National Security Experts Sue to Obtain Results of Intelligence Community Surveys on Politicization and Morale

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, on behalf of national security law experts and Lawfare writers-editors Benjamin Wittes and Scott R. Anderson, Protect Democracy filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Office of Director of National Intelligence for failing to produce annual surveys of the Intelligence Community on employee satisfaction and perceptions of politicization in intelligence analysis. The survey results, which have not been released for several years, would provide an important yardstick against which the American people can measure allegations that the Trump Administration is demoralizing the IC and is applying political pressure to make intelligence officials conform their analysis to the Administration’s preferred and predetermined narratives.

As Wittes and Anderson explained in a piece published on Lawfare earlier this year, politically motivated influence of IC assessments by the President or senior administration officials can dangerously distort national security policy decisions. Moreover, the Trump Administration’s pattern of denigrating the work of the IC threatens to depress morale, undermine operations, and hinder recruitment of the high-quality talent essential to fulfilling the IC mission.

Without access to the survey results, plaintiffs Wittes and Anderson, cannot fully examine and explain to the public the health and integrity of the IC and its intelligence assessments, upon which our national security depends.

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on July 23, 2020. Read the complaint here.

Read more at Lawfare.