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.
A newly released Federal Bureau of Investigation memo shows that the exposure of Scientology’s “Operation Snow White” and the resulting 1979 convictions didn’t end government concerns about Scientology infiltrators.
FOIA is both a vital tool for the public to gain access to government records, and a frustrating process that reveals infuriating facts and sometimes even more infuriating government employees - as well as super helpful public servants who replenish your faith in humanity just enough to keep you filing FOIAs another day.
Here’s the best and worst of some of MuckRock’s recent interactions with the keepers of public information.
Mexico’s “Dirty War,” nestled in the middle of what the Central Intelligence Agency called a period of “stability” for the country was carried out in part by their asset Miguel Nazar Haro and his secret police. Nazar would later be arrested for his role in the “disappearance” of 1,200 dissidents, and investigated for torture, murder, and even genocide, all while working with, and protected by, the CIA.
When Mexican spymaster Miguel Nazar Haro was implicated in a car theft ring operating in both the United States and Mexico, the Central Intelligence Agency moved to prevent prosecution of one of their most valuable assets. As the ensuing investigation revealed, however, the web of corruption surrounding Nazar connected to more than just grand theft auto, with ties to narcotics trafficking, the torture and disappearance of numerous dissidents, and at the murder of a DEA Agent.