Privacy group reaches NSA settlement, appeals case

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has agreed to a settlement with the National Security Agency (NSA) in its long-running attempt to get the agency to release documents.

Since 2009, EPIC has been attempting to get the spy agency to turn over a 2008 presidential directive that lays out the scope of the NSA’s legal authority over American computer networks as well as other related documents. In 2010, it filed a lawsuit against the NSA and the National Security Council to force the government to hand over the documents.

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The anti-privacy group has already received some of the documents it sought under a Freedom of Information Act request, but wants more.

Under the settlement announced this week, the organization will get $3,500 for attorneys fees from the NSA.

At the same time, EPIC is appealing an October district court ruling that refused to force the NSA to hand over the presidential directive EPIC sought. According to the lower court’s October decision, the directive was not an “agency record” and was not covered under the Freedom of Information Act.

“It was the first time a federal court has ruled that a Presidential Directive is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act,” EPIC said in a blog post

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has yet to schedule a briefing for the case.