It’s easy to focus on the challenges of public records, but behind every successful request is somebody who helped fulfill it - often with very few resources, a challenging balance of priorities, and a desire to help share their work with the public. Here are the agencies that MuckRock users and readers were particularly thankful for this year.
Read our weekly series looking at the stories public records made possible before its removed by court order.
The man who would climb the ranks of United States Intelligence, from his World War Two stint in the Office of Strategic Services to his post as Director of Central Intelligence for CIA to his appointment as ambassador to Iran, is remembered by the public for his secrecy, his lies, and his commitment to the cloak-and-dagger code of his agency - none of which, of course, appear (at least in the negative) in Helms’s FBI file.
Whether you find yourself venturing forth or just want to bone up on your hobo history, the NSA has a surprisingly thorough guide to all the pictographs used by those relying on the kindness of strangers during the Great Depression.
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Over the past year, our FOIA requests have released thousands of documents that show how for-profit prisons have leveraged the legal system to their advantage, letting companies pick-and-choose inmates to off-load costs, ignore complaints and concerns, and create dangerous conditions for prisoners and staff alike. This is all done while billions of taxpayer dollars are funneled into these private companies, which then pour millions into politicians' campaigns to keep their growth going. With your help, we can provide needed scrutiny of an industry few are even aware exists.
- 34% funded
- $1725.00 raised
- 12 backers
- 3 weeks remaining
From Abbie Hoffman to Malcolm X, Ol' Dirty Bastard to the Insane Clown Posse, FBI files read like a veritable Who's Who of the 20th Century. This project aims to sift through the hundreds of thousands of agency archival material we've managed to get released, so we can better understand why the Bureau had an eye on these people - and through that, better understand who they're keeping tabs on today.
What started out as an attempt to answer a (seemingly) simple question - what is the oldest computer still in use by a government agency - has seen spiraled into a project that touches on issues of national security, record keeping, and finally finding out whatever happened to Zeos.