclosed the aggregate intelligence budget for Fiscal Year 1997 on October 15, 1997. This disclosure demonstrated 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, arguing that sequential disclosures over several years could reveal sensitive trend information. His decision was upheld by this court upon challenge by the Plaintiff (98-2107(TFH)). No official budget disclosures have subsequently ensued.
5. The present complaint seeks disclosure of a single budget figure for FY 2002 following three years of non-disclosure. As such, it resembles the Fiscaly Year 1997 budget figure that was declassified after years of non-disclosure. It is actually less sensitive than the FY 1998 budget figure that was declassified because, unlike the 1998 figure which followed the 1997 disclosure, it would not reveal sequential-year trend information.
6. Plaintiff believes that de novo review by this Court will show that the FY 2002 intelligence budget total is so highly aggregated, comprising hundreds of different programs in a dozen different agencies, that its disclosure could not possibly cause damage to national security or compromise intelligence sources and methods. That is the same conclusion that defendant CIA correctly reached in 1997 and 1998.
7. Plaintiff further believes that de novo review will show that defendant CIA has displayed erratic behavior with regard to the release of budget information. Thus, after declassifying intelligence budget totals from 1997 and 1998, defendant CIA claimed that disclosure of budget information from 50 years earlier could damage national security and compromise intelligence sources and methods. This claim -- which is the subject of separate litigation (01-2524 (RMU)) -- is obviously false, and suggests either bad faith or gross incompetence.
8. Plaintiff believes that arbitrary and obsolete restrictions on the flow of information have degraded the performance of U.S. intelligence, to the detriment of American security. Independent review and adjudication of such restrictions can help to correct deficiencies in U.S. intelligence.
9. Budget data is the one category of information whose disclosure is specifically mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Article 1 of the Constitution 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." Defendant CIA is not in compliance with this requirement.
10. CIA's refusal to release the requested information is a violation of the Freedom of Information Act.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
11. 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.
12. Venue lies in this district under 5 U.S.C. sec. 552(a)(4)(B).
PARTIES13. 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.
14. 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 CASE15. By letter dated December 18, 2001, plaintiff Aftergood, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, requested a copy of documents indicating the total U.S. intelligence budget for Fiscal Year 2002 [CIA case number F-2002-00312].
16. By letter dated May 6, 2002, the CIA denied the request in its entirety, citing FOIA exemptions (b)(1) and (b)(3).
17. By letter dated May 10, 2002, plaintiff appealed the Agency's refusal to provide the requested information. By letter dated May 14, 2002, the CIA acknowledged receipt of the plaintiff's appeal on May 10, 2002.
CAUSES OF ACTION
18. Plaintiff incorporates each allegation of paragraphs 1- 17 as if fully set forth herein.
19. 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 the aggregate U.S. intelligence budget total for Fiscal Year 2002;
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,June 12, 2002