National Vanguard

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 # 1363789-000, DOJ-AP-2017-001866
Due Jan. 25, 2017
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Response

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 Vanguard. Formed in 2005 by longtime activist Kevin Strom, National Vanguard was a breakaway group from the neo-Nazi National Alliance, the most dominant neo-Nazi group from the 1970s until 2002, when its founder died. National Vanguard was increasing its membership and its prestige in white supremacist circles before the arrest and imprisonment of its leader, Kevin Strom, in 2007 for child pornography and witness tampering, after which the group fell apart.

National Vanguard (NV) was the creation of Kevin Alfred Strom, a 20-year veteran of the white supremacist movement. Strom had long played a key but subservient role to William Pierce, founder of the National Alliance — until recently the most important neo-Nazi group in the country — and then to Erich Gliebe, who was anointed over Strom as Pierce's successor. The elevation of Gliebe came even though it was Strom, not Gliebe, who had created and hosted the Alliance's well-known weekly radio show, "American Dissident Voices"; Strom who convinced Pierce to venture into the white power music business; and Strom who edited the Alliance's flagship publication, National Vanguard, in his role as the group's second in-house "intellectual," after Pierce.

In the spring of 2005, Strom and other disgruntled Alliance principals were summarily expelled from that group after they tried but failed to overthrow or curtail the power of the Alliance's current leaders. Almost immediately after he was ejected, Strom formed National Vanguard, lifting the name from the Alliance magazine he had edited for years and taking hundreds of other Alliance members with him. The Alliance's old Tampa, Fla., unit, which converted en masse into an NV chapter loyal to Strom, organized a Summer Solstice Festival that same year.

In its first three months, NV set up 15 chapters, even as the Alliance's membership rolls continued to decline. Strom received clear support from other movement leaders, including leading white supremacists David Duke and Don Black, operator of the infamous Stormfront.org hate site. NV units from Boston to Denver rented billboards and bombarded Internet message boards with propaganda, winning both attention and publicity. Disillusioned and angry over Gliebe's perceived failures as a chairman, several Alliance unit coordinators defected to NV with their entire chapters. High-profile former Alliance member April Gaede, whose young twin daughters were then a popular act in white power music, also signed on with Strom. Performing white supremacist folk songs under the name Prussian Blue, Gaede's daughters Lynx and Lamb shared a stage with Strom at the Tampa gathering.

Though his critics lampooned his supposedly feminine mannerisms by nicknaming him "Weenie," Strom's intellectual persona gave him a veneer of respectability that stood in sharp contrast to the thuggish image of most of the white supremacist world. But then something unexpected — and, for a time, unexplained — happened. In July 2006, Strom abruptly announced he was taking a leave of absence as chief of National Vanguard because of "family and health matters." He acknowledged having "made mistakes, some of them serious ones," but didn't elaborate.

Strom's public woes began on Jan. 4, 2007, when federal agents arrested him near his home in Stanardsville, Va (where he had moved from Charlottesville after separating from his wife, Elisha). He was charged with possessing and receiving child pornography, enticing a minor to perform sex acts and intimidating a witness, sending shock waves through the white supremacist world. In March 2007, facing ubiquitous movement criticism, Strom officially disbanded NV.

Strom ended up facing two separate trials. Charges against Strom for possession of child pornography were separated out for a later trial. In the first trial, held in October, Strom prevailed. U.S. District Judge Norman Moon ruled Strom's numerous legal complaints against his wife did not amount to intimidation. And the judge found that while Strom had followed and anonymously sent many gifts to a 10-year-old girl, he had not actually tried to have sex with her. The judge did note that there was "overwhelming evidence he was sexually drawn to this child."

In January 2008, Strom faced a second federal trial on possession of child pornography. Strom struck a deal at a plea hearing with prosecutors in which he pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. In exchange, multiple counts of receiving child porn were dismissed. During his sentencing on April 21, 2008, Strom claimed the child porn came from an online forum he'd visited and that he had not intentionally downloaded it onto his computer. Strom, who had already served more than one year in prison, asked Judge Moon not to give him further time. "Mr. Strom, you pled guilty to charges that now you're saying you're innocent [of]," Moon responded. "I prefer people plead not guilty than put it on me." Moon, who called Strom's guilty plea "extremely serious," then sentenced him to 23 months in jail.

National Vanguard fell apart in late March of 2007, apparently unable to survive the imprisonment and public humiliation of Strom. But as early as September of 2006, four months before Strom's arrest, rebellious elements within NV already had attempted to move the headquarters to Sacramento, Calif. Early in 2007, the state of Virginia liquidated the group's legal parent, making it impossible, according to the Sacramento insurrectionists, to access the group's bank accounts.

A March 2007 posting on the NV website proposed that readers "interested in pro-European-American activism" sign on with NV's replacement, European Americans United (EAU), which supports white separatism and is against "Third World immigration," and that they keep abreast of the news at the group's Western Voices World News site. To avoid the kind of collapse that happened to NV, a board of directors, instead of one person, runs EAU, and all directors must prove they have no criminal background. Paeans to neo-Nazi leaders like the late National Alliance founder William Pierce are to be replaced with calls to white nationalism in hopes of building a broader movement.

Strom was freed from prison in Sept. 2008 and has not returned to the movement.

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

Dear Mr. Best,

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 https://www.fbi.gov<http://www.fbi.gov>/, by clicking on the SERVICES link at the top of the homepage and then click on the Freedom of Information Act/Privacy picture, or the direct link is: https://www.fbi.gov/services/records-management/foia, or by accessing the U. S. Department of Justice at https://www.justice.gov/oip. If you require additional assistance please contact us at foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov.

Thank you,

David P. Sobonya
Public Information Officer/GIS
Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS)
FBI-Records Management Division
170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
Ofc: (540) 868-4593
Direct: (540) 868-4286
Fax: (540) 868-4391/4997

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 requested and to not search field offices as I specifically requested.

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

01/26/2017 04:02 PM FOIA Request: DOJ-AP-2017-001866

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

DOJ-AP-2017-001866 has been processed with the following final disposition: Closed for other reasons -- Other -- No Component Response to Adjudicate.

  • Best, Michael, DOJ-AP-2017-001866-Close no adverse determination

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