WASHINGTON (CN) — The FBI and CIA blew off a reporter’s request to fast-track his FOIA demand for intelligence agencies’ communications with members of the Electoral College about Russian interference with the recent presidential election, the reporter claims in court.
Jason Leopold, a frequent flyer in Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, sought the information from the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the Officer of the Director of National Intelligence on Dec. 14, he says in a Dec. 26 lawsuit in Federal Court.
Leopold and co-plaintiff Ryan Noah Shapiro, a Ph.D. candidate at MIT, requested a long list of documents, including communications between the intelligence agencies and members of Congress or of the Electoral College, information about well-known hackers such as Guccifer 2.0, and attempts to gain access to the computer systems of the Republican and Democratic National Committees.
They also asked for any communications between FBI Director James Comey and the White House on whether the administration should publicly accuse Russia of hacking political groups before the election.
One day later they filed a similar request with the CIA, seeking intelligence assessments and internal communications about Russian interference. They asked for expedited processing on all requests, but have yet to hear back from any of the agencies.
The Obama administration said before the election that there was evidence Russia tried to influence the race by hacking into computers of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, and releasing information gained.
U.S. intelligence agencies have reached consensus that Russia intended to help Donald Trump win the election — a conclusion Trump disputes.
According to the 6-page FOIA complaint, Leopold believes there may have been “a request by members of the Electoral College to receive information and briefing as to any ongoing investigations into ties between Donald Trump, his campaign or associates, and Russian government interference in the election, the scope of those investigations, how far those investigations may have reached, and who was involved in those investigations.”
A bipartisan group of senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have said they support a congressional investigation into Russian attempts to influence the election. Trump calls it an attempt from liberals to delegitimize his presidency.
Leopold, a reporter for Vice News who has written widely about national security for a number of mainstream newspapers, including The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times, wants to see the documents.
He is represented by Jeffrey Light.