People For the American Way Foundation and 15 other civil liberties and civil rights organizations filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department on December 5 after the department refused to release important information about individuals detained during the past three months. The organizations filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the DOJ on October 29. In late November, the Department released fragmentary information, which fell far short of what had been requested, without ever responding to the request.
“This administration continues to take the law into its own hands and keep information out of the hands of Congress and the public,” said People For the American Way Foundation Legal Director Elliot Mincberg. “Without information and oversight, there are no checks and balances. Without checks and balances, there is no way to prevent abuses of power.
“This lawsuit does not question the importance of the government’s investigation,” says the complaint. “The government candidly acknowledges that hundreds of people remain in federal custody but refuses to disclose, among other basic facts, who these detainees are and where they are being held. This secrecy is unprecedented and deprives the public of information it is lawfully entitled to receive.”
Judge Gladys Kessler of the federal district court in Washington will hear the case, in which PFAWF is co-plaintiff and co-counsel.
The lawsuit can be accessed at: http://www.pfaw.org/courts/FOILawsuit.pdf