From accidental mind control to classified cottage cheese, MuckRock’s most popular articles prove that transparency doesn’t have to be tedious.
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.
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.
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
[COMMENT REMOVED AT THE ADVICE OF OUR LEGAL COUNSEL]
Anyone want to chip in and help the Bureau get a better scanner?
This one’s just gross and sad, sorry.
Speaking of gross and sad, have you ever read through the Pentagon’s budget?
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.
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.
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!
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
Image via US National Archives Flickr