Year in FOIA 2018: Biggest stories of the year

Year in FOIA 2018: Biggest stories of the year

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From accidental mind control to classified cottage cheese, MuckRock’s most popular articles prove that transparency doesn’t have to be tedious.


After the “octopus incident,” the White House threatened veto power over future spy satellite logos

We kicked off the year with a sequel of sorts to one of our earlier hits regarding a world-eating octopus on a spy satellite, and learned just how close we came to the National Reconnaissance Office sending a stealth Talladega Nights reference into space.


Zoinks! Casey Kasem and the FBI versus Negativland

In a first, Negativland’s Mark Hosler actually reached out directly to correct some of the errors in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s file. FBI getting something wrong, huge if true.


That time Secret Service asked government psychics to predict the future to prevent an undefined disaster (that never happened)

To paraphrase a senior Army Intelligence officer who defending the program, you can’t say that they didn’t prevent the disaster, so there.


Washington State Fusion Center accidentally releases records on remote mind control

The fusion center would later clarify that the records had been sent to them and then accidentally attached to the request, but not before MuckRock was contacted directly by an incredibly embarrassed Department of Homeland Security and asked to distance DHS from the story.


Charged with boosting health supplements, ex-FDA and current natural products executive has long history of harassment and discrimination complaints



The nightmare fuel hidden in Richard Feynman’s FBI file

Anyone want to chip in and help the Bureau get a better scanner?


USCIS is refocusing its efforts on denaturalization

This one’s just gross and sad, sorry.


Using FOIA and public databases to track down Department of Defense contracts

Speaking of gross and sad, have you ever read through the Pentagon’s budget?


FCC complaints allege “Lucifer” is a plot to bring about the apocalypse

This article generated some grumbling over MuckRock’s lack of “serious” coverage, to which we politely refer people to the two previous entries on this list, and the fact that “genocide” is a linked tag.


Cooking with FOIA: The CIA’s TOP SECRET anti-poop diet

You’re telling me we can send someone two miles up in the air for hours at a time with a camera that can take detailed photos of the surface, and we can’t manage to create a flightsuit you can take a dump in?


Data Driven: Explore how cops are collecting and sharing our travel patterns using automated license plate readers

Behind the scenes fun fact: half of MuckRock staff doesn’t own a car. Owning a car in Boston is like having a second apartment you have to pay rent for.


The FCC backs down, releases emails related to Ajit Pai’s “Harlem Shake” video

Just in time to make it into this round-up, the Federal Communications Commission decides it doesn’t want to risk a lawsuit over an email that just says “Ok.”

The inaugural Carolyn Komatsoulis Prize for excellence in silly article premises

Seriously, take the quiz - it’s surprisingly difficult!

MuckRock’s Dog or Hot Dog Challenge

I say it ever year, but I mean it. Thanks again. There’s no other work I’d rather be doing, and nobody else I’d rather be doing it with

MuckRock’s Year in FOIA: 2018

How our transparency community grew this year

The year in Projects

State law rundown

Sunshine Spotlight: Massachusetts

The top five top five lists of the year

Image via US National Archives Flickr