Judge rules against Judicial Watch in Navy Seal FOIA

Aug. 31, 2013 at 12:32 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow had access to names of officers who helped killed Osama bin Laden but Judicial Watch can't have the same information, a judge said.

A few months after a Navy Seal team killed bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011, Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal met with four CIA officers and one Navy Seal who had been involved in the raid as part of research for the film "Zero Dark Thirty," Courthouse News Service reported.

Bigelow and Boal were told the full name of the Navy Seal and the first names of the CIA officers, information they didn't use in the film. Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request to see records of the communications between the filmmakers and the government, but the names of the officers were redacted.

Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit demanding the officers' identities be put into the public domain.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras ruled against Judicial Watch Wednesday, saying sharing the names with the filmmakers didn't put the information into the public domain.

"The general public does not know the names that the organization would uncover here," Contreras wrote.

"Although it touches upon matters of considerable public concern, this case presents an exceedingly narrow question: whether a FOIA requester that knows information has been disclosed to a private party is necessarily entitled to that same disclosure. Under the law of this circuit, the answer to that question is 'No,'" Contreras said.

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