• Cooking with FOIA: New Jersey's Black Bear Recipe Guide

    Cooking with FOIA: New Jersey’s Black Bear Recipe Guide

    Back in 2010, in an effort to keep the local black bear population down, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie reinstated the state’s annual bear hunting season. Despite record numbers the first year, the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife noticed a massive drop-off in the seasons that followed. So to bolster the argument that hunting was the most effective means of population control, in 2014 they decided upon a rather novel way of encouraging people to shoot more bears: state-issued cookbooks.

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  • FBI’s predecessor once tried to keep the ACLU off the airwaves

    FBI’s predecessor once tried to keep the ACLU off the airwaves

    When we last wrote about the Federal Bureau of Investigation file for former head of the American Civil Liberties Union Roger Baldwin, we looked at one of many instances in which Baldwin butted up against Director J. Edgar Hoover on the issue of balancing liberty and security. An earlier section of the file, however, reveals their relationship was relatively tame compared to that of Hoover’s predecessor, who once urged radio stations not to let the “ultra-radicals” at the ACLU broadcast the “rotten propaganda” that they weren’t on the Soviet payroll.

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

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

    Practically synonymous with high-altitude espionage, the Lockheed U-2 spy plane played an almost legendary role in the Central Intelligence Agency’s activities during the Cold War. Notoriously difficult to pilot and physically demanding (flights of over ten hours at over 70,000 feet were not uncommon), and a formerly TOP SECRET manual uncovered in the Agency archives outlines a strict regimen to keep pilots fit and healthy. Unsurprisingly, the manual touches upon the necessity of maintaining a proper diet, but somewhat surprisingly, the purpose of this proper diet is focused on “obviating the need for frequent defecation.”

    In other words, keeping pilots from soiling their flightsuit.

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  • The postcard that pitted the ACLU against the FBI

    The postcard that pitted the ACLU against the FBI

    The recently released Federal Bureau of Investigation file for former head of the American Civil Liberties Union Roger Baldwin document numerous times the groups came into conflict with each other. One notable incident, related to the Bureau’s wartime “Postal Censorship” program, led to a testy exchange between Baldwin and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover after the Bureau investigated the writer and pioneering Libertarian Rose Wilder Lane over her comments on a postcard.

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  • Cranston, Rhode Island claims mayor's Twitter account "not associated" with city

    Cranston, Rhode Island claims mayor’s Twitter account “not associated” with city

    Cranston, Rhode Island claims mayor’s Twitter account “not associated” with city City denies request for @MayorFung’s block list on grounds its a personal account, renewing debate regarding public access to the social media of elected officials.

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  • Reminder that Congress is (increasingly) exempt from FOIA

    Reminder that Congress is (increasingly) exempt from FOIA

    Earlier this week, we wrote about Brett Kavanaugh’s renewed Federal Bureau of Investigation background check and predicted that while the full investigation wouldn’t be public for years, likely some summary would be released. In light of reporting that the results of the background check will only be available to the Sentate Judiciary Committee, we wanted to address one of the lesser-known aspects of Freedom of Information Act: The broad exemption of the legislature.

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  • What you've found in Ronald Reagan's FBI file so far

    What you’ve found in Ronald Reagan’s FBI file so far

    Last month, we kicked off a crowdsourcing campaign to explore Ronald Reagan’s 30,000-page Federal Bureau of Investigation file. So far we’ve received nearly 100 submissions, and we wanted to highlight a few of the most interesting finds so far.

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  • What is an FBI background check?

    What is an FBI background check?

    Last week, President Donald Trump ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation to perform a renewed background check into Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh in the wake of Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Pulling from what we’ve seen over the years from other FBI files, here’s some context on what that means.

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  • How to read an FBI file: A beginner's guide

    How to read an FBI file: A beginner’s guide

    With the recent launch of both our book of Federal Bureau of Investigation files and a crowdsourced effort to analyze Ronald Reagan’s 30,000-page file, we thought it would be the perfect time to answer one of the most frequently asked questions we get here at MuckRock: How do you even begin to tackle these huge releases?

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  • Help release the FBI’s files on notorious CIA-tied drug smuggler Barry Seal

    Help release the FBI’s files on notorious CIA-tied drug smuggler Barry Seal

    In response to a FOIA request filed by Emma Best back in June, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has located close to 22,000 pages of records on Adler Berriman “Barry” Seal, a notorious drug smuggler with ties to the Central Intelligence Agency, whose life was most recently fictionalized in the 2017 film American Made.

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