Nine years ago, a Washington think tank filed a Freedom of Information Act for CIA records about notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. Unsatisfied with the CIA's response, the group sued in 2006. Today, a federal judge expressed his impatience with the fact that the case was still pending.
A lawyer for the Institute for Policy Studies today told Senior Judge Royce Lamberth of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that his client was concerned about the agency's progress. Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Haynes said the CIA expected to finish processing a large number of documents by the end of January and would be working with other agencies to review records that originated in those agencies. Lamberth said he wanted to set specific deadlines for the reviews by other agencies.
"I guarantee [the case is] going to finish in my lifetime," Lamberth said. "I've never seen such a strange case, that an agency can drag its feet this long." It was the second time in two weeks that Lamberth, who recently turned 70, referenced his mortality in the context of protracted litigation involving the government. Last week, Reuters reported Lamberth said he wanted to conclude the government's criminal case against private security guards accused of killing Iraqi civilians "while I'm still alive."