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Judge rules against Center for Public Integrity in cybersecurity lawsuit

“We vehemently disagree that the study should be withheld in its entirety,” Center for Public Integrity Chief Executive Officer John Dunbar said. “Doing so does the public a disservice given longstanding concerns over whether the FEC — an agency created by Congress to foster governmental transparency — is properly securing itself against external threats.”

In its lawsuit and the requests for the security study that preceded it, the Center noted that it had no quarrel with the FEC redacting sensitive passages that, if revealed, could compromise agency security.

The Center for Public Integrity is reviewing its options, including whether to appeal the decision last week from U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta.

The FEC successfully argued that the security study is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act because its release “would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions.” Such disclosure, the agency continued, “could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law.”

The FEC also argued that the study is exempt from disclosure because it consists of recommendations to the agency and, according to the agency, the factual descriptions in the study could not be separated from the recommendations.

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