In September 1979, respondent Washington Post Co. filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U. S. C. § 552, requesting certain documents from petitioner United States Department of State. The subject of the request was defined as "documents indicating whether Dr. Ali Behzadnia and Dr. Ibrahim Yazdi . . . hold valid U. S. passports." App. 8. The request indicated that respondent would "accept any record held by the Passport Office indicating whether either of these persons is an American citizen." Ibid. At the time of the request, both Behzadnia and Yazdi were Iranian nationals living in Iran.

READ MORE