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Ibrahim v. Department of Homeland Security

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

May 23, 2013

RAHINAH IBRAHIM, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO QUASH

WILLIAM ALSUP, District Judge.

Defendants move to quash the May 24 depositions of the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. The motion is GRANTED.

The instant discovery dispute involves both "sensitive security information" and "state secrets." It is unnecessary, however, to get into the details, so this order will remain at a high level and remain open to public view. This order pertains to state secrets. In brief, defendants invoked the state secrets privilege as a basis for withholding certain classified information from plaintiff and her counsel. Plaintiff moved to compel. A prior order granted the motion in part as to a few classified documents withheld by the government and otherwise denied the motion (Dkt. No. 464 (under seal)).

Plaintiff now seeks to depose Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. and the Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper - the two individuals who by law executed declarations asserting the state secrets privilege in this action. Plaintiff contends that these two individuals (Dkt. No. 480 at 1-3):

have placed their personal knowledge directly at issue in this case by declaring their personal knowledge regarding the state secrets privilege under penalty of perjury.
...
After review of documents produced by defendants, plaintiff has reason to believe that the state secrets doctrine has been improperly invoked.
...
[Plaintiff] requests that she be allowed to question Mr. Holder and Mr. Clapper regarding the fundamental basis for their assertion of privilege, namely the following:
(1) Which documents they reviewed to make their determination;
(2) With whom they spoke to make their determination;
(3) Any and all steps they took to determine that the privilege was properly invoked;
(4) The source of all information relied upon to assert the privilege;
(5) Their factual knowledge, if any, supporting any assertion that Ms. Ibrahim is a ...

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