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:

American Civil Liberties Union v. National Security Agency, No. 13-cv-9198 (S.D.N.Y.)
MFIA students represent the ACLU in a federal Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking disclosure of the rules that govern communications surveillance abroad pursuant to Executive Order 12,333.

Schwartz v. Department of Defense, et al., 1:15-cv-07077 (E.D.N.Y.)
MFIA represents free-lance journalist Mattathias Schwartz, who has reported on the military commission trials at Guantanamo Bay, in his FOIA lawsuit seeking records related to the CIA’s censorship of military commission proceedings at the naval base. 

Human Rights Watch v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, No. 13-cv-7360 (S.D.N.Y.)
MFIA represents Human Rights Watch in a federal Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking disclosure of information regarding the treatment of inmates held in relation to terrorism investigations.  The information obtained was used in a 2014 report, Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions.

FISC Access Litigation
MFIA and the ACLU are pursuing a motion seeking access to any FISC opinions addressing the legal authority for the bulk collection of data.  We are also pursuing two FOIA requests seeking information about the procedures being used to declassify substantive FISC opinions as required by the USA Freedom Act of 2015.

Rosenberg v. Dep't of Defense

Privacy International v. NSA et al.

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