Mary O'Hara

Hi Muckrock,

Can you advise me on typical ways to provide proof of death when requesting a personal file? I requested the FBI file on activist Leslie Feinberg, who died in the fall. There are plenty of obits and articles about her passing, but the FOIA response says “a web link in itself does not constitute proof of death” or something. Do I need to procure an actual death certificate? Thanks, Mary

Michael Morisy

Hi Mary,

Weirdly, a PDF of a website is OK, but a link is not. Send a link to an article and a copy of the request URL in question, and we’ll attach it on our end.

For famous individuals, I’ve found the phrase “Jane Doe’s death was widely reported, including in the following news article:” and a regular link has worked 100% of the time I’ve tried it.

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