This week’s FOIA roundup: Louisiana doesn't want you asking questions and a potentially out-of-this-world response

This week’s FOIA roundup: Louisiana doesn’t want you asking questions and a potentially out-of-this-world response

MuckRock’s weekly roundup of triumphs and troubles in public records

Written by
Edited by Michael Morisy

This week, we take a look at how Louisiana’s Attorney General not only backtracked on a records release, but decided to throw the book at a requester in a surprising way. Plus new documents from the Defense Intelligence Agency provide fodder for star-struck requesters.

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Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry sues reporter Andrea Gallo over records request

In response to a public records request, Attorney Public General Jeff Landry sued Advocate reporter Andrea Gallo, as reported by her colleague Gordon Russell.

Gallo requested files from the Attorney General’s office relating to sexual harassment complaints about Pat Magee, the head of the Attorney General’s criminal diviaion, after an investigation found he “engaged in inappropriate verbal conversations” including sexual slang and “unprofessional comments regarding the appearance of employees.”

For reporters like Gallo, filing public records requests is a normal part of the job; what makes this case unusual is a government official suing a reporter for making a request, when often it’s requesters suing over denials of access

Landry asked the judge to deny Gallo’s request for public records and seal the files in question. The Attorney General’s office claims they’re trying to protect the privacy of witnesses, employees and potential whistleblowers.

Gallo and the Advocate have indicated that they’re not backing down. “We would like to know more about how our tax dollars are being used and how our public officials are behaving in office,” Gallo said. Read more at the Advocate.

Pentagon reveals testing of UFO materials

Over three years ago, author Anthony Bragalia filed a FOIA request to the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) for information on all UFO materials and results of any tests the agency had run on them.

According to Emma Parry of The Sun, the DIA released 154 pages of tests results in which the Pentagon revealed that it had indeed obtained and tested wreckage from UFOs that had crashed. Some of the pages reveal test results from “memory” metal called Nitinol, which is a material that can revert to its former shape after being folded and bent.

Bragalia made his first request in 2017, which took three years for the DIA to fulfill. The wait was worth it when documents revealed the Pentagon has been studying UFOs under the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP).

The FOIA request sought results of testing UFO/UAP debris. Bragalia said he thinks the material being tested comes from the infamous Roswell incident of 1947, which caused much speculation about a rumored recovered “flying disc.”

The DIA did hold back some information in the release, and Bragalia plans appeal some of the redactions in the coming months.

Header image from Close Encounters of the Third Kind