National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

Court denies fee award in JFK assassination records suit

From Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press:

A U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. ruled that a journalist who sued the CIA under the federal Freedom of Information Act to release certain John F. Kennedy assassination records was not entitled to attorney’s fees.

In his ruling last week, District Judge Richard Leon denied Jefferson Morley attorney’s fees following eight years of FOIA litigation, finding that the suit had been pursued in Morley’s own interests rather than the public’s, and that the CIA had acted reasonably in withholding some of the records. The court rejected Morley’s arguments that the litigation had exposed new facts important to the public’s understanding of the assassination, and that the CIA had engaged in “dilatory” and “delaying” tactics in withholding the records.

Morley, an author and the Washington editor of, filed the FOIA request in 2003, seeking records related to a CIA operations officer for a book he is writing about “what the assassination looked like through the eyes of the CIA.”

The CIA released some of the records to Morley, and withheld some under various FOIA exemptions…