NYTimes Sues Justice for Surveillance Reports
MANHATTAN (CN) - New York Times reporter Charlie Savage sued the Justice Department for information on the CIA's destruction of videotapes of terrorism interrogations, and the full version of the Joint Inspectors General review of the "President's Surveillance Program."
Savage filed two FOIA complaints, in Federal Court.
In the CIA matter, in 2008, then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey assigned John Durham, an assistant U.S. attorney in the District of Connecticut, to investigate the destruction of the interrogation videotapes.
In 2009, "Attorney General Eric Holder widened Mr. Durham's mandate, authorizing him also to investigate whether laws were violated in connection with the interrogation of specific detainees," the complaint states.
"The Durham investigation is now closed. No charges were brought."
Savage asked to see "'any reports to the attorney general or deputy attorney general describing or presenting findings' from the Durham investigation."
The Department of Justice has not responded.
In the second FOIA complaint, Savage wants to see the review of the President's Surveillance Program, which was conducted by the Department of Justice, the CIA, the National Security Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The Inspectors General issued a joint report to "certain congressional committees" in July 2009, in both classified and unclassified versions.
"OIG has also reviewed the FBI's use of National Security Letters ('NSLs'), orders issues pursuant to Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, and the FBl's request for phone records for telecommunications companies," Savage says in the complaint. This too exists in classified and unclassified versions.
The complaint continues: "In 2013, Edward Snowden provided classified documents to journalists, and some of these documents were then made public. The disclosures included a draft of the National Security Agency's contribution to the classified version of the Joint IG Report along with other documents pertaining to surveillance programs.
"Following the Snowden disclosures, many aspects of the government's surveillance and data collection activities have been formally declassified.
"Upon information and belief, many of the underlying facts in OIG Surveillance Reports and the Joint IG Report that were previously classified are no longer classified, and there is no basis for continuing to withhold sections of the reports addressing those facts."
The Times asked to see the full, classified Joint IG Report; it was denied.
The newspaper appealed, and has not received a ruling.
It wants to see the record.
Savage and the Times are represented by house counsel David McCraw.