FOUNDING CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY OF WASHINGTON, INC., Plaintiff,
NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY et al., Defendants.
United States District Court, District of Columbia.
July 21, 1977.
Action was brought against the National Security Agency under the Freedom of
Information Act. On the NSA's motion for summary judgment, the District Court,
John Lewis Smith, Jr., J., held that records which would disclose information
about the nature of the NSA's activities, including its functions, were exempt
from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
Records or portions thereof which would disclose information about nature of
National Security Agency's activities, including its functions, were exempt
from disclosure under Freedom of Information Act. 5 U.S.C.A. s 552(b)(3).
*632 William A. Dobrovir, Washington, D.C., for plaintiff.
Carol Buehrens, Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., for defendants.
JOHN LEWIS SMITH, Jr., District Judge.
The Founding Church of Scientology of Washington, D.C. seeks an order
enjoining the National Security Agency (NSA) from withholding information
pertaining to the church and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. After filing its
Freedom of Information Act request with NSA, plaintiff was informed that NSA
had no documents concerning either party. Later plaintiff advised NSA that it
had learned in other litigation in this Court that NSA had provided sixteen
documents within the scope of the request to the Central Intelligence Agency.
With this information, *633 NSA uncovered the sixteen documents but refused
to disclose them to plaintiff on grounds that they were protected by Exemptions
1 and 3 to the Act. Plaintiff subsequently instituted this action, which comes
before the Court on defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for
Summary Judgment and plaintiff's Motion to Compel Answers to Interrogatories.
Exemption 3 safeguards matter "specifically exempted from disclosure by
statute (other than section 552b of this title), provided that such statute (A)
requires that the matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to
leave no discretion on the issue or (B) established particular criteria for
withholding or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld." 5
U.S.C. s 552(b)(3). Norman Boardman, the Information Officer at NSA, states
that release of any part of the sixteen documents would contravene Section 6 of
Public Law 86-36, which reads in part:
"(N)othing in this Act or any other law . . . shall be construed to require
the disclosure of the organization or any function of the National Security
Agency, of any information with respect to the activities thereof, or of the
names, titles, salaries, or number of persons employed by such agency." 73
Mr. Boardman insists that "(r)elease of any record or portion thereof would
disclose information about the nature of NSA's activities including its
functions." Plaintiff maintains, however, that Pub.L. 86-36 is not an
Exemption 3 statute. Inasmuch as the statute expressly "refers to particular
types of matters to be withheld," that contention must be rejected and summary
judgment entered for defendants. See Kruh v. General Services
Administration, 421 F.Supp. 965, 967 n.4 (E.D.N.Y.1976).