Church of the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan

Emma Best filed this request with the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America.

It is a clone of this request.

Tracking # 1363925-000
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Michael Best

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

Records relating to or mentioning the Church of the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Once one of the largest and most active Klan groups in America, the Church of the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan has more recently gained a kind of "Keystone Kops" reputation on the white supremacist scene for its bumbling ways.

The National Knights of the Klu Klux Klan formed in 1960 as a response to the growing civil rights movement. Originally a collection of splintered Klan groups from several southern states, this loose confederation quickly grew into one of the largest Klan groups in the nation. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the National Knights coordinated a series of cross burnings across the South (reportedly more than 1,000) on March 26, 1960, and claimed between 10,000 and 15,000 members.

From 1963 until his death in 1993, James R. Venable served as the imperial wizard, or national leader, of the National Knights. A Georgia lawyer whose ancestors owned the legendary Stone Mountain near Atlanta — the site of the 1915 rally that inaugurated the so-called "second era" Klan — Venable used the mountaintop and nearby family land for annual rallies that drew members from the National Knights but also other Klan factions. In 1993, the year he died, Venable appointed Railton Loy, a former railroad worker who goes by the Klan name Ray Larsen, to take over as the next imperial wizard. Under Loy's leadership, the National Knights continued to hold rallies at the group's new headquarters outside of South Bend, Ind. But unlike in the past, attendance at these events was sparse. Just 35 supporters showed up for a May 5, 2001, rally, for instance, while over 200 people attended a nearby counter-protest, according to the South Bend Tribune.

Even worse than the low turnouts, these events often proved embarrassing for National Knights, leading to tangles with the law. After the 2001 rally was over, as police escorted the Klan members to their cars and away from the counter-protesters, Klansmen could not remember where they parked. In the confusion, a fight with counter-protesters began that resulted in eight arrests, including that of Loy's son, Grand Dragon (or state leader) Richard Loy. It didn't stop there. Local newspaper coverage of the rally used the elder Loy's real name instead of his preferred alias, Ray Larsen. After Loy allegedly called a reporter, demanding that she use his alias and asking where she lived, he was charged with misdemeanor telephone harassment. Then, the next month, two sheriff's deputies in Williamson County, Texas, were fired after they tried to recruit a fellow officer with an application touting "White Supremacy." Dept. David Gay, 44, and Sgt. Greg Palm, 29, had both worked for the sheriff's office for more than four years.

The National Knights really lived up to their "Keystone Kops" reputation when Railton and Richard Loy hosted what was widely billed as a "Christmas unity rally" on Dec. 8, 2002, at the younger Loy's Osceola, Ind., farm. They hoped to bring together various factions of the contentious world of professional racists, and indeed, they drew members of two far larger groups — the American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nations, which sent its then-propaganda chief, August Kreis. Close to 50 people gathered for the Saturday afternoon dinner and cross burning. As hungry racists filed into the shed where food was being served, it quickly became apparent that the Loys had forgotten a critical fact: Large numbers of Klansmen are followers of Christian Identity, a racist and anti-Semitic theology that holds that Jews are biologically Satanic and whites are the true Israelites — meaning, according to Identity adherents' reading of the Bible, that whites can't eat pork. When guest Klansmen strolled into the shed and were confronted by a dead pig that by all accounts was barely cooked, several Klansmen and Aryan Nations members recoiled with horror.

The situation became even more ridiculous. As the gathered haters circulated and clucked about the culinary faux pas — and while a red-suited "Klanta Klaus" worked the crowd nearby — some got to wondering why Rick Loy had a badly swollen lip and two missing front teeth. Soon enough, the story came out, provoking a fresh round of mirth. After being presented with a riot shield that was alleged to be bulletproof, Loy had apparently decided to put the matter to a test, firing a round into the shield at close range. Unsurprisingly, the bullet ricocheted off the shield — which stood up to the tryout admirably — and hit Loy in the mouth.

Things got worse still. As the climactic moment of the afternoon arrived, Klansmen struggled to set up a giant swastika to burn. It collapsed on the ground. Finally, the Nazi symbol was burned where it lay. Then it was time for the cross. It quickly became apparent that it wasn't going to be possible to get the cross upright for burning — at least not the way it had been constructed. In the end, someone had the bright idea of sawing about 12 feet off the wooden cross' bottom, after which it, too, was finally lit. Not long afterward, the rally then came to an end, and its embarrassed participants headed for home.

Despite its sometimes comical stumbles, the National Knights remains a potentially violent and dangerous group. This fact became obvious on Jan. 1, 2003, when Glen Gautier, a member of the National Knights, confessed to authorities his role in the brutal murder of another Klan member. By his own account, Gautier, who was 50 at the time, had carried out the killing with three other members of two separate but allied Klan chapters, or "klaverns," that roamed the backwoods of semi-rural central North Carolina in 2001, stealing guns, making bombs, plotting murders, and carrying out at least one. His confession triggered parallel state murder and federal gunrunning cases, which have since dragged on for years. In the end, two members of the National Knights pleaded guilty in 2006 to charges in connection with a plot to blow up the Johnston County, N.C., courthouse and kill Sheriff Steve Bizzell, and were sentenced to a year in federal prison after cooperating with authorities. Two months later, in December, a judge found Klan boss and alleged ringleader Charles Barefoot incompetent to stand trial for orchestrating the murder of a fellow Klansman suspected of informing to police.

Please conduct a search of the Central Records System, including but not limited to the Electronic Surveillance (ELSUR) Indices, the Microphone Surveillance (MISUR) Indices, the Physical Surveillance (FISUR) Indices, and the Technical Surveillance (TESUR) Indices, for both main-file records and cross-reference records of both HQ and all field offices for all relevant names, agencies, organizations, companies and events including but not limited to those cited in the previous paragraphs and/or links as well as a cross-reference with the Southern Poverty Law Center to include any information provided by the SPLC. My request includes but is not limited to 137, 157, 176, 177, 183, 184, 188, and 214 files. If previously released records are available, then I request a rolling release consisting of those records while additional records are located and processed for release.

I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I have previously written about the government and its activities for AND Magazine, MuckRock and Glomar Disclosure and have an open arrangement with each. My articles have been widely read, with some reaching over 100,000 readers. As such, as I have a reasonable expectation of publication and my editorial and writing skills are well established. In addition, I discuss and comment on the files online and make them available through the non-profit Internet Archive, disseminating them to a large audience. While my research is not limited to this, a great deal of it, including this, focuses on the activities and attitudes of the government itself. As such, it is not necessary for me to demonstrate the relevance of this particular subject in advance. Additionally, case law states that “proof of the ability to disseminate the released information to a broad cross-section of the public is not required.” Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Dep’t of Justice, 365 F.3d 1108, 1126 (D.C. Cir. 2004); see Carney v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 19 F.3d 807, 814-15 (2d Cir. 1994). Further, courts have held that "qualified because it also had “firm” plans to “publish a number of . . . ‘document sets’” concerning United States foreign and national security policy." Under this criteria, as well, I qualify as a member of the news media. Additionally, courts have held that the news media status "focuses on the nature of the requester, not its request. The provision requires that the request be “made by” a representative of the news media. Id. § 552(a)(4)(A)(ii)(II). A newspaper reporter, for example, is a representative of the news media regardless of how much interest there is in the story for which he or she is requesting information." As such, the details of the request itself are moot for the purposes of determining the appropriate fee category. As such, my primary purpose is to inform about government activities by reporting on it and making the raw data available and I therefore request that fees be waived.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Michael Best

From: FOIPARequest

Good morning,

The FBI has received your Freedom of Information Act/Privacy (FOIPA) request and it will be forwarded to Initial Processing for review. Your request will be processed under the provisions of FOIPA and a response will be mailed to you at a later date.

Requests for fee waivers and expedited processing will be addressed once your request has been assigned an FOIPA request number. You will receive written notification of the FBI’s decision.

Information regarding the Freedom of Information Act/Privacy is available at http://www.fbi.gov/ or http://www.fbi.gov/foia/. If you require additional assistance please contact the Public Information Officer.

Thank you,

Holly Early
Government Information Specialist
Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS)
FBI-Records Management Division
170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
PIO: (540) 868-4593
Direct: (540) 868-4854
Fax: (540) 868-4391/4997
E-mail: foiparequest@ic.fbi.gov<mailto:foiparequest@ic.fbi.gov>
Questions E-mail: foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov<mailto:foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov>

Do you have further questions about the FOI/PA process? Visit us at http://www.fbi.gov/foia

Please check the status of your request online at https://vault.fbi.gov/fdps-1/@@search-fdps. Status updates are performed on a weekly basis.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: Michael Best

I am appealing the decision to not perform the cross-reference searches and field office searches explicitly requested.

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

02/15/2017 10:12 AM FOIA Request: DOJ-AP-2017-002308

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

DOJ-AP-2017-002308 has been processed with the following final disposition: Closed for other reasons -- Other -- No Component Response to Adjudicate.

  • Best, Michael, DOJ-AP-2017-002308, FBI, close search not ripe

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

Files

pages

Close
Warning An exclamation point.

There are too many files to display on the request page. See all files.