Halloween Massacre 1975

Emma North-Best filed this request with the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America.
Tracking #


Est. Completion None
Awaiting Appeal


From: Emma North-Best

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

Records relating to or mentioning the "Halloween Massacre" of 1975 and it's impact. The Halloween Massacre of 1975 refers to President Ford's cabinet reorganization on November 4, 1975.

I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I have previously written about the government and its activities, with some reaching over 100,000 readers in outlets such as MuckRock, Motherboard, Property of the People, AND Magazine, Unicorn Riot, and more. 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 non-profits such as the library Internet Archive and and the journalist non-profit, MuckRock, 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 “frm” 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 my primary purpose is to inform about government activities by reporting on it and making the raw data available, I 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.


Emma Best

From: Central Intelligence Agency

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: Central Intelligence Agency

A no responsive documents response.

From: Emma North-Best

I am appealing the integrity of the search in its entirety, as even a cursory search of already declassified and released documents confirms the Agency's interest and even the most basic understanding of history shows that the Halloween Massacre included William Colby's firing and replacement by Ambassador (and future President) George H. W. Bush as Director of Central Intelligence, making the Agency's assertion that it can find no records prima facie absurd as clearly the firing and appointment of a new DCI would result in the generation of permanent Agency records. Any assertion to the contrary is the result of negligence or incompetence at best and outright malice and obstruction of the FOIA at worst.

From: Central Intelligence Agency

A letter stating that the request appeal has been received and is being processed.

From: Central Intelligence Agency

A letter stating that the request appeal has been succesful.

From: Emma North-Best

I am appealing the integrity of the search in its entirety, as it was not calculated to produce new records and only those already available. As it searched only the internal database of previously released records and it does not satisfy the terms of my FOIA. After four years and a successful appeal, I should not be required to submit yet another FOIA request to force the Agency to perform an actual, reasonably calculated search as required by law.

From: Central Intelligence Agency

The request has been forwarded from one agency to another agency or department for further review or follow up.