press release and news update from Electronic Frontier Foundation, taken in its entirety.
News Update by Rebecca Jeschke
EFF has big news in our long-running Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) battle over telecom lobbying documents: the government will finally release some additional records this week.
This case started back in 2007, as Congress debated granting immunity to the telecommunications companies that participated in illegal government electronic surveillance. News reports detailed an extensive and expensive lobbying strategy in support of the controversial immunity proposals, and EFF wanted to know more. So we used the FOIA to ask for information about the behind-the-scenes negotiations with the Department of Justice, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Congress, and telecom lobbyists.
As you may remember, the government has fought for months to withhold many of these documents, arguing that they were protected by a number of FOIA exemptions, including those covering agency deliberations and other privileged communications. Last month, a district court ordered the agencies to turn over additional documents, a decision that the government has been considering whether to appeal. But on Friday, the government reported to the appeals court that it has finally given up the fight over a significant portion of the records, including communications between agencies and Congress about amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). We expect to receive the documents later this week, and we will post them on the website as soon as we can after that.
The government has said it will continue to try to block the release of additional information, including communications within the Executive Branch and records reflecting the identities of telcoms that lobbied for immunity. EFF will of course fight these efforts in court. In the meantime, we look forward to this week's documents release, and hope you will help us search through them for important information about the telecom lobbying campaign.
EFF has filed suits against the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice demanding any information about telecommunications companies' efforts to get off the hook for their role in the government's illegal electronic surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans. EFF's suits ask for the immediate disclosure of the agencies' telecom lobbying records, including any documents concerning briefings, discussions, or other contacts officials have had with representatives of telecommunications companies or members of Congress.
and this has been going on since 2007; here's the JOLT Digest of EFF v ODNI
Posted on Friday, November 30, 2007 at 3:54 pm
N.D.Cal. Grants Preliminary Injunction Requiring ODNI to Turn Over FISA-Related Documents
By Yelena Shagall — Edited by Wen Bu
Electronic Frontier Foundation, Inc. v. Office of the Director of National Intelligence, No. C 07-5278 SI
District Court for the Northern District of California, November 27, 2007
On November 27, the District Court for the Northern District of California granted in part and denied in part a motion by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) for a preliminary injunction against the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) ordering release under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) of communications concerning proposed amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The court ordered ODNI to provide an initial release by November 30, to provide a final release of all documents by December 10, and to provide an affidavit with its final release explaining why it withheld any withheld documents.