Three FOIA lawsuits seeking records related to the government censorship system of "prepublication review"
Between 2016 and 2018, the Knight Institute and the ACLU filed four FOIA requests and two related lawsuits seeking records related to “prepublication review,” a far-reaching system of government censorship that prohibits millions of current and former intelligence-agency employees and military personnel from publishing or speaking about their time in government without first obtaining government approval.
The Knight Institute and the ACLU sued to enforce their FOIA requests in order to shed light on prepublication review and its impact on public understanding of the operation of our government.
On April 2, 2019, the Knight Institute and the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of prepublication review.
On January 27, 2020, the Knight Institute and the ACLU filed a fifth FOIA request seeking records related to the review of the manuscripts of 25 former federal officials, including former National Security Advisor John Bolton's forthcoming memoir. On June 26, 2020, the Knight Institute and the ACLU sued to enforce this request.
On August 28, 2020, the Knight Institute and the ACLU filed a sixth FOIA request seeking legal opinions and memoranda drafted by the Office of Legal Counsel pertaining to prepublication review.
Records Released by Agency: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Department of the Air Force (Air Force), Department of the Army (Army), Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice (DOJ-OAG, DOJ-OLC, DOJ-NSD), Department of the Navy (Navy), Department of State (DOS), Department of the Treasury (Treasury), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Marine Corps (Marines), National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), National Security Agency (NSA), Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), United States Coast Guard (Coast Guard)
Status of ACLU v. CIA: On November 24, 2021, the district court granted in part and denied in part the CIA's motion for summary judgment and granted in part and denied in part the plaintiffs' cross-motion for partial summary judgment.
Status of Knight Institute v. DOD: Dismissed on July 29, 2022.
Status of Knight Institute v. DOS: Dismissed on July 6, 2022.
Case Information: ACLU v. CIA, No. 1:16-cv-1256-EGS (D.D.C.); Knight First Amendment Inst. at Columbia Univ. v. DOD, No. 1:18-cv-1129 (D.D.C.); Knight First Amendment Inst. at Columbia Univ. v. DOS, No. 1:20-cv-04911-JGK (S.D.N.Y.).