David Bixenspan Options A circular gear.

Guessing the answer is no, but are there any circumstances where it’s worth trying while the subject is still alive?

Thanks.

Jack R-W Options A circular gear.

You’ll practically never get anything from CIA with ot without a privacy waiver. FBI can release files about living people if there is a significant public interest in the release.

David Bixenspan Options A circular gear.

So how would I prove a significant public interest? What’s the standard?

Thanks.

Allan Blutstein Options A circular gear.

For a thorough discussion of this issue, I would recommend DOJ’s Guide to the FOIA, specifically Exemption 7(C): https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/oip/legacy/2014/07/23/exemption7c.pdf#p21.

Russ Kick Options A circular gear.

There is a slightly roundabout way that works in certain situations, at least with the FBI. Namely, if the person you’re interested in is a prominent part of some organization - an activist group, a corporation, even a band. (See Muckrock’s article on the FBI’s infamous KISS file: https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2015/oct/15/fbi-files-kiss/. All original members of KISS are still alive). The FBI will (y’know, usually) release files on organizations/groups that will contain info on living individuals.

David Bixenspan Options A circular gear.

Thanks Russ.

To be clear: There would have to be separate investigative file on the group/organization, right? I can’t just request a file on the “organization” if there’s no file just because I’m hoping to get the file of an individual who was part of said organization, right? Can the organization be a company/corporation, or does it have to be a looser affiliation?

Russ Kick Options A circular gear.

Right, there would have to be an FBI file on the group/organization, and the person you’re interested in would have to be (or have been) a prominent part of that group (for example, not just a rank-and-file member of a political organization). The FBI has files on lots of different types of groups - everything from animal-rights organizations to rock bands to street gangs to the NRA. If you’re interested in info about a person who was a major part of any organization, it’s worth filing a request for that group’s file because there might be something about that individual in there (no guarantees, of course). And the FBI might not have a file on that group, but you never know until you file....

David Bixenspan Options A circular gear.

How broad can a FOIA request to the FBI be? I have an idea for an event that would have been on their radar involving some of the people I want to look up…would asking for a file on a “event” worked if I’m specific enough?

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