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Tag: public records

Judge: 17 Years Is Too Long to Wait for FBI Records under FOIA

judge and gavelBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A judge slammed the FBI for saying it would take 17 years to provide public records to a documentary film filmmaker.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler of Washington said the FBI’s insistence that it would take until 2034 to provide records about anti-war and civil rights activists in the 1960s and ’70s was unacceptable, Politico reports. 

The judge rejected the FBI’s proposed timeline, which is based on the bureau’s policy of release large record requests at a pace of 500 page a month. The bureau insisted that a quicker pace could shut down the FBI’s FOIA operation.

Documentarian Nina Seavy, who is 60, said she can’t wait 17 years to get about 110,000 page of records from the FBI.

Neither didn’t the judge.

“Neither proffered justification is persuasive,” the Clinton appointee wrote. “In the name of reducing its own administrative headaches, the FBI’s 500-page policy ensures that larger requests are subject to an interminable delay in being completed. Under the 500-page policy, requestors must wait 1 year for every 6,000 potentially responsive documents, and those who request tens of thousands of documents may wait decades.”

The judge also didn’t buy the argument that providing records at a pace faster than 500 pages a month would jeopardize smaller FOIA requests.

“If the FBI really wanted to demonstrate that processing larger FOIA requests would impact the processing of other requests there are numerous data points it could provide the Court,” Kessler said. “Instead, the limited data the FBI has provided suggests exactly the opposite.”

Scaramucci Calls on FBI to Investigate Leaks of Financial Records That Are Public

President Trump’s new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, via Twitter.

President Trump’s new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, is calling on the FBI to investigate who released his troubling financial disclosure forms.

Seemingly unaware that the forms are public records, which can be accessed here, Scaramucci claimed Wednesday night that the leaker committed a “felony.”

“In light of the leak of my financial disclosure info which is a felony. I will be contacting FBI and the Justice Department,” Scaramucci tweeted.

The tweet has since been deleted.

Scaramucci also tagged White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, with whom he has been feuding.

At 12:47 a.m. Thursday, Scaramucci denied claims that he wanted Priebus investigated by the FBI.

The disclosure form, which was reported by Politico and filed with the Office of Government Ethics, reveals that the Wall Street financier collected $4.9 million from Skybridge Capital, an investment firm he founded in 2005, between January 2016 and June 2017. His stake in the firm could lead to potential conflicts of interest.

Seattle Councilwoman Wants FBI, ATF Cameras Removed Because of Trump

Portland Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, via Wikipedia.

Portland Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Seattle councilwoman wants the FBI and ATF to remove cameras on city utility poles because of concerns with the Trump administration.

“I think it is totally unacceptable for the city of Seattle to be complicit in federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies surveilling Seattle’s public spaces,” Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant said, reports Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “As a sanctuary city, we should not be filming our general population and we certainly should not be sending that data to law enforcement agencies now being run by the Trump administration.”

The comments come after a U.S. District Court judge ruled last week that the city has no authority to release information about the cameras through public records requests.

Sewant is backing a proposal to require a warrant or council approval to erect cameras on the city’s utility poles.

FBI Demands Photo ID for Public Records Under New eFOIA Platform

fbi-logBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI launched a new online tool for Freedom of Information Act requests, but critics argue the disclosure requests have been made more difficult, Fed Scoop reports.

At issue are new conditions for requesting records, which include submitting a copy of a government-issued photo ID.

When the FBI launched their new eFOIA platform Monday, the bureau said the process of obtaining records would be streamlined.

Fed Scoop wrote:

However, listed in the terms are some new stipulations that have government transparency groups crying foul. For the FBI to consider a request, a photo of a government-issued ID has to be included with the request so that, according to the bureau, the FBI can be “confident in the identity of the requester.”

The bureau “just made that [requirement] up out of thin air,” Steven Aftergood, the director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy, told FedScoop. “The new FBI terms of service exceed what the law requires and allows.”

The ID requirement goes well beyond the directions listed in the Justice Department’s FOIA guide. That guide, even for filings that require a confirmation of identity — such as a request for the requestor’s own FBI file — states that a notarized declaration by the requestor is sufficient.

“The FOIA itself makes clear that it can be used by ‘any person’ who invokes its provisions,” Aftergood said. “One doesn’t even need to be a U.S. citizen. So there is no basis for the FBI to require a government-issued ID.”

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

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

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.”

Justice Department Accused of Keeping Public Records from Being Released

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

President Obama pledged to run a transparent administration that respects public access to records.

But an internal audit of the Justice Department recently found excessive secrecy, according to Slate.

The audit found “persistent misunderstanding and lack of knowledge of certain classification processes.”

For example, a review of documents found that information was marked as secret despite containing no classified information, Slate reported.