National Security

“The only effective restraint upon executive policy and power in the areas of national defense and international affairs may lie in an enlightened citizenry—in an informed and critical public opinion which alone can here protect the values of democratic government.”
New York Times Co. v. United States 403 U.S. 713, 728 (1971)


MFIA represents clients asserting constitutional and statutory rights to information critical to oversight of our nation’s security policies. On behalf of our clients, we have sought access to judicial opinions, regulations, and rules governing communications surveillance, in addition to fighting for limits on the extent to which the recipients of investigative demands may be prevented from discussing the government’s actions with the press and the public. Our current cases include:


MFIA represents the Yale Law School Center for Global Legal Challenges (CGLC), which is seeking information from the U.S. Department of State on unclassified international treaty agreements.

Raymond Bonner and Alex Gibney v. CIA

The Clinic represented investigative journalist Raymond Bonner and documentarian Alex Gibney in a successful effort to vindicate their right to interview a former FBI agent about his first-hand observations of, and opposition to, of the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program.

FISC Access Litigation

MFIA and the ACLU are pursuing access to secret judicial opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that address the legal authority for surveillance, including the bulk collection of data.

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Carter Page)

After the genesis of orders authorizing the 2016 surveillance of Carter Page became an issue between the competing factions of the House Intelligence Committee, the Clinic filed a motion in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) on behalf of the New York Times asserting a constitutional right of access to the application materials on which the orders were entered and urging that no compelling interest justified their continued sealing. MFIA is awaiting a ruling. 

Bonner v. Dept. of Defense (FOIA)

Investigative journalist Ray Bonner pursued FOIA requests for records needed for his reporting on Abu Zubaydah, a Guantanamo detainee who was subject to “enhanced interrogations” by the CIA. The Clinic filed two lawsuits on Mr. Bonner’s behalf after his FOIA requests went unanswered and negotiated a successful resolution of the cases after the government produced hundreds of pages of responsive documents.

For a list of previous matters, please see the MFIA Archive.