I recently filed a FOIA request with the FBI and they are denying part of my request. What next ???
My FOIA request is in the “Public Interest” It pertains to “How did an individual steal $3.5 million from a school board over a 10 year period (approx. 1992 - 2003) of time while under investigation by the FBI in Maryland & Florida ?
In 1998 I personally caught the top six (6) federal prosecutors from Maryland & the Southern District of Florida lying in federal court trying to white wash the criminal activities of certain individuals as a “Business Dispute or Civil Matter”. What the federal prosecutors didn’t know was that I had obtained an internal DOJ documents with a FOIA of the Maryland federal & state prosecutors discussing the criminal allegations pertaining to certain individuals associated with the individual stealing the $3.5 million from the school board.
In 2001 I walked out an FBI interview in West Palm Beach, FL. where I was trying to file a criminal criminal complaint against these individuals and their associates. The FBI agent conducting the interview failed to give me her name and a few minutes into the interview, blurted out that she was just a “Dumb Blonde” about 20 minutes into the interview she parroted the position of the federal prosecutors that I caught lying in 1998, that I was only involved in a “Business Dispute or Civil Matter. I immediately terminated the interview and left.
The FBI in Maryland & Florida have some very serious liability concerning this matter, so I don’t think the FBI are going to be too willing to release these documents even if I pursue the “Public Interest” angle.
So what do I do next, respond to the original FBI denial, appeal or is there litigation beyond the appeal process ?
I personally would rather litigate the matter in court because the documents become a matter of public record rather than dance around in a circle with the FBI.
Thanks for your assistance.
So without seeing the exact request, a few things to keep in mind:
- Requests have to be for specific documents, not questions. So you can ask for the case files regarding a certain institution, but not a question about their handling of that institution, even though the responsive documents might ultimately help answer that question.
- Litigation is definitely a route, but we find it is slow and comes with its own caveats. We are not lawyers and do not offer legal services, and sometimes suing is the only way to get what you need.
- Before suing, there are two options at the federal level we’ve found pretty useful: Administrative appeals and reaching out to the Office of Government and Information Services, which serves as a mediator between requesters and agencies. They can also help get communication going, and we’ve found them particularly useful when dealing with agencies when there’s a misunderstanding or an agency just simply doesn’t seem to take us seriously.
Hope this is helpful.
Thanks Michael. I’ll try your suggestions and also file a FOIA request thru Muckrock this weekend. FOIA is a powerful tool. In 1995 I served a Maryland State subpoena on the Maryland Attorney General and the US Attorney in Maryland. The US Attorney for MD quickly quashed my subpoena and the MD. Attorney General filed a falsified affidavit smearing and ridiculing me. In late 1995 with a FOIA request I uncovered a document of a meeting between the USDOJ Chief of White Collar Crimes MD. and the MD Attorney General ofc. of them discussing numerous allegations of criminal activities concerning the plaintiffs that were suing me. In early 1998 these documents obtained with FOIA were used to catch the top federal prosecutors from Maryland and the Southern District of Florida lying in a federal court lawsuit. The federal prosecutors had to change their pleadings from trying to white wash the criminal activities as a “business dispute or civil matter” to admitting to known allegations of criminal misconduct. Regards, Don Stone