CIA: Did you mean these documents? Update: Judicial Watch fights another delay

posted at 10:01 am on July 25, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Lost amid the hilarity of watching Senator Dianne Feinstein do a Cory Booker impersonation by denying she meant what she said about White House leaks was another, and perhaps more significant, retraction.  The Department of Justice had to file a motion admitting that the CIA had found numerous documents that should have been released in a Freedom of Information Act request from Judicial Watch about White House interaction with filmmakers producing a movie about the killing of Osama bin Laden:

The Central Intelligence Agency recently discovered a “4 to 5 inch stack” of documents that relate to the spy agency’s cooperation with the makers of a forthcoming Hollywood film on the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, according to a new court filing.

The documents about CIA dealings with the film now titled “Zero Dark Thirty” were “inadvertently overlooked” in response to a Freedom of Information Act request and lawsuit filed by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, Justice Department attorneys said in a motion filed in federal court in Washington Tuesday afternoon (posted here).

“The CIA discovered a 4 to 5 inch stack of records potentially responsive to plaintiff’s FOIA request that had been inadvertently overlooked during the CIA’s search,” Civil Division attorney Marcia Berman wrote. “The CIA is continuing to look into the circumstances of the discovery of the new documents to ensure the adequacy of its search.”

Well … oopsie!  This relates directly to the issue around which Feinstein danced yesterday, which is the intentional leaking of national-security information to burnish the reputation of Barack Obama.  Judicial Watch sued for documentation that related to official contacts between the administration and the filmmakers, as speculation grew that not only did the White House give unprecedented access in order to make itself look good in the cinema, but that the access would allow the film to get released before the election.  (The filmmakers pushed the release date back after the controversy erupted.)

We’ll have to see whether Judicial Watch gets any answers from these documents, assuming they do get released.  It’s pretty certain that JW won’t do a Cory Booker impression, though.

Update: Apparently, the CIA wanted another month to review the stack of newly-found documents, even though they were supposed to comply with the FOIA request by the end of May.  Judicial Watch just filed a motion opposing the request for another month’s delay:

2. Plaintiff’s counsel learned of Defendant Central Intelligence Agency’s (“CIA”) failure to produce all responsive documents by the Court’s May 18, 2012 deadline on July 19, 2012. Defendant’s counsel also informed Plaintiff’s counsel that the CIA would not be able to complete its review and production of the documents until August 24, 2012, and requested an extension of the briefing schedule.

3. On the morning of July 20, 2012, Plaintiff’s counsel informed Defendants’ counsel that a motion for extension of time based on failure to comply with deadlines was improper, and suggested instead that Defendants promptly produce the newly discovered documents on an expedited basis so that Plaintiff could review them and respond prior to the Defendants’ July 27, 2012 deadline to file their Motion for Summary Judgment in this case.

JW is asking for a reasonable timetable that would produce the documentation by August 10th.  We’ll see what the court says.

Update II, 7/26/12: I completely forgot to link my source for the original story — Politico and Josh Gerstein.  My profuse apologies to both.


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Comment pages: 1 2

coldwarrior on July 25, 2012 at 10:13 AM

No one cares unless it is a Republican administration.

Cindy Munford on July 25, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Cindy Munford on July 25, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Sadly true.

And Code Pink has organized to protest at the GOP Convention in Tampa and not in North Carolina?

Shameless.

But, we all knew that.

coldwarrior on July 25, 2012 at 1:17 PM

Where’d they find them, Sandy Burglars pants?

Buttercup on July 25, 2012 at 1:37 PM

“The CIA is continuing to look into the circumstances of the discovery of the new documents to ensure the adequacy of its search.”

Yeah, sure they are.

KS Rex on July 25, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Push back the release date?! Dummkopf! Goebbels is turning in his grave!

John the Libertarian on July 25, 2012 at 2:31 PM

Why and I do mean WHY was the administration filmed watching the take down on pay per view? WHY. The only reason I can even remotely think of is for future Hollywood episode of making ‘O’ look good. Watching a game or a fight on pay per view does not put you there and it does not make you a hero and it does not make you sweat. For ‘O’ to claim any credit at all would be like me claiming to have been on the moon, because I watched the landing on TV.

j bo on July 25, 2012 at 2:43 PM

I wonder if this stack of documents fell out of Sandy Bergers socks?

Missilengr on July 25, 2012 at 4:14 PM

coldwarrior on July 25, 2012 at 10:13 AM

No one cares unless it is a Republican administration.

Cindy Munford on July 25, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Nauseatingly true.

jimver on July 25, 2012 at 4:29 PM

So, it’s actually CIA who leaked it? Or are they are being scapegoated…

jimver on July 25, 2012 at 4:31 PM

Were they with the Rose Law firm papers?

ctmom on July 25, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Good question. Maybe Jamie Gorelick will be appointed chair of a commission to look into it.

Barnestormer on July 25, 2012 at 4:45 PM

Since most posters seem to be accepting the line of “finding a stack of documents” I am going to repeat myself here:

Every federal document these days is first electronic, each gets logged, and is entered into a library tracking database of one type or another.

You don’t just “find” a stack of papers, this isn’t 1912, it’s 2012 for heaven’s sake. E-files first, hard copies might be produced later, and likely only if requested by someone or some agency.

From the Plaintiff’s motion:

“From its initial review of the documents, the CIA has determined that the newly discovered documents are responsive to plaintiff’s request but contain some duplicates of produced records. The CIA estimates that there are approximately 30 new documents (primarily emails), with many documents containing multiple pages.”

E-mails start as electronic documents, this just supports my contention of utter horse hockey.

No one “found” a stack of paper, it’s a BS story.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on July 25, 2012 at 5:11 PM

Since most posters seem to be accepting the line of “finding a stack of documents” I am going to repeat myself here:

Every federal document these days is first electronic, each gets logged, and is entered into a library tracking database of one type or another.

You don’t just “find” a stack of papers, this isn’t 1912, it’s 2012 for heaven’s sake. E-files first, hard copies might be produced later, and likely only if requested by someone or some agency.

From the Plaintiff’s motion:

“From its initial review of the documents, the CIA has determined that the newly discovered documents are responsive to plaintiff’s request but contain some duplicates of produced records. The CIA estimates that there are approximately 30 new documents (primarily emails), with many documents containing multiple pages.”

E-mails start as electronic documents, this just supports my contention of utter horse hockey.

No one “found” a stack of paper, it’s a BS story.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on July 25, 2012 at 5:11 PM

This just goes to show how convinced they are that the general public is irremediiably dumb…and sadly, they are not entirely mistaken…

jimver on July 25, 2012 at 5:35 PM

I wanna be the guy that sells those big black magic markers to the CIA. I’ll make millions! (dollars and markers)

gordo on July 25, 2012 at 7:30 PM

So they’re either incompetent boobs who can’t track records, or they’re lying sacks of sh1t. Which is it?

RadClown on July 25, 2012 at 10:19 AM

Why not Both? Would that be so hard to believe?

Solaratov on July 25, 2012 at 8:34 PM

Yeah, right. Try that “Oops, I overlooked those records” excuse with the IRS and see how far it gets you.

natasha333 on July 25, 2012 at 9:27 PM

Right. CIA keeps paper documents on things it did in 2011 or 2012, which aren’t catalogued or indexed or stored digitally anywhere.

Sorry, doesn’t pass the smell test. And no, I didn’t sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night. I spent 20 years in intelligence. This CIA revelation is BS.

J.E. Dyer on July 25, 2012 at 10:22 PM

Was Obama wearing an orange wig when he took out Bin Laden with his bare hands?

onlineanalyst on July 25, 2012 at 11:01 PM

Was Obama wearing an orange wig when he took out Bin Laden with his bare hands?

onlineanalyst on July 25, 2012 at 11:01 PM

Even Conan; -monologue joke about little Bammie -”new White House presidential letterhead says “I got bin Laden”.

slickwillie2001 on July 25, 2012 at 11:28 PM

Why can’t these folks simply give a straight answer?

A stack of papers 4 or 5 inches high is about 1,000 pages. A standard sheet is about .005 inches thick, meaning 200 sheets to the inch. Five inches is 1,000 pages.

Corky Boyd on July 26, 2012 at 12:05 AM

Multiple-Choice Question

Following the CIA’s review of the “4 to 5 inch stack” of documents, Judicial Watch will receive:

a) a less than 2 inch stack of documents

b) a greater than 2 inch stack of documents

c) a “4 to 5 inch stack” of documents completely redacted

McNinja on July 26, 2012 at 12:45 AM

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