Judicial Watch suit: Office of Director of National Intelligence failed to produce legally mandated, unclassified report on Russia’s meddling in foreign elections

Vladimir Putiin

From Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch said it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit last month against the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to obtain a legally mandated, unclassified report on Russia’s meddling in foreign elections (Judicial Watch v. Office of the Director of National Intelligence (No. 17-cv-02073)).

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the ODNI failed to respond to an August 4, 2017, FOIA request seeking “the intelligence community assessment required by Section 502 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016.”

Judicial Watch points out that Section 502 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 mandates:

“Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of National Intelligence shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees an intelligence community assessment on the funding of political parties and nongovernmental organizations in former Soviet states and countries in Europe by the Russian Security Service since January 1, 2016.”

The Act also requires the intelligence community assessment be submitted in the form of an unclassified Report, which under the law, would be subject to FOIA disclosure.  The Act took effect on December 18, 2015.

This is the second Judicial Watch lawsuit seeking unclassified reports produced by the intelligence community assessing Russia’s interference in foreign elections.  On March 8, 2017, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) seeking an unclassified report assessing Russia’s interference in foreign elections (Judicial Watch v. Central Intelligence Agency (No. 1:17-cv-00414)).  That lawsuit came after the CIA failed to respond to a December 14, 2016 FOIA request seeking the unclassified assessment of Russia’s meddling in foreign elections requested by Congressman Mike Turner (R-OH).

On December 13, 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported that since 2015, Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, “has been pushing for the unclassified version of a report assessing Moscow’s interference in foreign elections, particularly across Europe.”  The Wall Street Journal further reported:

The White House already released a classified version of the assessment but Mr. Turner has been pushing for the unclassified version, which would be releasable to the public, he said.  Mr. Turner sent the White House a letter … demanding for the unclassified version of the report.

“The fact that the administration is picking and choosing the information it releases and who they release it to ought to give everybody concern that the administration is manipulating this,” he said.

The report is critical for a better understanding of what Moscow is up to in elections overseas, he said.  Mr. Turner said the Obama administration is cherry picking what it releases.

In a separate lawsuit, Judicial Watch is suing the ODNI to force the agency to conduct the required damage assessment related to Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information.

“The Obama administration’s politicized intelligence community promoted the story of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election but refuses to release any concrete evidence,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.  “The Deep State intelligence establishment continues to be in a cover-up mode on Russia.  This illegal secrecy seems designed to protect the Obama/Clinton administration and to undermine the Trump administration.  President Trump may want to ask his appointees what they are hiding about Russia.”

 

 

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