The opinion of the court was delivered by: HURD
MEMORANDUM-DECISION and ORDER
The plaintiffs have moved for an order directing the defendant to provide their attorneys with an index of withheld documents and portions of documents at issue pursuant to Vaughn v. Rosen, 157 U.S. App. D.C. 340, 484 F.2d 820 (D.C. Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 415 U.S. 977, 39 L. Ed. 2d 873, 94 S. Ct. 1564 (1974)("Vaughn Index"). The defendant has opposed the motion and filed a cross-motion for a protective order and to stay discovery pending the filing of a summary judgment motion. In a reply, the plaintiff opposed the cross-motion. Oral argument was heard on June 11, 1998, in Utica, New York, and decision was reserved.
Plaintiffs Susan Long ("Long") and David Burnham are co-directors of the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse ("TRAC"). TRAC is a nonprofit research organization affiliated with Syracuse University. Its mission is to compile and disseminate comprehensive information about the functioning of federal enforcement and regulatory agencies. Plaintiffs claim a statutory right to information under the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") 5 U.S.C. § 552.
A. FOIA Request to Western Kentucky
Around November 18, 1996, Michael Troop ("Troop"), United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, criticized TRAC's data related to the handling of referrals from the Drug Enforcement Administration by his office. On November 27, 1996, Long submitted a FOIA request for records to Troop. The U.S. Attorney responded on November 29, 1996, stating that all requests for Department of Justice ("DOJ") information must go through the Executive Office of the United States Attorney FOIA Unit ("EOUSA") in Washington, D.C. On December 9, 1996, Long repeated her request to the Western District of Kentucky and sent an identical FOIA request to EOUSA. On May 21, 1997, EOUSA responded to Long's request by releasing two pages and asserting that the release was a full response to Long's FOIA request. Long telephoned EOUSA because the May 21 response did not fully respond to the November 27 request. During the month of June 1997, six months after the FOIA request, computer tapes containing data from the office computer system were destroyed during a "massive shredding."
On June 17, 1997, EOUSA supplemented its response to Long's FOIA request by releasing three additional records consisting of eighty pages. EOUSA refused to release any additional responsive records citing the exceptions from disclosure under FOIA, 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(3), (b)(7)(A), (b)(7)(C), and Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e) which governs the disclosure and recording of grand jury proceedings.
On July 14, 1997, Long sent a letter appealing the determination made by EOUSA. By letter dated November 9, 1997, plaintiffs asked EOUSA to confirm that the FOIA request was processed in accordance with the requirements of the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996, 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(3)(B)-(D). By letter dated November 19, 1997, EOUSA confirmed that it had been implementing the Electronic FOIA Amendments when it responded to Long's FOIA request.
B. FOIA Request to Minnesota
On August 6, 1997, Long submitted a request to the United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota and EOUSA for nine categories of records concerning that office's computerized record-keeping systems for law enforcement data.
On November 6, 1997, EOUSA responded by releasing five pages in full, withholding one page in full, and withholding three pages in part, on the ground that the withheld pages were protected pursuant to the deliberative process privilege and the law enforcement exemption of FOIA. 5 U.S.C. § 552 (b)(5), (b)(7)(C).