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DAVID T. HARDY,
v. (Freedom of Information Act)
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE,
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY,
DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY,
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, and
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
Comes now the plaintiff and alleges:
1. This is an action for injunctive relief brought
pursuant to the
Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. §552. Plaintiff seeks an order of the
Court mandating the production of documents contained in systems of records
maintained by Defendants.
2. The Freedom of Information Act requires Federal agencies
requested records, or a detailed justification for withholding, within
twenty business days of request. 5 U.S.C. §552(a)(6)(A)(i). If an agency
fails to comply in a timely fashion, the requestor is deemed to have
exhausted administrative remedies, and may assert a private cause of action
to require disclosure. 5 U.S.C. §552(a)(6)(C). Plaintiff has made
appropriate written requests, and they have either been denied or the
deadlines imposed by Congress have expired.
3. The requested documents are contained in systems of records
maintained by Defendants. None of the exceptions recognized in 5 U.S.C.
§552(b) are applicable.
4. Plaintiff is a resident of Pima County, Arizona.
5. Defendants are Federal agencies as that term is defined in the
Freedom of Information Act.
6. Jurisdiction is founded upon 28 U.S.C.
§1331 in that this case
arises under the Constitution and laws of the United States, and is a
controversy to which the United States is a party. A private cause of
action is conferred by the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C.
§552(a)(4)(B). Plaintiff resides in the District of Arizona, and the events
giving rise to this claim occurred in the District of Arizona.
(Department of Defense)
7. On April 16, 1999, Plaintiff submitted an
FOIA request to the
Department of Defense. The request sought information relating to the law
enforcement action outside Waco, Texas, in 1993, and also information
relating to other operations.
8. The sole response from Defendant Department of
Defense consisted of
a telephone call, indicating that it was searching for the requested
9. The statutory deadline of twenty business days
passed in May, 1999.
To date neither documents nor a justification for withholding has been
(Department of Defense)
10. On December 16, 1997, Plaintiff submitted
an FOIA request to the
Department of Defense. The request sought any pictoral records relating to
the incident at Waco and training for it, as well as any information
relating to deployment of military units, including Delta Force, at Waco.
11. Plaintiff subsequently received responses from
various Defense sub
agencies relating to deployment of military forces, but has never received
either pictoral records, a statement that all records have been disclosed,
or any explanation for their withholding.
Department of Justice
12. On August 21, 1997, Plaintiff submitted
a FOIA request to the U.S.
Attorney in Waco, and on September 5, 1997, a similar request to the
Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys in Washington. Both these are
sub-agencies of Defendant Department of Justice. The requests sought
videotapes of the first day's gunfight at Waco. Plaintiff had earlier
sought these from ATF and the National Guard, which indicated that they had
turned them over to the Department of Justice.
13. Plaintiff subsequently initiated
action no. CIV-98-027-TUC in
this Court. Defendant Department of Justice contended that the videotapes
were not in the possession of the U.S. Attorney's Office, since they had
apparently been turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
14. Plaintiff demonstrated that, given the
definition of "agency" in
FOIA, the "agency" with FOIA duties was the Department of Justice in
general, of which FBI is a component.
15. By order of November 25, 1998, This Court
ordered that Defendant
Department of Justice cause the FBI to process the request, backdated to
the time when it was discovered that the records had been sent to FBI.
16. The statutory deadline for action has long
since passed. The only
response from Defendant Department of Justice has been a bill for its time
and a form letter from the FBI stating the request is being processed.
(Department of Justice
17. Plaintiff was informed that a large volume
of records relating to
the incident at Waco existed in an evidence locker maintained by the Texas
Rangers. He requested copies of certain specific evidence from this locker,
including videotapes, audiotapes, and photographs, under a State public
records statute. The Rangers replied that they had possession of the
evidence, but it was under control of the U.S. Marshals.
18. Plaintiff requested this information from
the Marshals pursuant to
FOIA, and the Marshals denied that they had control over it. He sent the
Marshals' response to the Rangers, and the Rangers replied that the U.S.
Attorney was now asserting control and had forbidden them to release any
copies to the public.
19. Plaintiff sent a FOIA request for the evidence
to the Executive
Office, U.S. Attorneys. The Executive Office responded that the U.S.
Attorney did not have the evidence within his control.
20. Plaintiff made a timely administrative
appeal of that ruling to
the Department of Justice's Office of Information and Privacy on June 16,
1999. On July 7, 1999, that office responded that it had "a substantial
backlog of pending appeals." No ruling has been received, and the statutory
deadline of twenty business days has long since passed.
(Department of the Treasury
21. Plaintiff submitted an FOIA request to
the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms, a subunit of Defendant Department of the Treasury.
The request sought the decisionmaking documents on $32,000 in incentive
awards made to the director of the Bureau, $14,000 in awards to his
assistant director, and lesser awards to another high-level administrator.
22. The Bureau denied the request on the grounds
that revealing the
basis of the bonus awards would constitute an unwarranted invasion of
personal privacy. Plaintiff filed an administrative appeal of the decision,
which was denied.
23. The requested documents do not fall within any
in the FOIA. The public interest in ascertaining the basis for a large
award of public monies to the head of an agency outweighs any privacy
interest involved, and cannot be described as a "clearly unwarranted"
invasion of such privacy.
(Executive Office of the President)
24. On April 19, 1999, Plaintiff submitted
a FOIA request to the
Executive Office of the President, seeking copies of all correspondence
between that agency or its subunits and certain named individuals.
25. The statutory deadline of twenty
working days passed in May,
1999. Neither the requested documents, nor any justification for their
withholding, has ever been furnished.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays that the Court:
1. Enter an injunction ordering Defendants to disclose the documents
2. Award to Plaintiff his attorney's fees and costs.
Respectfully submitted this 18th day of October, 1999