This case involves a request under the Freedom of Information Act for all pre-1980 records the CIA has on the Catholic lay group Opus Dei. The plaintiff, Harry T. Cason, is writing a dissertation on the United States’ involvement in Spain’s transformation during Francisco Franco’s dictatorial regime. In response to his FOIA request, the CIA released two records but refused to acknowledge the existence or nonexistence of additional responsive records, claiming that this information may be withheld under FOIA exemptions b(1) and b(3). Specifically, the CIA claimed that to acknowledge the existence or nonexistence of responsive records would reveal CIA sources and methods and undermine national security. The CIA moved for summary judgment. Cason opposed the motion for summary judgment and moved for partial summary judgment, requesting that the court order the CIA to either release records responsive to his request or explain why each record is exempt from FOIA’s disclosure requirement.
On February 28, 2012, Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman issued a report recommending that the District Judge grant the CIA’s motion for summary judgment and deny Cason’s motion for partial summary judgment. On March 29, 2012, Judge Deborah Batts adopted the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation, denying Cason’s motion for partial summary judgment and granting summary judgment to the CIA.