Attorney targets CIA in his war on secrecy: Lawyer seeks release of protest photos

Posted by Leslie Pickering on

By Phil Fairbanks | The Buffalo News | December 22, 2013
Re-posted from:

Michael Kuzma’s war on secrecy has a new target – the CIA.

Kuzma, who has become known for a series of freedom of information suits against the FBI and other federal agencies, is now suing the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Buffalo attorney, as part of a new civil suit filed here, is seeking a series of photos he claims were taken by the CIA when he and others protested outside its headquarters four years ago.

“They exist,” he said after filing his suit in federal court. “There’s no doubt about it.”

Kuzma is asking a federal judge to order the CIA to release the photos and any other records the agency may have regarding his participation in the January 2010 protest at Langley, Va.

The protest, which featured anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, was designed to oppose the use of unmanned drone aircraft in the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The suit, filed by Buffalo attorney Daire Brian Irwin, documents Kuzma’s efforts to get the photos through the Freedom of Information Law.

The CIA claims that it could not locate any photos but, as it often does, also noted that the agency could “neither confirm nor deny” the existence of any relevant records that might be considered classified by the agency.

“This goes back to the ’70s,” Irwin said of the government’s monitoring of anti-war groups during the Vietnam War. “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.”

Kuzma’s suit against the CIA came just six months after he filed a freedom of information suit against the FBI on behalf of Leslie Pickering, a former spokesman for the press office of the Earth Liberation Front, a radical environmental group.

Pickering knows the FBI is watching him but says he wants to know how and whether others have been targeted.

Kuzma also is working with Irwin on a federal freedom of information suit brought by members of Occupy Buffalo.

The group is seeking information documenting the extent of the government’s surveillance of the protest group.