The U.S. Justice Department was sued this week in Washington federal district court over access to a copy of a report on the Central Intelligence Agency's detention and interrogation program.
Jason Leopold, an independent investigative journalist and contributor to several news outlets, is seeking the 300-page executive summary of a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the CIA's detention and interrogation activities. The committee approved the report in December and gave copies to the CIA, the White House, the U.S. Department of State, the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, according to the complaint.
On August 16, Leopold sent a FOIA request to the Justice Department requesting its copy of the executive summary and asked for expedited processing; he said the request was received on August 20. The department, according to the complaint, hadn't replied to his request to expedite within the 10-day deadline. Leopold sued and filed a motion for summary judgment on September 2.
A Justice Department spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment. Leopold's lawyer, Washington solo practitioner Jeffrey Light, said that given current events—including a Senate hold on U.S. Department of Defense general counsel nominee Stephen Preston—it was important to make at least some of the report public as soon as possible. (Preston is currently the top lawyer at the CIA.)
"It would change the perception of a lot of current events that are happening if people could see what's in these documents," Light said, pointing to news reports quoting senators, Vice President Joseph Biden and a White House official saying they also supported public release at least some of the report.
The case is before U.S. District Judge James Boasberg.