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Iran-Israel Relations Info Demand Was Out of Turn

WASHINGTON (CN) - A federal judge balked at a request for allegedly government-leaked information regarding the sticky relationship between Iran and Israel.

Freedom Watch sued the CIA, National Security Agency, the Pentagon and the State Department under the Freedom of Information Act, claiming the government agencies illegally denied them such information.

The group wanted details on information published in several New York Times articles regarding the risks of an Israeli strike on Iran, and the results of any war games or other simulations leaked to Times reporter James Risen.

It also asked for any information leaked about experts predicting the aftermath of an Israeli strike on Iran, and whether the country would use such a strike to attack the United States.

The CIA had replied that it could neither confirm nor deny the existence of such records; the NSA claimed the records were classified; and the Pentagon said the group had failed to adequately the records it sought. The State Department directed the group to narrow the scope of its request.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle said that Freedom Watch had skipped a step by filing suit.

"The CIA's, the NSA's, and the DoD's responses are anything but summary denials," she wrote. "Each agency's response sets forth in significant detail the reasons for the agency's particular action."

A better bet would be for Freedom Watch to appeal within the federal agencies, Huvelle said, dismissing the complaint.

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