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November 2015
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How to Become a Bounty Hunter


Researcher Sues FBI for Long-Withheld Records About Ex-First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt/Wikimedia

Eleanor Roosevelt/Wikimedia

By Steve Neavling

A lot of secrecy still shrouds the FBI’s past obsession with former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. reports that the FBI has refused to disclose records detailing her trip to the Soviet Union in 1957 and 1958.

Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover believed Roosevelt was a Communist sympathizer.

Now a researcher with George Washington University is suing the FBI for the records under the Freedom of Information Act.

The files contain “charges against her for suspected Communist activities, threats to her life on the grounds of her disloyalty to the country, close monitoring of her activities and writings, and a record of possible insurrectionary groups that she may have influenced.”

Senators Work on Legislation to Require FBI to Disclose ‘All’ Records to Watchdogs

Sen. Grassley

Sen. Grassley

By Steve Neavling

Inspectors general are the watchdogs of federal agencies like the FBI, but they have been stymied by a bureau that has declined to turn over critical records during investigations.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Wednesday that the FBI is obligated to follow the law as he works on legislation that would require the bureau to cooperate with IGs, The Daily Caller reports. 

The legislation, which would ensure IGs have the right to access all federal records, comes after the FBI has delayed disclosing records of wiretaps and grand juries and occasionally even filtered the records.

“I think we need a more permanent solution, one that ensures IGs have access to the records they need to do their job, and I will work closely with Sen. Grassley to craft a legislative solution,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who is the committee’s ranking minority member.

Oscar-Winning Director Sues Justice Department for Public Records of Her Airport Datainments

Laura Poitras

Laura Poitras

By Steve Neavling

Oscar-winning Laura Poitras is suing the Justice Department and other federal agencies after they have denied her access to public records documenting the dozens of times she said she has been questioned and searched at airports, Variety reports. 

The “Citizenfour” director claims in the lawsuit that she has been detained every time she entered the country from 2006 to 2012 to work on her documentary.

Fed up with being targeted, she filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain records about those incidents.

She said that her requests have been virtually ignored.

Gawker Wins Lawsuit Against FBI for Records on Hulk Hogan’s Sex Tape

By Steve Neavling

The online news site Gawker won a lawsuit against the FBI to obtain evidence connected to an FBI investigation of Hulk Hogan’s sex tape.

The evidence has been important to Gawker since it was sued by Hogan for posting footage of a sex tape featuring the wrestler.

The FBI was investigating a Los Angeles attorney’s attempted sale of the Hogan video but has since closed the probe.

A federal judge in Florida said the bureau is required to turn over the records.

The FBI maintained the evidence was exempt from disclosure laws because it would invite the privacy rights of Hogan and his partner.

FBI, Marshals Service Bestowed ‘Black Hole Award’ for Refusing to Disclose Records

By Steve Neavling

It’s not an award to celebrate.

The Utah Headlines Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists bestowed the Black Hole Award to the U.S. Marshals Service and the FBI.

The Deseret News published a letter to the Attorney General from the journalist group.

The group explained that the agencies won the award for refusing to disclose any information about the April 21, 2014, shooting at a federal courthouse in Salt Lake City.

The shooting by a U.S. marshal killed defendant Siale Angilau, and the case was investigated by the FBI.

“Those few facts and that the Department of Justice elected not to prosecute the marshal comprise what we know,” the group wrote. “No one at the Marshals Service or the FBI will answer more questions. The Marshals Service has denied multiple requests made for documents under the Freedom of Information Act. A request to the FBI has been pending for a year.”

Judge: Homeland Security violated FOIA by Refusing to Respond to Request for Records

By Steve Neavling

The Homeland Security Department violated the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to disclose records about the telephone costs for immigrant detainees, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Chief Judge Marsha Penchman criticized the department for essentially ignoring a request from Prison Legal News, the Associated Press reports.

The judge said the department failed to respond within the required 20 days and even ignored a second request.

Under President Obama, federal agencies have been stubborn and reluctant to disclose records unless they are sued.

ACLU Sues Border Patrol for Records on Questionable ‘Roving Patrols’

istock photo

By Steve Neavling

The ACLU sued Border Patrol to get more insight into the use of “roving patrols,” Reuters reports.

The suit comes after the CBP ignored a July 2014 request under the Freedom of Information Act to release information on the patrols, which lead to people being stopped more than 100 miles from the Mexico border.

“The Border Patrol operates as a rogue agency, claiming extra-constitutional powers that extend far from any border, and operating with no effective oversight,” said Adrienna Wong, attorney with the ACLU Foundation of Southern California in a statement.

The request seeks records from the San Diego and El Centrol sectors. The ACLU wants to know how many people are stopped, what the policies are and what the complaints are.

“Roving patrols have long been associated with civil rights violations, and abuses are not limited to the Southwest, as prior FOIA lawsuits have shown,” the statement said.


Homeland Security Reaches Agreement with Washington Times After Improper Record Seizure

By Steve Neavling

Homeland Security reached a rare settlement with a newspaper after seizing a reporter’s notes and records from her home while executing a warrant for information on guns allegedly possessed by her husband, the Washington Times reports.

The agency agreed to reimburse some of the legal bills accred by the newspaper and the reporter, Audrey Hudson, whose home was raided in August 2013 and her notes and records on the problems inside the Federal Air Marshal Service seized.

“While the settlement payments cover just a fraction of the legal bills we accrued, the fight was, in the end, about protecting a journalist’s right to keep her sources confidential and to engage in the First Amendment protected activity of reporting without unwarranted government intrusion,” said Larry Beasley, the president and chief executive officer of The Times.

Hudson said she hopes the settlement puts an end to similar seizures.

“The importance of this case was that we just were not going to let it stand, the idea that federal officers at will could confiscate a reporter’s notes without any sort of subpoena or search warrant seeking the notes or even directed at the reporter,” Ms. Hudson said.

Homeland Security also returned documents and other notes to Hudson.

Homeland Security did not return calls from the Washington Times for comment.