Former Trump official sues the NSA and DOD

Breitbart News just published an exclusive report indicating that a former Trump administration official has just brought a lawsuit against the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of Defense (DOD), and the DOD Office of the Inspector General (OIG). 

The official is Michael Ellis, a Navy reservist and Yale Law School graduate who was selected by the Trump administration to serve in various roles at the NSA.

Ellis is suing these three agencies for their failure to respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act requests in time.

In order to understand Ellis’s lawsuit, some background information is required.

Background

In November 2020, Ellis was named the general counsel of the NSA.

In order to be selected for this role, Ellis had to go through a civil service selection process because this position – general counsel of the NSA – is a federal civil service. One of the significant things about this process is that it would have allowed Ellis to remain in this position when the Biden administration took over.

Many, however – despite the civil service vetting process – opposed Ellis’s appointment. Congressional Democrats pushed for Ellis to be investigated. Ellis was prevented from immediately assuming the general counsel position in the NSA.

Then, just after President Joe Biden took office, NSA Director Gen. Paul Nakasone placed Ellis on indefinite administrative leave. This, ostensibly, was to allow a DOD OIG investigation into Ellis to conclude.

With not much happening, Ellis decided to resign from his NSA position. Then, the DOD OIG investigation of him found that the Democrats were wrong: there was no improper political influence in selecting Ellis to be NSA general counsel – and so, Nakasone’s placing of Ellis on indefinite administrative leave was improper.

The lawsuit

After the findings of the DOD OIG investigation were released, Ellis filed several FOIA requests regarding Nanasone’s decision to place him on indefinite administrative leave.

Breitbart reports:

Ellis later submitted several FOIA requests regarding Nakasone putting him on indefinite administrative leave, including one to the DOD OIG on August 4, 2022, and to the DOD and the NSA on November 7, 2022, but he has not received a substantive response from the DOD OIG and has not received any response from the DOD or the NSA.

It is for this reason that Ellis has filed the lawsuit.

Ellis wants to get his hands on these documents to see whether Nanasone’s decision had a political motivation.

The government has yet to respond to Ellis’s lawsuit.