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Tag: FOIA

Journalist, Researcher Sue U.S. Spy Agencies for Records about Russian Hacking

foiaBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An investigative reporter and a researcher at Harvard have filed a open records lawsuit this week against the CIA, FBI, Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence for information about Russia interfering with the U.S. presidential election.

The suit was filed by investigative reporter Jason Leopold and Ryan Shapiro, a PhD candidate at MIT and researcher at Harvard, after the government agencies failed to provide records, Recode reports

The FOIA seeks information between Congress and the federal intelligence agencies and between the FBI and White House.

The CIA has expressed confidence that Russia interfered in the election in the months leading up to the November contest.

Recode reports:

The plaintiffs seek information about any ongoing investigation into ties between Donald Trump or anyone associated with his campaign and interference from the Russian government in the election. Leopold and Shapiro also asked for communications between Congress and the Republican and Democratic campaign committees, as well as Hillary Clinton’s campaign in reference to Russian involvement with the 2016 presidential race.

Vice News Files FOIA Suit Against FBI for Information about Clintons, Trump, Breitbart

foiaBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Vice News filed a FOIA lawsuit against the FBI, demanding records that may shed light on the bureau’s disclosures, actions and apparent leaks just days before the presidential election.

Vice News hopes to get a better understanding of the timing of the disclosures and apparent leaks that many observers believe helped Donald Trump win the election. 

The FOIA lawsuit demands the release of records about:

  • ŸŸAllegations of the FBI violating the Hatch Act by allegedly using its authority to influence the course of the 2016 U.S. presidential election
  • ŸŸInternal discontent at the FBI regarding the bureau’s Hillary Clinton investigations
  • ŸŸAll leaks of information by the FBI to the media and political operatives about FBI investigations of Clinton
  • All FBI communications with Breitbart News; Breitbart executive chairman Steve Bannon, who Trump named his chief strategist and White House counselor after Bannon served as his campaign CEO; former Trump campaign manager Corey R. Lewandowski, Fox News, and Fox News hosts Bret Baier and Sean Hannity; former New York City mayor and Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani; and Republican strategist and Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone
  • ŸŸWhite nationalist Richard Spencer, his National Policy Institute, and the “alt-right.”

The lawsuit “seeks public disclosure of specified government records to make sense of the pivotal role of the FBI, as well as of other agencies, in perhaps the most controversial presidential election in modern U.S. history,” says Vice’s complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by FOIA attorney Jeffrey Light.

“Despite subsequent disclosures of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, since its inception, the FBI staunchly maintained it was a purely apolitical entity,” the complaint notes. “However, numerous leading political and news media figures from across the political spectrum explicitly assert the FBI repeatedly and with significant impact affected the outcome of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.”

FBI May Have Been Investigating Donald Trump During the Campaign

Donald TrumpBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI may have been investigating Donald Trump before the November election, according to records obtained by Vice News. 

The news agency had filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents connected to comments made by Trump on the campaign trail.

In July, Trump urged Russia to track down “30,000 emails [from Hillary Clinton’s private email server] that are missing.” And in August, Trump made an incendiary comment that some interpreted to be the Republican calling for the assassination of opponent Hillary Clinton.

“The nature of your request implicates investigative records the FBI may or may not compile pursuant to its broad criminal and national security investigative missions and functions,” the bureau responded. “Accordingly, the FBI cannot confirm or deny the existence of any such records about your subject as the mere acknowledgment of such records existence or nonexistence would in and of itself trigger foreseeable harm to agency interests.”

Vice wrote:

This is what’s known as a Glomar response, a term that came into use after the CIA denied a reporter’s request in the 1970s for information about a CIA ship, the Glomar Explorer, designed to recover a sunken Russian submarine. The agency refused to either confirm or deny the ship’s existence.

The FBI’s response states that any records the FBI has must be withheld because disclosure would interfere with enforcement proceedings and disclose information vital for effective investigations. This response is highly suspicious.

Attorneys Sue FBI, Homeland Security for Surveillance Records of Black Lives Matter

Photo by Steve Neavling.

Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Homeland Security have been sued for documents on the agencies’ surveillance of Black Lives Matter protesters.

The suit was filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the Milton A.Cramer Center at Case Wester Reserve University School of Law, Salon reports. 

The human rights lawyers said the agencies have failed to release the documents of surveillance.

Federal surveillance of the movement began after Ferguson police killed Michael Brown. In July 2015, an Intercept report revealed that Homeland Security was collecting information on peaceful protests.

The new lawsuit allege police also used a “cell site simulator,” or a “Stingray,” to monitor the protests and individual activists.

Vice News Sues FBI, Secret Service for Details of Investigations into Donald Trump

donald trump rallyBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Vice News and an MIT doctoral student filed suit against the Secret Service on Tuesday in hopes of receiving documents about the agency’s investigation of Donald Trump and his campaign.

The news agency also filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the FBI after Trump made two inflammatory statements about Hillary Clinton.

In two separate statements, Trump appeared to suggest violence against Clinton for her position on gun control – one that the Republican candidate has mischaracterize as an attempt to abolish the Second Amendment.

Trump also called on Russia to leak hacked documents of Clinton’s emails.

Vice News wrote:

VICE News and Shapiro submitted a FOIA request to the Secret Service August 18 for records pertaining to its investigation of Trump’s statements, and sought expedited processing. We asked for “disclosure of any and all records that mention or refer to the matter” and “any records compiled as part of any investigation into the referenced matter.” The Secret Service didn’t even acknowledge the request.

Judge Orders State Department to Release Some Clinton E-Mails by Sept. 13

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The timing is bad for Hillary Clinton.

Under an order from a federal judge, the State Department must begin delivering a portion of the emails uncovered by the FBI during its investigation of Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server by Sept. 13, CNN reports. 

The conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch, is suing for the records.

But the judge only ordered the release of documents related to the Benghazi attacks, and it’s possible that none of those documents exists, the State Department said.

“As we have said, the department agreed to search the materials we received from the FBI in response to several pending (Freedom of Information Act) requests and, to the extent responsive records are identified, produce them,” State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said Thursday. “Using broad search terms, we have identified a number of documents potentially responsive to a Benghazi-related request. At this time, we have not confirmed that the documents are, in fact, responsive. We also have not determined if they involve Secretary Clinton.”

Stay-at-Home Mom Exposes Culture of Secret Service Corruption

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A stay-at-home home in Dallas forked over $100,000 in legal fees for thousands of Secret Service records that “expose a culture of corruption,” The Dallas Morning News reports. 

Malia Litman filed 89 request for records, and the information she received was shocking.

Here are some of the highlights, as reported by the Dallas Morning News:

  • A culture of “wheels up; rings off” meant even married agents could party on foreign trips.
  • Secret Service K-9 units brought their dogs into their hotel room, which the dogs trashed. The agents made payoffs so the incident wouldn’t be reported.
  • A agent who missed his flight later showed up drunk with two prostitutes. He was not disciplined.
  • Agents “engaged” with prostitutes in Amsterdam’s red-light district during an advance team trip.
  • A supervisor choked a female subordinate because she rejected his sexual advances.
  • A supervisor offered a subordinate a larger office in return for sex.

Records: IRS Officials Were Aware of Agents Targeting Conservative Groups

IRSBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two years before revealing the suspected scandal to Congress, several senior IRS officials knew that agents were targeting conservative groups, Fox News reports. 

One of those senior IRS official was Holly Paz, who “knew that agents were targeting conservative groups for special scrutiny as early as 2011.”

The IRS declined to comment.

The information was obtained by Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

The record show that Paz and other IRS officials were alerted in the spring and summer of 2011 thats agents were targeting Tea Party and conservative groups.

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