A federal appeals court has refused to force the US National Security Agency to explain any involvement it has had with Web giant Google, citing that a revelation could threaten the entire United States government.
Friday’s decision out of US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reinforced a lower court’s earlier ruling that the NSA does not have to submit to Freedom of Information Act requests for materials involving any relationship that the federal agency has with the Google search engine and its related entities, such as Gmail.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC, took the matters to the appeals court after their February 2010 FOIA requests were ignored by the federal agency. Last July, EPIC brought the NSA to US District Court to demand for evidence, to which Judge Richard Leon opted to side with the government’s security team. On their part, EPIC had insisted that the NSA’s refusal to acknowledge if any ties even existed between the agency and Google was insufficient, and that the NSA should be forced to at least acknowledge any relationship between the two before fighting off the FOIA requests.
In legal fields, the NSA’s claim that they could not confirm nor deny any existence of ties is called a Glomar response. EPIC argued that that would not suffice as far as even remotely fulfilling their requests.
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