FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: 9th Circuit hears oral argument on USA Book

FOIA News (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

ACLU Can't See DOJ Snooping Strategy Docs, 9th Circ. Told

By Cara Bayles, Law360, Dec. 12, 2016

The Department of Justice told the Ninth Circuit on Monday that a lower court erred in granting the American Civil Liberties Union’s request for internal documents that spell out investigation strategies — including telephone tracking techniques — for prosecutors and staff, arguing such disclosures would violate work-product privilege.

One of the issues raised over the so-called USA Book to be released under the Freedom of Information Act suit was what, exactly, the publicly unavailable document is. DOJ attorney H. Thomas Byron III called it “a resource and reference developed by the Justice Department for prosecutors around the country,” and said that because the guidelines were intended for attorneys, they were subject to the work-product exemption under FOIA.

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