OPERATION CLAMBAKE: SCIENTOLOGY COURT FILES

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              CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY OF CALIFORNIA, INC., Appellant
                                       v.
        Stansfield TURNER, Director, Central Intelligence Agency, et al.
                                  No. 80-1172.
                         United States Court of Appeals,
                          District of Columbia Circuit.
                              Argued Nov. 14, 1980.
                             Decided Dec. 18, 1980.
  Church filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Central
 Intelligence Agency seeking all documents relating to any of affiliated
 organizations or its founder.  The United States District Court for the
 District of Columbia granted summary judgment in favor of Central Intelligence
 Agency, and church appealed.  The Court of Appeals held that where CIA
 affidavit provided a paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of each of documents
 withheld in whole or in part and for each document the affidavits indicated the
 sender, recipient, source of information, and why partial release was or was
 not possible and for each segment withheld, affidavits specifically indicated
 adverse consequences that would flow from its release, affidavits submitted as
 a Vaughn index were adequate to permit district court to rule on agency's
 claims of exemption.
  Affirmed.

 RECORDS
 Where CIA affidavit provided a paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of each of
 documents withheld in whole or in part and for each document the affidavits
 indicated the sender, recipient, source of information, and why partial release
 was or was not possible and for each segment withheld, affidavits specifically
 indicated adverse consequences that would flow from its release, affidavits
 submitted as a Vaughn index were adequate to permit district court to rule on
 agency's claims of exemption.  5 U.S.C.A. s 552(b)(1, 3).
  *784 **269 Appeal from the United States District Court for the District
 of Columbia (D.C. Civil No. 75-1048).
  Robert A. Seefried, Washington, D. C., with whom Earl C. Dudley, Jr.,
 Washington, D. C., was on the brief for appellant.
  Marc Johnston, Atty., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D. C., with whom Alice
 Daniel, Asst. Atty. Gen., Charles F. C. Ruff, U. S. Atty., Leonard Schaitman,
 Atty., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D. C., were on the brief for appellee.
  Wendy N. Keats, Washington, D. C., entered an appearance for appellee.

  Before McGOWAN and EDWARDS, Circuit Judges, and JOYCE HENS GREEN,[FN*]
 *785 **270 United States District Judge for the District of Columbia.

      FN* Sitting by designation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. s 292(a).

  Opinion PER CURIAM

  PER CURIAM:
  This is an appeal from a grant of summary judgment by the District Court in
 favor of defendant Central Intelligence Agency and its director, Stansfield
 Turner, in an action challenging appellees' refusal to release all or portions
 of 25 documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.  The critical
 question presented to us on appeal is the sufficiency vel non of agency
 affidavits submitted as a Vaughn index.[FN1]  Finding that the CIA's affidavits
 contained detail ample enough to permit the District Court to rule on its
 claims of exemption, we uphold the grant of summary judgment.

      FN1. A Vaughn index is compiled for all documents the government wishes to
     withhold in order to provide an opportunity for judicial evaluation of the
     exemption claims without the invariable need to inspect the contested
     documents.  The affidavits accompanying the Vaughn index should describe
     the indexed documents and why each is being withheld with enough
     particularity to make meaningful review possible.  See Dellums v.
     Powell, 642 F.2d 1351, 1359-1360 (D.C.Cir.1980); Vaughn v. Rosen, 484
     F.2d 820, 827 (D.C.Cir.1973), cert. denied, 415 U.S. 977, 94 S.Ct. 1564,
     39 L.Ed.2d 873 (1974).

  Appellant Church of Scientology of California filed in 1975 a FOIA request
 with the Central Intelligence Agency seeking all documents relating to any of
 its affiliated organizations or its founder, L. Ron Hubbard.  On an earlier
 appeal from the District Court's refusal to require release of all requested
 documents, we remanded this case to the District Court for further
 consideration in light of Ray v. Turner, 587 F.2d 1187 (D.C.Cir.1978).  Upon
 remand, the District Court ordered the CIA to file a new Vaughn index and
 accompanying affidavits.  The CIA complied, describing in detail the documents
 in issue and its reasons for withholding wholly or in part 25 of the 40
 documents it had identified as responsive to appellant's request.  In addition,
 the District Court inspected some of the withheld documents in camera.  On the
 basis of the affidavits and its inspection, the court granted the CIA's motion
 for summary judgment.
  The tension inherent in any FOIA demand directed to a government agency
 engaged in confidential national security affairs has confronted this court in
 previous cases.  On several occasions,[FN2] we have refused to uphold summary
 judgment orders based upon agency affidavits that were too conclusory or vague
 to allow the District Court to decide, upon reviewing the claims de novo as
 required by FOIA, whether the documents fell within the ambit of either FOIA
 exemption 1, 5 U.S.C. s 552(b)(1), covering material appropriately
 classified under an executive order, or exemption 3, 5 U.S.C. s 552(b)(3),
 protecting material exempted from disclosure by certain other statutes.[FN3]

      FN2. See, e. g., Allen v. CIA, 636 F.2d 1287 (D.C.Cir.1980);
     Founding Church of Scientology v. National Security Agency, 610 F.2d
     824 (D.C.Cir.1979); Ray v. Turner, 587 F.2d 1187 (D.C.Cir.1978).

      FN3. In this case, the order relevant for exemption 1 purposes is
     Executive Order 12065, 43 Fed.Reg. 28,949 (1978).  The CIA asserts that
     exemption 3 is also applicable because the provision incorporates by
     reference 50 U.S.C. s 403(d)(3), which says, in pertinent part, that
     "the Director of Central Intelligence shall be responsible for protecting
     intelligence sources and methods from unauthorized disclosure...." For a
     judicial gloss on the term "intelligence source," see Sims v. CIA, 642
     F.2d 562 at 567-571 (D.C.Cir.1980).

  For example, in Founding Church of Scientology v. National Security Agency,
 610 F.2d 824 (D.C.Cir.1979), this court held that an affidavit stating that
 disclosure would "jeopardize (the agency's) national security functions" was
 too conclusory, absent a showing of the particularized harm that could be
 expected to occur from production of the requested information.  However, we
 have also affirmed orders of summary judgment in favor of agencies seeking to
 protect confidential information when their affidavits were specific enough to
 allow a District Court judge to exercise meaningful de novo review.  In Baez
 v. *786 **271 United States Department of Justice, 647 F.2d 1328
 (D.C.Cir.1980), nondisclosure was upheld on the basis of affidavits asserting
 that, inter alia, producing the documents would reveal cooperation with and
 perhaps the identity of a foreign intelligence service or a covert intelligence
 source.  See at 1335.
  In determining the adequacy vel non of agency representations we are obliged
 to keep in mind the cautionary words of Vaughn itself.  In that case, the court
 said that "(a)n analysis sufficiently detailed would not have to contain
 factual descriptions that if made public would compromise the secret nature of
 the information, but could ordinarily be composed without excessive reference
 to the actual language of the documents."  Vaughn v. Rosen, 484 F.2d 820,
 826-27 (D.C.Cir.1973), cert. denied, 415 U.S. 977, 94 S.Ct. 1564, 39 L.Ed.2d
 873 (1974) (footnote omitted).  Therefore, the fact that the agency has not
 disclosed in its affidavits the information the documents contain need not lead
 to the conclusion that the affidavits are inadequate.
  In this case, the CIA has, in obvious response to the earlier teachings of
 this court, been at some pains to provide two lengthy affidavits which, while
 not disclosing the contents of the withheld documents, provide a reviewing
 judge with a wealth of information.  The affidavits include a lengthy general
 discussion of the adverse consequences that could flow from releasing the
 information withheld.  The release of any particular document, the CIA warned,
 could lead to one or more of the following harmful results: breaching
 agreements with foreign intelligence services, refusal of intelligence sources
 to share information in the future, revelation of intelligence-gathering
 methods, and disclosure of the identity of foreign or CIA intelligence
 operatives either directly or by inference from the content of the
 information.  The affidavits assert that release of a message's content could
 lead to the revelation of its source, since certain types of information are
 known to be in the possession of only a few.  See Supplemental Appendix at 9
 (hereinafter referred to as S.A.).  Appellant has adduced no evidence tending
 to undercut the plausibility of this argument.
  Having identified the various harms that could be expected from the documents'
 production, the CIA then goes on to explain how they relate to FOIA's
 exemptions 1 and 3.  The agency states that these unwelcome consequences are
 exactly what Executive Order 12065 and 50 U.S.C. s 403(d)(3) seek to avoid.
 Since exemption 1 incorporates Executive Order 12065 and exemption 3 the
 statute, see note 3 supra, the CIA argues that these documents are exempt from
 disclosure.
  Building upon this general argument, largely contained in the first, or Owen,
 affidavit, both affidavits provide a paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of each of
 the documents withheld in whole or in part.  For each document the affidavits
 indicate the sender, the recipient, the source of the information, and why
 partial release was or was not possible.  For each segment withheld, the
 affidavits specifically indicate which of the adverse consequences discussed
 earlier could occur upon release.[FN4]

      FN4. The discussion of any one document suffices to give a flavor of the
     affidavits.  For example, Document No. 18 was released in part with the
     following explanation: "This document is a two-page dispatch ... from CIA
     Headquarters to a foreign CIA station which consists of information ... on
     L. Ron Hubbard.... It is released with certain deletions.  In the first and
     second paragraphs, five cryptonyms were deleted pursuant to exemption
     (b)(3).... The third and fourth paragraphs were denied in their entirety
     pursuant to exemptions (b)(1) and (b)(3) coextensively since both
     paragraphs consist of information provided in confidence by the
     intelligence services of two named countries; since the third paragraph
     refers to a foreign CIA station and operations; and since the fourth
     paragraph contains a cryptonym...." S.A. at 25-26.

  We believe that these affidavits provided the kind of detailed, scrupulous
 description that enables a District Court judge to perform a searching de novo
 review.[FN5]  The *787 **272 harms to which the CIA directs the court's
 attention are neither amorphous nor conclusory, but reasonable articulations of
 precise consequences.  The individual descriptions of each portion of the
 documents further permit the District Court to determine whether the agency has
 properly segregated, within each document, exempt material from information it
 must provide to the requester.  The CIA could provide no more information
 without revealing the content of the document, which was what it sought to
 protect from disclosure.

      FN5. In addition, it is appropriate for the District Court to inspect some
     or all of the documents in camera, as was done in this case, to ensure that
     the claimed exemptions are appropriate.  The availability of in camera
     review is further assurance that the District Court will be able to provide
     plaintiffs the benefits of de novo review without disclosing what the
     government seeks to maintain in confidence.

  We think that a reasonable balance must be struck between the competing
 congressionally-sanctioned policies of public access to government information,
 on the one hand, and maintenance of a functioning intelligence-gathering
 system, on the other.  We have consistently maintained that vague, conclusory
 affidavits, or those that merely paraphrase the words of a statute, do not
 allow a reviewing judge to safeguard the public's right of access to government
 records.  We believe that the affidavits provided in this case, bottomed as
 they are upon specification of both intelligence sources and of the harm to be
 expected from disclosure, provide a suitably informed basis on which a District
 Court could rationally determine that the withheld portions of the requested
 documents are within the claimed statutory exemptions.  Accordingly, we affirm.
  It is so ordered.

End of file...