Justice Dept. moves to end Fla. lawsuit, citing national security

June 3, 2013 at 4:17 PM

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., June 3 (UPI) -- A declaration in support of ending a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., lawsuit says the suit's classified information could compromise FBI security investigations.

An assertion by FBI official David Hardy, in a sworn 33-page declaration, says disclosure of certain classified information about Florida residents who hurriedly left their homes after the Sept. 11, 2001, attack "would reveal current specific targets of the FBI's national security investigations."

The declaration is in support of a U.S. Department of Justice that seeks to end a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed in 2012 by the Florida online newspaper BrowardBulldog.org, the newspaper said.

The suit was filed to obtain information about an incident, not disclosed to Congress or to the 9/11 Commission and published in 2011 by The Miami Herald and BrowardBulldog.org, in which neighbors in the gated community of Prestancia, Fla., noticed a Saudi family, the al-Hijis, suddenly departed their home about two weeks before the attacks.

Gatehouse log books and photographs were later used by the FBI to determine vehicles used by the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers had visited the al-Hiji home, former Prestancia administrator Larry Berberich said.

The FBI redacted information in its report on the investigation of the al-Hiji family, and Hardy assertions state the deletions were made to protect "actual intelligence activities and methods used by the FBI against specific targets of foreign counterintelligence investigations or operations."

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