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FOIA Lawsuit | Case 1:14-cv-00119-RC Alexa O’Brien v. U.S. Department of State

February 6, 2014   ·   0 Comments

Source: AlexaOBrien.com

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Above: Photo and collage by NYT eXaminer.

By Alexa O'Brien:

On January 30, 2014, I filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State for a failing to respond or comply with my March 2013 Freedom of Information Act request for records of communications between employees of the New York Times and the Department of State dated between January 1, 2010 and March 11, 2013 concerning documents published by WikiLeaks.

I am being represented by my attorney Jeffrey Light.

On July 22, 2010, the New York Times notified Obama administration officials of the imminent publication of the Afghan War Diary by the Times and foreign media organizations, including WikiLeaks.

Eric Schmitt at the New York Times stated that he, "worked very closely" on the Afghan War Diary "with the White House and in fact the White house praised [The New York Times] for [its] efforts and due diligence."

Bill Keller also communicated with Richard Holbrooke, special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan about the Afghan War Logs in July 2010.

Dean Baquet, the Washington Bureau Chief at the New York Times, gave the White House an early warning on November 19, 2010 of the then imminent publication U.S. diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks, the Times, and other foreign media organizations.

According to the same report, on November 23, 2010, Dean Baquet, Scott Shane, and another New York Times employee had a meeting at the Department of State:

Representatives from the White House, the State Department, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the C.I.A., the Defense Intelligence Agency, the F.B.I. and the Pentagon gathered around a conference table. Others, who never identified themselves, lined the walls. A solitary note-taker tapped away on a computer.

[...]

Subsequent meetings, which soon gave way to daily conference calls, were more businesslike. Before each discussion, our Washington bureau sent over a batch of specific cables that we intended to use in the coming days. They were circulated to regional specialists, who funneled their reactions to a small group at State, who came to our daily conversations with a list of priorities and arguments to back them up. We relayed the government's concerns, and our own decisions regarding them, to the other news outlets.

The former Press Secretary at the U.S. Department of State stated, "We have had conversations with news organizations that are in receipt of documents."

The former executive editor of the New York Times wrote the Times had "extensive conversations with the United States government" concerning the WikiLeaks publications of the Iraq War Logs; Afghan War Diary; diplomatic cables; and the Guantanamo Detainee Assessment Briefs.

The New York Times further reported that the Obama administration and others in the US Government pressured media organizations, including the New York Times to stop calling WikiLeaks a "whistleblower web site".

The New York Times Examiner had filed a related request for material dated between January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2011 , but had only received one responsive document.

The Department of State has 20 days to respond to my lawsuit. I will update the public further about this case as it progresses.

[View the lawsuit at alexaobrien.com. If you would like to donate to Alexa's work, please do so on her website.]

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