by Andrew Kreig

A prominent researcher on secrets remaining from the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy argued Feb. 25 in federal court for legal fees required to win his 2003 request to the CIA for documents under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Jefferson Morley, an author and blogger at Salon and the website JFK Facts, asked three federal appeals court judges in Washington, DC to overturn a lower court ruling that blocked compensation. The judge and the CIA argued that the CIA documents were neither new nor important. Morley countered by noting the number of news articles based on the disclosures, including a New York Times article in 2009.

The appellate panel reserved decision. The case is yet-another test of whether agencies can grind down researchers in near-endless and expensive litigation despite congressional intent with the 1974 FOIA to open public records under reasonable conditions.

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