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NARA Complaint

NARA Complaint

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Published by cooksie
My FOIA complaint against the National Archives and Records Administration, drafted by students at the Yale Law School Media Freedom and Information Access Practicum and filed by Charles Sims of Proskauer Rose.
My FOIA complaint against the National Archives and Records Administration, drafted by students at the Yale Law School Media Freedom and Information Access Practicum and filed by Charles Sims of Proskauer Rose.

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Published by: cooksie on Dec 02, 2011
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12/02/2011

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USTA'l86Tgc'$0UR
T
SOUTHERN
DISTRICT
OFNEW
YORK
JOHN
COOK
X
&1CRr
86pe
laintiff,
against—
CONATIONAL
ARCHIVES
&
RECORDS
ADMINISTRATION,
Defendant.
Plaintiff
John
Cook,
byhis
undersigned
attorney,alleges
1.
This
is
an
action
underthe
Freedom
of
Information
Act
(-FOIA"),
5
U.
S.
C.
$
552,
brought
by
journalistJohn
Cook
of
Gawker Media,
to ordertheproduction
of
agency
records
and
information
improperly
vAthhcld
by
Defendant
National
Archives
and
Records
Achninistration
("NARA").
.
2.
Under
thePresidential
Records
Act('PRA*')
of
1978,
44
U.
S.
C.
$
2201et
seq.
,
fora
definite
period
immediately
atter
the
conclusion
of
a
presidential
term,
access
to
the
administration's
records
is
granted
onlyto certain
individuals.
Specifically,records
may
be
released
to
the
former
President
or
his designated
representative
and
theformer
Vice
President
or
his
representative
["Designated
Representatives'*],
and
under
certain
circumstances
to
the
incumbent
President,
courts,
and
members
of
Congress
["
Other
Officials"].
Case 1:11-cv-08624-BSJ Document 1 Filed 11/29/11 Page 1 of 16
 
3.
NARA
has
indicated
that
it
iscurrently
in
possession
of
more
than
10,
000
pages
of
documentation
related
to
special
access
requests
by
DesignatedRepresentatives
and
Other
Officialsfor
records
of
former
President
George
W.
Bush
and
former
Vice
President
Dick
Cheney.
4.
John
Cook,
a
staff
journalist
for
Gawker
Media,
made
a
request
under
FOIA for
copies
of
these
special
access
rcqucsts
and
related
correspondence.
Mr.
Cook
does
not
seek
the
Administration'sdocuments,
which
are
protected
from
disclosure
under
the
PRA;
rather,
he seeks
only
records
of
which
Designated
Representatives
and
Other
Officials
soughtand
were
or
were not
granted
access
to
what
Adminisn
ation
documents.
5.
Mr.
Cook
seeks
these
records
in
order
to
gain
insight
into
thewayin whichtheformer
President
and
Vice
President have
chosen
to
shape
the
public's
perception
of
their
time
in
office,
and
to
provide
thisinsight
to
the
public
through
online
news
stories.
6.
NARA
hasimproperly
denied
Mr.
Cook
s
request
for
records
of
special
access
requests
made
by
DesignatedRepresentatives
["
Designated
Representatives
Request"],
citing
FOIA
Exemption
6,
5
U.
S,
C.
(J
552(b)(6)
(relating
to
information
the
disclosure
of
which
would
constitute
an
unwarranted
invasion
of
personal
privacy).
7.
NARA
has
alsofailed
to
promptly
make
availabledocuments
responsive
to Mr.
Cook's
request
for
records
of
special
access
requests
made
byOther
Officials
["
Other
Officials
Request"]
or
tojustify
the
legal
basis
for
withholding
them,even
though
it
has
conceded
that
it
must
release
those
records.
Case 1:11-cv-08624-BSJ Document 1 Filed 11/29/11 Page 2 of 16
 
8.
Through
this
action,
Mr.
Cook
seeksdeclaratory
and
injunctive
relief
to compel
the release
of
records
that
are
being
unlawfullywithheld
from
the
public.
JURISDICTION
AND
VENUE
9.
This
Court
has
subject
matter
jurisdiction
over
this
action
pursuant
to
28
U.
S.
C.
Ij
1331
and 5
U.
S.
C.
Ij
552(a)(4)(B).
10.
Venue
is
premised
on
Mr.
Cook's
principal
place
of
business,
the
offices
of
Gawker
Media,located
at
210
Elizabeth
Sheet,
New
York,
NY
10012.
Venue
is
thus
proper
in
this
district
under
5
U.
S.
C.
)
552(a)(4)(B).
11.
Mr.
Cook
has
exhausted
alladministrative
remedies
in
respect
to
his
DesignatedRepresentatives
Request
pursuant
to
5
U.
S.
C.
tj
552(a)(4)(B)
and
is
deemed
to
have
exhausted
all
administrative
remedies
inrespect
to
his
Other
OfficialsRequest
pursuant
to
5
U.
S.
C.
)
552(a)(6)(C).
PARTIES
12.
Cook
is
a
staff
writer
for
Gawker.
corn
and
focuses
oninvestigative
stories.
Gawker.
corn
is
published
by
Gawker
Media,
the parent
company
of
eight
separate
Internet
sites
with
a
combined
32.
3
millionglobal
visitors
and
19.
5
million
U.
S.
visitors
per
month.
Gawker.
corn
itself
receives
4.
7
million
U.
S.
visitors
per
month.
Cook's
principal
place
of
business,
the
offices
of
Gawker
Media,
is
located
in
this
dissect
at
210
Elizabeth
Street,
Ncw
York,
NY
10012.
13.
DefendantNARA
is
an
independent
agency
of
the
federal
government
within
the
meaning
of
5
U.
S.C.
$
552(f)(1),
headed
by
the
Archivist
of
theUnited
States,
and
has
possession
and
control
of
the
records
that
Mr.
Cook
seeks.
Pursuant
tothe
PRA,
the
Archivist
of
the United
States
has
"responsibility
for
the
Case 1:11-cv-08624-BSJ Document 1 Filed 11/29/11 Page 3 of 16

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