With Sunshine Week just around the corner, we wanted to count down the days to our favorite time of year with a closer look at what’s going on behind the black bars: the nine federal FOIA exemptions. Today, strap yourself in for the long-haul because we’re looking at b(7) - the law enforcement exemption.
Last year, a letter from the FBI indicated that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tied to an ongoing federal investigation. In response, Senator Sherrod Brown called for the FBI to release any relevant details so that Congress could make an informed decision. His request was rejected - a week after Mnuchin was already confirmed.
Decades after the fact, both the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation remain highly secretive about parts of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International money laundering and embezzling investigation and the story of Khalid bin Mahfouz. While the FBI released some documents on Bin Mahfouz and BCCI, with portions remaining redacted under citations of a pending law enforcement proceedings, the CIA flatly refuses to confirm or deny any information on Bin Mahfouz, despite a former CIA Director having publicly (and falsely) accused him of being Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law.
Last year, Emma Best filed a FOIA with the FBI for all records on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Within a couple months, the Bureau responded by claiming they couldn’t find anything. Emma appealed, citing the FBI’s public statements - and just this week, the Justice Department confirmed there while there were records, they couldn’t be released on grounds there is an ongoing investigation.