Transparency Group Sues for FBI Records on Russian Hacking

David Carillet/

The Electronic Privacy Information Center cites an “urgent public interest” in the records being released.

A government transparency group is suing the FBI to release records about its investigations into Russian cyber meddling in the 2016 election.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center’s lawsuit seeks internal memos, emails and other documents about FBI investigations into Russian-sponsored cyber breaches at the Democratic National Committee, the Republican National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as well as correspondence with other agencies regarding Russian election interference.

EPIC filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking the documents in December, which the FBI has not yet replied to, according to the lawsuit. If successful, the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, would compel the agency to comply with that request.

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The FOIA request does not directly seek records on possible FBI investigations into alleged contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, though records pertaining to such investigations could be included in interagency correspondence regarding the investigation, EPIC Senior Counsel Alan Butler told Nextgov.

FBI Director James Comey has declined to confirm or deny that such an investigation is ongoing.

The lawsuit comes as numerous congressional committees are planning investigations into the election season breaches.

Most notably, the Senate Intelligence Committee has pledged to review classified information underlying the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered the breaches and wanted to game the election in favor of President-elect Donald Trump.

“It is vitally important for the public to have access to information about how the federal agencies charged with protecting the U.S. from foreign cyberattacks responded to this threat,” EPIC President Marc Rotenberg said during a press conference announcing the lawsuit. “We believe the public has a right to know if their government is doing what is required to do to safeguard their democratic institutions.”