Jason Leopold Profile picture
Senior investigative reporter @BuzzFeedNews I-Team. 'FOIA terrorist.' Band Tshirt hoarder. Punk. RISE ABOVE. jasonleopold@protonmail.com Signal 213-270-4334
SocialMediaWarriorForABlueAmerica Profile picture Bill Jackson III 🖥 🦅🌊🗽 🇺🇸 Profile picture Stan Downs (Version 8.2.1) *Per La Resistenza* Profile picture Oy Vey Profile picture Hecate's Crossroad #QVArmy Profile picture 21 added to My Authors
30 Jul
"She is one of the most important whistleblowers of our era, and yet hardly anyone remembers her name."

Let's change that. Today is National Whistleblower Day. Say hello to May Edwards (@3_Whistleblower), whose disclosures formed the basis of #FinCENFiles
On Monday, @3_Whistleblower reports to federal prison. Her disclosures related to global financial corruption and our investigation changed anti money laundering laws around the world.

Please support the sacrifices she made in the public interest

Read 5 tweets
25 Jul
It's been 5 painful years. On July 25, 2016, my brother Eric died. He was brutally murdered on the pathway leading to the front door of his house. Every single day since then, I have struggled with my own grief.
I couldn't go to sleep at night without music or the television on or some sound playing in the background to distract me from the images of my brother being repeatedly stabbed whenever I closed my eyes.
So to alleviate my feelings of despair, I threw myself into my work. Reporting helped me forget how powerless I felt during the probe into my brother's murder and took my mind off of the trauma I had experienced.
Read 17 tweets
11 Jun
Last week, Natalie May Edwards, my source, whose disclosures formed the basis of @BuzzFeedNews & @ICIJorg 16-month global investigation, #FinCENFiles, was sentenced to 6 months in prison

Today, #FinCENFiles was named a finalist for The Pulitzer Prize in inernational reporting
Thank you to the Pulitzer committee for honoring our work as a finalist and for recognizing the sacrifice made by our source, Natalie May Edwards. Congratulations to my @BuzzFeedNews & @ICIJorg colleagues and the 100s of journalists around the world who worked on #FinCENFiles.
Read 5 tweets
5 Jun
This is the headline in The National Law Review just 1 day after whistleblower Natalie May Edwards was sentenced to prison for exposing corruption on a global scale w/#FinCENFiles, which led to investigations and major reform in the US & around the world natlawreview.com/article/whistl…
This article centers around Biden's anti corruption memo that he issued during Natalie May Edwards sentencing on Thursday.

One of the specific objectives of the Biden memo is to “combat all forms of illicit finance in the United States and international financial systems"
The National Law Review article goes on to say: Whistleblowers Can Play a Critical Role in Combating Money Laundering

That's exactly what Natalie May Edwards did. Speaking in court ahead of her sentence she said she “could not stand by aimlessly” when she saw corruption Image
Read 4 tweets
1 Jun
NEW: @natalierbett & I are joining WaPo's #FOIA party on Anthony Fauci's #COVID19 emails but we're adding 2400 more pages and we're releasing all of the docs so everyone can read them. It covers Jan through June 2020.

Here's our story & docs
A handful of these Fauci emails I previewed in tweets earlier this year as I received them via #FOIA

Our story today captures a different set of Fauci emails covered by the WaPo, such as these Obama's former health advisor Emanuel Ezekiel sent Fauci and Fauci's response.

buzzfeednews.com/article/natali… ImageImageImageImage
Read 10 tweets
7 May
Via my #FOIA: Here's former DOJ spox Sarah Flores providing a reporter a comment on deep background about whether Jeff Sessions met with Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.

WaPo said today their 2017 story on this mtg may have lead DOJ to seize reporters' phone records
AND here's Flores in an email describing the Kislyak/Sessions meeting as debunked! So if not true how could it be a leak?
Sarah Flores responded to at least two dozen reporters by saying the Sessions/Kislyak meeting during 2016 campaign never happened and I have every single email. So if this is one of the stories that served as the basis for seizing WaPo phone records does it mean it's true?
Read 7 tweets
3 May
NEW: DOJ just turned over to @BuzzFeedNews and I and CNN nearly 300 pages of the supplemental material attached to the FBI 302s from the Mueller probe. @a_cormier_ and I are going through the records now but here's a sample
NEW/DOCUMENTS: Sorry for the delay! Here's our story on these amazing emails and text messages sent and received by Michael Flynn, Steve Bannon, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and more that were scooped up as part of Mueller's investigation
Roger Stone email to Steve Bannon August 28, 2016 just released

“Trump can still win — but time is running out. Early voting begins in six weeks. I do know how to win this but it ain’t pretty. 
Read 17 tweets
2 May
Jeez, what the heck did they serve for lunch Image

Hilarious Image
Lollll ImageImage
Read 4 tweets
1 May
Sunday is the 10th anniversary of the operation to kill OBL

Here's the inside story, based on incredible CIA docs I obtained via #FOIA, revealing the CIA's role in helping to produce the controversial movie about the operation, Zero Dark Thirty.
The CIA's internal watchdog identified as a potential violation of federal criminal law the bribery of public officials and witnesses by the filmmakers who showered the CIA officers with gifts.
The CIA's internal watchdog documents I obtained said the agency's working relationship with the filmmakers began in 2010, a year before bin Laden was killed.
Read 8 tweets
30 Apr
Classic US District Court Judge James Boasberg opening line in an opinion he just issued in my & @_rshapiro @PropOTP long running #FOIA case for the FBI's files on Trump predating his presidency
Partial win for us and partial win for the government. Good decision on b7e in our favor.

Thank you for your hard work on this @_LightLaw!
One thing FBI is withholding is amazing: a case number written on a very old newspaper article about Trump & his criticism of then-Gov Ed Rendell.

Here's what's interesting: DOJ says case number directly implicates “an ongoing
investigation with charges currently pending”
Read 4 tweets
16 Apr
Emails obtained by @CREWcrew via #FOIA show DEA’s “covert surveillance” of racial justice protesters in Philadelphia, Chicago, Albuquerque

DOJ authorized the surveillance efforts in May 2020, per a DEA memorandum revealed last year by @BuzzFeedNews citizensforethics.org/reports-invest…
"Please dress in a fashion that will allow you to bend (sic) in with the crowds"
Albuquerque police department requested assistance from Albuquerque DEA to provide surveillance for a protest last May.
Read 4 tweets
15 Mar
#SunshineWeek document SCOOP/THREAD: Our @BuzzFeedNews members got a first look at these records I requested last May but now I'm sharing w/everyone

Here are all of Richard Grenell's emails from his brief stint as acting DNI

In some ways, Grenell’s emails are an extension of his Twitter persona and showcase his spats with reporters

He refers to @ZcohenCNN as a "drama queen," demands to speak to @JonathanLanday's editor regarding an accurate story he wrote that he said was "outrageously slanted"
One email sent to Grenell shows an official in his office lamented their inability to “shape the narrative” in a @julianbarnes @adamgoldmanNYT @npfandos story about Grenell’s plans for ODNI, to which he responded, “Washington is highly toxic these days.” 

Read 18 tweets
13 Mar
More #FinCENFiles IMPACT:

The FinCEN files will change suspicious activity reporting

"In the coming months, we expect regulators and law enforcement to place more focus on the quality and timeliness of SARs."

"The FinCEN files have highlighted failings in the quality of information communicated through SARs, which often feature one-line explanations of suspicious activity."
"The FinCEN files highlighted multiple instances where banks and law enforcement failed to act quickly enough to prevent the proceeds of crime from entering the system."
Read 4 tweets
4 Mar
NEW deep dive by @bri_sacks & me. We obtained 81 pages of docs & pics via #FOIA from Federal Protective Service about the intel they had in the lead up to the Capitol riots and the day of the insurrection. Good stuff here.
Here's the full set of documents.

(WaPo, @FOIANate and team, also reported on this today.)
DHS Federal Protective Service were monitoring live streams of the Jan 6 insurrection. Faces were redacted in the documents the agency turned over to us.
Read 6 tweets
3 Mar
5 months after the release of #FinCENFiles

Over the next year, a small, relatively obscure bureau of the Treasury Dept - FinCEN- will take a lead role in plugging what many experts consider the biggest hole in the U.S.’s anti-money-laundering protections

Nearly all of the reforms that will now be undertaken as highlighted in this story is related to massive institutional and regulatory failures that we @BuzzFeedNews & @ICIJorg and more than 100 media orgs around the world exposed and spent 16 months investigating. Stunning impact
This WSJ story cites our #FinCENFiles investigation and findings, which Treasury told us would threaten natsec and referred to DOJ for investigation. The agency's claims were recently undercut by AML officials who said it would lead to positive change
Read 4 tweets
23 Feb
BOOM: Capitol Police is not subject to #FOIA so @BuzzFeedNews & I are using another tool to lift the veil of secrecy & gain access to a wide range of docs about the inner workings of the police force: the common law right of access. NEW lawsuit just filed
Here's the complaint filed today by our attorney @_LightLaw

Please support our efforts and our battle to make these documents public. Sign up for a @BuzzFeedNews membership


Although most cases involving the common law right of access to govt docs involve records in the custody of the judicial branch, the DC Circuit has made clear that the right applies to all 3 branches of the federal govt and is not limited to records similar to court documents.
Read 4 tweets
6 Feb
Saturday SCOOP: The man overseeing President Joe Biden's daily intelligence briefing previously advocated for the CIA’s false claims about its torture program to a powerful Senate committee.


Veteran CIA intel analyst Morgan Muir was one of Biden's briefers delivering the PDB. When we contacted ODNI about his role in defending CIA torture program the agency said he would not be at WH on a daily basis briefing Biden

Yesterday, ODNI said he wouldnt be at WH at all

The revelations about Muir's role leading a CIA team to defend the agency's response to the Senate Intel Committee's torture report has not been revealed before.

Read 11 tweets
2 Feb
NEW: Records Pried Loose By @BuzzFeedNews via #FOIA Have Prompted A Demand For The Investigation Of Former Trump Health Officials

@OpenTheGov & @GovAcctProj sent letter to OSC stating HHS spox Michael Caputo & his science advisor violated "anti-gag" law buzzfeednews.com/article/jasonl…
Here's the letter signed by @GovAcctProj's @mcculloughirvin and @OpenTheGov calling for OSC to investigate Caputo's violations of anti gag provision in the Whistleblower Protection Act
Another example of how @BuzzFeedNews and I have been aggressively using #FOIA over the past 4 years and the impact from our disclosures. Please sign up for a membership and fund our 2021 FOIA battles!

Read 4 tweets
28 Jan
NEW: I filed a #FOIA request with USPS Office of Inspector General to see what was happening at postal facilities around the country right around the presidential election.

This is Philadephia.

This is North Carolina. The USPS OIG investigated allegations political mail was tossed into a dumpster.

This is Michigan

Read 6 tweets
26 Jan
Last Sept, Politico reported that Trump appointees at HHS interfered with CDC reports on Covid (h/t @azeen)

I got the emails via #FOIA (quoted by Politico) laying bare the political interference by Trump's appointees.

Just stunning.
Just unreal. Controversial Trump appointee at HHS accusing the media of politicizing Covid as he demands agency officials politicizes agency's Covid response

Via my #FOIA
Trump appointee at HHS

"Several persons I know who are emergency room who are critical medicine physicians tell me that most of the patients they had in ICU who pass away were very obese and minority... "

Via my #FOIA
Read 8 tweets
25 Jan
The Freedom of Information Act is one of the most important tools in our reporting arsenal. Since 2017, my colleagues & I have forced the release of more than 40K docs & sued the govt 58 times. Last year, we spent $80K on #FOIA legal fees & we plan to spend $100K this year

PLEASE support our efforts to continue revealing government secrets by becoming a BuzzFeed News member.

100% of your donation will go towards our #FOIA fund

AND if you sign up you'll get details on our next FOIA scoop and other FOIA fodder

Here's the FOIA appeal I sent out to our members today. I hope you will consider signing up.

There's a ton of documents I want to go after.

Read 5 tweets