Second FOIA lawsuit targets details on election interference

Second FOIA lawsuit targets details on election interference
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Journalists and transparency advocates are now turning to the courts to force the Obama administration to provide more information about Russian interference in the U.S. election.

A second Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit targeting U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies’ investigations into foreign election interference was filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., on Friday.

The transparency organization the James Madison Project and Heat Street journalist Louise Mensch sued five intelligence and law enforcement agencies for a broad swath of related records — including details on any investigations into hacks on state election systems.

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The litigation targets the FBI, CIA, the Justice Department's National Security Division, the office of director of national intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security.

The plaintiffs are also seeking information on any FBI investigations into who in the bureau may have leaked information about its probe of Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonBiden rips Senate GOP healthcare bill, says it 'isn't about healthcare' Clinton: If Republicans pass ObamaCare repeal, 'they're the death party' Report: Biden scolded hedge fund manager over late son MORE’s private email server to allies of Donald TrumpDonald TrumpOPINION: Dear media, Americans don't care about Obama's legacy Make America’s classroom and workplaces safe again Preet Bharara emailed DOJ about phone call from Trump: report MORE during the presidential campaign.

Both former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn at different points claimed to have inside information on the FBI’s investigation into Clinton.

The sprawling suit also demands information on leaks regarding the FBI’s probe into the Clinton Foundation and an alleged data connection between Trump Tower and a Russian bank. The link was reported by Slate but was later widely debunked by security experts.

The James Madison Project and Mensch say they filed FOIA requests to the various agencies last month but have received no response.

The litigation joins a separate FOIA lawsuit from Vice journalist Jason Leopold and Ryan Shapiro, a Ph.D. candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, seeking CIA, FBI, ODNI and DHS records pertaining to investigations into Russia’s interference in the election.

Leopold and Shapiro also asked the intelligence agencies for copies of communications to or from the Electoral College and any records that mention or refer to some electors' push for briefings on investigations into ties between Trump, his campaign or his associates and Russia.

The president-elect has rejected the idea that Russia was involved in hacks on the Democratic National Committee and other Democratic organizations, and President Obama has been under pressure to provide proof. 

On Thursday, the administration announced a slate of retaliatory measures against Russia in response to the attacks, including sanctions against two Russian intelligence agencies and four officials.