National Socialist Movement

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 # 1363742-000, DOJ-AP-2017-002457, DOJ-AP-2017-002597
Est. Completion None
Status
Fix Required

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 National Socialist Movement.

An organization that specializes in theatrical and provocative protests, the National Socialist Movement (NSM) is one of the largest and most prominent neo-Nazi groups in the United States. The group is notable for its violent anti-Jewish rhetoric, its racist views and its policy allowing members of other racist groups to join NSM while remaining members of other groups. Until 2007, NSM members protested in full Nazi uniforms, now traded in for black “Battle Dress Uniforms.”

The National Socialist Movement has its roots in the original American Nazi Party, which was founded in 1959 by former Navy Cmdr. George Lincoln Rockwell. Seven years after Rockwell was murdered by one of his followers in 1967, two of his chief lieutenants, Robert Brannen and Cliff Herrington, formed the National Socialist American Workers Freedom Movement in St. Paul, Minn. Leadership passed to Jeff Schoep in 1994, who renamed the group the National Socialist Movement.

The NSM is now the largest neo-Nazi organization in the country. The resurgence of the NSM began in 2004, in the wake of the deaths of the country’s two major neo-Nazi leaders, the National Alliance’s William Pierce (d. 2002) and the Aryan Nations’ Richard Butler (d. 2004). Also contributing to the vacuum in neo-Nazi leadership of the nation was the 2004 imprisonment of Matt Hale, the leader of the World Church of the Creator. Hale was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison for soliciting the murder of a federal judge.

Starting in 2004, the NSM began to overshadow all other American neo-Nazi groups, including two, White Revolution and National Vanguard, that emerged from the ashes of the National Alliance. The NSM made its presence felt through frequent theatrical street actions undertaken in Nazi garb. Unlike other neo-Nazi outfits, the NSM adopted an open-arms recruiting policy that allowed members of other white supremacist groups to participate in NSM actions and join the NSM.

Schoep was only 21 years old when he took control of the group in 1994, and his relatively young age has helped him attract a younger generation of neo-Nazis. In fact, under Schoep’s leadership, the NSM set up a unit specifically focused on recruiting teens that it called its Viking Youth Corps. It also launched a Women’s Division and a Skinhead Division. It bolstered its online presence with a revamped website featuring the group’s newsletter, downloadable leaflets for printing and distribution, and field reports from NSM chapters around the country. The group created its own hate rock music label, NSM88 Records, and in April 2007 purchased the now-popular white supremacist social networking site New Saxon.

NSM ideology mirrors that of the original American Nazi Party. The group openly idolizes Adolf Hitler, described in NSM propaganda as, “Our Fuhrer, the beloved Holy Father of our age … a visionary in every respect.” NSM says only heterosexual “pure-blood whites” should be allowed U.S. citizenship and that all nonwhites should be deported, regardless of legal status. As Schoep put it: “The Constitution was written by white men alone. Therefore, it was intended for whites alone.”

The NSM is probably best known for carefully staged protests, carried out in full-blown Nazi uniforms and swastika armbands, that have managed to win substantial news coverage for the group. The best example of the NSM’s provocative rallies came on Dec. 10, 2005, when the group made international news after a planned march through a black neighborhood in Toledo, Ohio, sparked rioting by residents and counter-protesters. The riots cost the city more than $336,000, though the NSM members escaped the violence and were not liable for any of the destruction. “The Negro beasts proved our point for us,” Schoep crowed after the rally.

Subjected for years to movement ridicule for their brown-shirt outfits — the late National Alliance leader William Pierce called them “Hollywood Nazis” — NSM national and state chapter leaders voted at the group’s national congress in April 2007 to switch to “more militant looking” black battle dress uniforms (BDUs).

The NSM has had its share of movement scandal. In July 2006, it was rocked by revelations that co-founder and chairman emeritus Cliff Herrington’s wife was the “High Priestess” of the Joy of Satan Ministry, and that her satanic church shared an address with the Tulsa, Okla., NSM chapter. The exposure of Herrington’s wife’s Satanist connections caused quite a stir, particularly among those NSM members who adhered to a racist (and heretical) variant of Christianity, Christian Identity. Before the dust settled, both Herringtons were forced out of NSM. Bill White, the neo-Nazi group’s energetic spokesman, also quit, taking several NSM officials with him to create a new group, the American National Socialist Workers Party.

In December 2006, “Wild” Bill Hoff, one of the NSM’s oldest and best-known members and a “colonel” in the group, died in a car accident at the age of 71. This was particularly notable because Hoff’s anti-racist brother decided four months after the death to reveal a remarkable fact — Hoff, along with other members of his family, had black ancestors, a dreadful secret in the world of neo-Nazism.

Another embarrassment was in store for the NSM. In late 2006, Schoep and World Knights of the Ku Klux Klan leader Gordon Young announced with great fanfare that Young was quitting the Klan to become the NSM’s Maryland leader. But that went south in January 2007, when Young was charged with sexually assaulting a young girl. He was acquitted, but not before embarrassing Schoep. In late 2010, Young left the NSM with half a dozen other members.

Jeff Schoep’s personal life has been the source of other movement criticism as well. In April 2010, John Taylor Bowles, who was the NSM’s 2008 presidential candidate, alleged on his blog that Schoep was a race traitor because he had married a woman with a mixed-race child from a previous marriage. (Schoep had left his previous girlfriend in Minnesota and moved to Detroit to be with his new lover. In 1998, he was arrested with the previous girlfriend while aiding a burglary; at the time, the couple’s children were left waiting in a getaway car.)

Despite these embarrassments, the NSM remained the largest neo-Nazi group in the United States. By 2009, the NSM had 61 chapters in 35 states, making it the largest neo-Nazi group in the country.

A growing number of the NSM’s protests have targeted immigrants recently. On June 19, 2010, NSM members J.T. Ready, Jeff Hall and about eight other individuals (some of whom were not NSM members) congregated in Arizona’s Vekol Valley. Hall described the goal of their operation as to “fight the [Mexican drug] cartels and reclaim the land.” Armed with pistols and high-powered rifles, the group led patrols through the desert and “secured” an abandoned building. They claimed to have apprehended three illegal immigrants attempting a border crossing, although this has not been independently confirmed.

On May 1, 2011, the 10-year-old son of Hall, who was serving as the NSM's southwest regional leader, was arrested for allegedly shooting his neo-Nazi father to death. According to The Associated Press and an L.A. Times story that cited court documents and police reports, the boy apparently had been pushed to the breaking point by his father's abuse of him and his stepmother and was also frightened that he'd have to choose between them if his father's behavior led to a divorce.

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, 214 and 266 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 afternoon,

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<http://www.fbi.gov>/ or http://www.fbi.gov/foia/<http://www.fbi.goiv/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
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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.

I am also appealing the decision to make me "all other" again. I am a member of the news media, as acknowledged by the agency multiple times. Per case law and statute, there is NO room for interpretation here. Per my original request: 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.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: Michael Best

I am appealing the integrity of the search. I specifically requested 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, 214 and 266 files.

Further, I specifically requested that "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."

None of these standards were met.

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

02/22/2017 04:44 PM FOIA Request: DOJ-AP-2017-002457

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

02/28/2017 01:59 PM FOIA Request: DOJ-AP-2017-002597

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

DOJ-AP-2017-002597 has been processed with the following final disposition: Affirmed on Appeal -- Records not reasonably described.

  • Best, Michael FBI 17-002597 (4-10-17) affirm.modified.unduly.burdensom

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

DOJ-AP-2017-002457 has been processed with the following final disposition: Closed for other reasons -- Other -- Moot.

From: OIP-NoReply

Best, Michael 17-002457 FBI enclosure for requester

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