The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press reports that a federal appeals court on Monday upheld a lower court's denial, on privacy grounds, of the Associated Press's request to the Justice Department under the Freedom of Information Act for a copy of the request by John Walker Lindh, a Marin County native serving a 20-year term for his activity in the Taliban, to reduce his prison sentence.

In a footnote, the court explained that the AP tried to negotiate with Lindh for redacted copies of the documents, to protect his privacy, but those negotiations failed because the news service wanted more than Lindh would provide.

That failure was telling, the court reasoned: “Because AP is unsatisfied with Lindh’s offer to release the petition redacted only to the extent necessary to protect his personal privacy and safety, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that AP seeks release of purely private information.”