The strange death, and even stranger life of “Cocaine Cowboy” Andrew Carter Thornton II

Andrew Carter Thornton II (ACT II) is a name unknown to most except as a piece of historical trivia - the man who fell from the sky in 1985 with millions of dollars of cocaine strapped to his body. To a few others, he’s one of the men tied to a drug operation that was fueling and fueled by government corruption, whose roots were traced as far as the Kentucky Governor’s mansion. But reality, revealed through his FBI file, is even stranger, tracing the corruption surrounding ACT II all the way back to the CIA.

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Soviet scientists joked that somebody had made a “political decision” to end UFO sightings in the USSR

Mostly redacted CIA records capture a rare Cold War commiseration between American and Soviet meteorologists over weather balloons being mistaken for aliens.

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Under Trump’s first 100 Days, FOIA a little slower while open data takes a hit

Since President Donald Trump took office, slow Freedom of Information Act processes have become even slower — although it is tough to determine what, if anything, that means.

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California Department of Justice spent nearly two million dollars on controversial facial recognition software

In responding to our records request California Department of Justice (CADOJ) has provided documents detailing their acquisition of an expansive and highly advanced facial recognition system. The $1.7 million tech can preform thousands of searches an hour, and appears to be fully integrated with a massive array of police databases.

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Rules governing confidential informants remain shrouded in secrecy

FOIA requests filed last year with various federal agencies for “guidelines and policies” for the use of confidential informants returned only one completed response and several rejection, making significant public accountability regarding the practice all but impossible.

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Projects See all

  • The Private Prison Project

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    • 42% funded
    • $4285.00 raised
    • 102 backers
    Despite what you've heard, for-profit detention continues to reap the rewards of an incarceration system filled to the brim and facing an uncertain future. Over the two years, 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.

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  • Subjects Matter: FBI Files

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    • 34% funded
    • $1725.00 raised
    • 12 backers
    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.

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  • Use of Force Policy Project

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    As part of our collaboration with Campaign Zero, MuckRock requested use of force policies from the largest police departments in the country.

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  • FOIA the Trump Administration

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    FOIA requests regarding the Trump administration and transition.

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