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Journo Says Feds Haven’t Given Him Emails

WASHINGTON (CN) - A reporter claims that the government hasn't fulfilled his requests for emails to U.S. Supreme Court justices and those sent and received by the drafters of a controversial drone memo.

Jason Leopold, formerly with Al-Jazeera America and now with Vice News, claims the U.S. Department of Justice has stonewalled his various requests for emails involving the Supreme Court and the Office of Legal Counsel, or OLC.

One New Year's Day lawsuit filed by the reporter challenges the government's lack of response to his Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, request for emails between the current or any former U.S. Solicitor General and any Supreme Court justices.

"Little is known publicly about communications between the Solicitor General's office and individual Supreme Court justices," the complaint states. "The nature and existence of communications, or lack thereof, between the Solicitor General and Supreme Court justices is a matter of great public importance."

The reporter says he filed the FOIA request for Supreme Court emails on Jan. 11, 2015, and has not received a substantive response.

Leopold's other Jan. 1 lawsuit involves David Barron and Martin "Marty" Lederman, former assistant attorney generals for OLC.

Barron and Lederman drafted a controversial memo "which justified the use of lethal drone strikes against American citizens without judicial process," according to Leopold's lawsuit.

The reporter requested all emails sent and received by Lederman and Barron between May 1, 2010, and July 1, 2010.

Leopold says he was told that his request for Lederman's emails may not be completed until Dec. 31, 2016.

He was asked to narrow his request for Barron's emails because of 22,000 possible responsive documents, according to his lawsuit. After he narrowed his request to emails containing keywords like "Awlaki memo" and "drones," Leopold claims he hasn't received another response from the government.

The journalist also asked for the emails of Virginia Seitz, former assistant attorney general for OLC who resigned in 2013, from the two months before her resignation. He claims he hasn't received a response since narrowing his request to only those emails sent by Seitz during that time frame.

Leopold seeks a court order requiring the Justice Department to search for the records in question and process his requests. He is represented by Jeffrey Light.

The reporter was once described by an unnamed federal agency as a "FOIA terrorist" for the number of requests he has filed, according to Vice News.

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