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Ray v. Turner

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
587 F.2d 1187 (1978)


The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, enacted in 1966, was meant to increase the availability of certain information to the public. The FOIA facilitates disclosure of records that do not fit within one of nine exemptions recognized by Congress. For example, Exemption 1 exempts materials that have been deemed classified by executive order, and Exemption 3 permits the withholding of information that has been explicitly exempted by statute. If an agency does not comply with a request for disclosure, the FOIA gives the agency the burden of proving that an exemption applies. Pursuant to the FOIA, Ellen Ray and William Schaap (plaintiffs) sent letters to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) requesting any files it had on them. While the CIA did have files that referred to Ray and Schaap, it refused to release them. As a result, the plaintiffs brought an action under the FOIA to gain disclosure of the documents. The government moved for summary judgment in favor of nondisclosure, while Ray and Schapp moved for in camera review of the documents. In support of its position, the government produced two affidavits written by Eloise Page, CIA Chief of Operations Staff, which described the documents at issue and the basis for the government’s claim of exemption. The district court granted the government’s motion and denied the plaintiff’s motion for in camera inspection, finding that the documents were exempt from disclosure under Exemptions 1 and 3 of the FOIA.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Per Curiam)

Concurrence (Wright, C.J.)

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