A recent FOIA release shows the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Director’s Office responded to FOIA requests for known files on deceased FBI officials by presenting options that seemingly included a law enforcement investigation/proceeding against the requesters, with one email calling the requests “SUSPICIOUS.”
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.
In October of 2014, then-FBI Director James Comey gave a speech at the Brookings Institute about the “Going Dark” problem, and the challenge of balancing privacy and security in the digital age. In response, MuckRock user Joseph Uchill requested records about how the Bureau specifically planned to address this issue, any potential consequences that might result. Two years later, he got his response: hundreds of pages of talking points, withheld in their entirety.
For the last three years, the FBI has been in the midst of a “partner-public pilot program that opens the FBI Education Center to the public to tell our story through an historical perspective, and outline our many capabilities and future direction.” Part of this program involved a public feedback form, which was easy to request through FOIA, and whose results were scarce, but fascinating.