The Project for Privacy and Surveillance Accountability today announced the filing of a lawsuit in federal court against the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, to compel the release of documents pertaining to the possible purchasing of the personal information of more than 100 current and former Members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees from private data brokers.
The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks records relating to data purchases of these current and former lawmakers that include Jerrold Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Ranking Member Jim Jordan, Sen. Dick Durbin, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Ranking Member Sen. Chuck Grassley. The list includes many leading lights of both parties, from current Vice President Kamala Harris to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, both former Members of Congress.
These government agencies responded over the summer 2021 to PPSA’s FOIA request with Glomar responses, a judicially invented doctrine that neither confirms nor denies that such records exist.
At the time, Gene Schaerr, PPSA general counsel, responded: “The government doesn’t want to even entertain our question. What do they have to hide?”
He added: “This troubling refusal gives all the more reason for Congress to pass the Fourth Amendment Is Not for Sale Act, which would ban such surveillance from purchased data. If Vice President Harris and Gov. DeSantis are potentially having their rights violated, imagine how little protection you and I have.”