A federal judge has refused to order the U.S. Department of State to turn over documents sought by a New York attorney who was fired after he accused the Moscow-based organization for which he worked as general counsel of frittering away millions of dollars in aid from U.S. government agencies.

After Paul Backer, former chief legal officer of the International Science and Technology Center in Moscow, brought an action to force the State Department to hand over documents relating to his termination, the federal government argued that the suit should be dismissed on sovereign immunity grounds.