CREW and the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency agreed to dismiss this case without prejudice. Read the stipulation of dismissal below.
CREW is suing the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on March 14, 2018 for their failure to disclose records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) about meetings between President Trump and Russian officials.
On May 10, 2017, President Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office. During this meeting President Trump shared what until then was highly classified information with Mr. Lavrov and Mr. Kislyak regarding common threats that both Russia and the United States face from terrorist organizations. On May 15, 2017, the President’s National Security Advisor, H.R. McMaster, who was present at the Oval Office meeting, confirmed many significant details that the press reported about the meeting. On May 16, 2017, President Trump tweeted, “As President, I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining…to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”
Given the turmoil that President Trump’s disclosure of highly sensitive information to Russia caused, CREW requested expedited processing of a FOIA pertaining to documents, transcripts or recordings of President Trump’s May 10, 2017 meeting with Mr. Lavrov and Mr. Kislyak. By letter dated August 30, 2017, the NSA responded to CREW’s request stating that it was unable to confirm or deny the existence of the documents requested and further invoked Exemption 3 of the FOIA, which exempts from disclosure information specifically exempted from disclosure by other statutes. CREW filed an administrative appeal with the NSA, explaining that the NSA’s original decision refusing to confirm or deny the existence of records was erroneous because both Trump and National Security Advisor McMaster had already publicly acknowledged that responsive records exist. However, NSA denied the appeal, concluding their initial assertion was appropriate.
On May 16, 2017, CREW also requested from the Central Intelligence Agency (“CIA”) under the FOIA records relating to the President’s meeting. The CIA acknowledged CREW’s request by letter dated May 17, 2017 and granted CREW’s request for expedited processing of the FOIA request. However, since May 17, 2017, CREW has received no response or communication from the CIA regarding its FOIA request.
For these reasons, CREW is challenging the refusal of the NSA and the failure of the CIA to disclose to CREW pursuant to the FOIA records relating to the meeting President Trump had with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on May 10, 2017.