Jason Leopold Profile picture
Senior investigative reporter @BuzzFeedNews I-Team. 'FOIA terrorist.' Band Tshirt hoarder. Punk. RISE ABOVE. Signal: 213-270-4334 jasonleopold@protonmail.com
SocialMediaWarriorForABlueAmerica Profile picture Bill Jackson III 🖥 🦅🌊🗽 🇺🇸 ✊🏽🌊 Profile picture Oy Vey Profile picture Hecate's Crossroad #QVArmy Profile picture BlueGlowAgave Profile picture 15 added to My Authors
31 Jul
I'm investigating the politicization of #FOIA. Increasingly, docs requested under FOIA are kept secret b/c info may be embarrassing and/or paint the agency/admin in a bad light. If you work for a govt agency & can share details please reach out: Signal 213-270-4334 email in bio
From DOJ's website re: FOIA

"Information should not be withheld merely because 'public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears.'"
Last note, some agencies have been sending records requested under FOIA that may result in "significant media attention" to political appointees for final determination on whether it should be produced/what should be redacted. That is not ok.
Read 3 tweets
21 Jul
This is why I sue the govt. A year ago, I filed a #FOIA request with DOJ/EOUSA for docs on John Ratcliffe after he was tapped the first time to be ODNI Director. I specifically asked for

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A month after I filed the request, DOJ/EOUSA FOIA office contacted me. They wanted know if I wanted to withdraw my request since Ratcliffe withdrew his name from consideration for ODNI Director

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My response was "yes I'm still interested." I would have thought that DOJ which often accuses me of weaponizing FOIA would have known that.

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Read 7 tweets
8 Jul
NEW: Another #FOIA WIN at US District Court this morning (thread)

Back in February I/@BuzzFeedNews
filed a #FOIA lawsuit for a wide-range of records related to AG Barr's intervention in the Roger Stone case.

Importantly, I sought expedited processing.

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When DOJ failed to respond to our request for expedited processing, I/@BuzzFeedNews sued. The government moved to dismiss the case saying we should have waited and in the process sought to disparage me personally in their various court filings.

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This was designed, in my opinion, to delay the release of records that would and should lay bare the behind the scenes activity related to Barr's involvement in the Stone case. Because even if the judge found in favor of the govt & dismissed the case I could easily refile

3/
Read 10 tweets
19 Jun
BREAKING: After a year of legal battles, @BuzzFeedNews news and I and @EPICprivacy have scored a MAJOR #FOIA victory: the Justice Department has unredacted portions of the Mueller report pertaining to Roger Stone and Wikileaks and more.

Story to come:
MASSIVE thanks to @mvtopic & his team at @LoevyAndLoevy for waging this battle on our behalf.

AND we are not done! We are still fighting to have additional material unredacted.

This is a HUGE historical victory for the public and transparency
MOREOVER, you can see how ridiculous some of the government's redactions are and this is why we have challenged the legality of the redactions
Read 10 tweets
5 Jun
I'm devastated and heartbroken by this news. This is a huge loss for @BuzzFeedNews. I've worked on dozens of stories with @loopemma over the past 3.5 yrs. She is a fearless and tenacious journalist, which is underscored by her appearance in FBI 302s from the Mueller probe

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Whether it was working while she was on vacation from the Dominican Republic or filing on weekends and door knocking a source late in the evening and having the door slam shut on her and being told to fuck off, Emma was passionate about every story she/we worked on together.
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She is a fantastic journalist, incredibly well sourced & I can't imagine working @BuzzFeedNews without her. Any newsroom that hires Emma would be very lucky to get her

In addition, she has the most amazing taste in music and I'm glad I was able to introduce her to Jawbreaker

3/
Read 4 tweets
2 Jun
SCOOP w/@a_cormier_: DOJ granted DEA the authority to conduct "covert surveillance" & collect intel on people participating in protests over George Floyd's death. We obtained the DEA memo written by Timothy Shea, DEA acting administrator & ex-US atty
buzzfeednews.com/article/jasonl…
DEA was granted the authority on Sunday for the next two weeks on a nationwide basis to “intervene” to “protect both participants and spectators in the protests,” and to conduct interviews and searches, and arrest protesters who are alleged to have violated federal law.
From the DEA memo I obtained requesting authority from DOJ to conduct "covert surveillance" on protestors. (Document embedded in the story)
Read 5 tweets
1 Jun
NEW: NOAA just released another batch of internal emails related to Hurricane Dorian and #sharpiegate in response to my and other #FOIA requests.
Link to the NOAA #sharpiegate emails. noaa.gov/foia/reading-r…
Read 3 tweets
31 May
He doesn't care. At all. This has been obvious since before his inauguration. And underscored by his handling and lack of response to the 100K+ deaths from the Covid19 pandemic. We need to stop expecting he will suddenly change.
The End.
Read 3 tweets
31 May
The City of Beverly Hills has sent out maintenance crews this morning to clean up the graffiti after last night's protests.
Maintenance worker cleaning graffiti off of a sculpture in a Beverly Hills park Sunday afternoon following last night's protests.
Beverly Hills just imposed a 4 pm citywide curfew and a 1 pm curfew for the business District.
Read 4 tweets
30 May
THREAD

During the protests over Freddie Gray's death while in Baltimore police custody DHS monitored Twitter and other social media platforms for "intelligence" about the protests and the protesters, according to documents I obtained via #FOIA

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vice.com/en_us/article/…
Other docs I obtained from DHS via #FOIA related to the Freddie Gray protests showed the agency monitored the Twitter account of prominent civil rights activist @deray referring to him as a "professional protester" who is "known to law enforcement"

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vice.com/en_us/article/…
I also obtained docs that revealed DHS sent 400 federal agents to Baltimore during the Freddie Gray protests because DHS was worried protestors would vandalize a facility that housed liquid natural gas containers and "cause a catastrophic incident."

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vice.com/amp/en_us/arti…
Read 6 tweets
29 May
THREAD

In honor of Trump's Twitter EO and the president's incendiary tweets here are docs I obtained via #FOIA from various govt agencies reacting to Trump's tweets.

Let's start with the Federal Reserve Board

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Here's a redacted email from CIA in response to Trump's tweet about China-North Korea

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Here's an email from former head of NSA Mike Rogers advising personnel not to get into a "tit for tat" over Trump's tweet

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Read 15 tweets
26 Apr
NEW UPDATE: According to WN internal email I obtained from the VA Hospital in LA sent by the facility's chief of staff Friday:

"As of this morning, we have identified a total of 68 GLA (Greater LA) Veterans who have tested positive for COVID-19, of whom 6 have died"

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"A total of 22 of our GLA employee colleagues have tested positive for COVID-19."

"In our West LA acute inpatient facility (Building 500), we currently have 12 COVID-positive Veterans, of whom 3 are in the ICU receiving mechanical breathing support."

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"Our COVID-Recovery Unit (CRU) in 215-3 currently has 21 COVID-positive Veterans. A total of three Veterans have recovered from their COVID-19 infection and have returned to residence elsewhere in the Home for Heroes"

"We have performed a total of 2,165 COVID-19 tests"

3/
Read 6 tweets
5 Apr
FBI accepting #FOIA requests again through their eFOIA portal, which they iced a few weeks ago because of #coronavirus

BUT "you can expect delays in both the acknowledgement and substantive response to your FOIPA request."

In other words, back to normal

Thx for flagging @AllanBlutstein
Read 3 tweets
27 Mar
THREAD: A #COVID19 #FOIAFriday story

SIX yrs ago, I filed a #FOIA request w/DIA for docs related to Michael Flynn's tenure as head of the agency

DIA failed to respond to my request for 3 yrs. In June 2017, DIA sent me a letter: they were withholding docs b/c Mueller probe

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A year ago, I refiled the request and then sued DIA for the Flynn docs. During the course of litigation, we discovered DIA never even initiated a search for docs. We ultimately got them to do that and late last year agreed on a production schedule.

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DIA was supposed to produce the Flynn documents to me on Monday. Yesterday, the govt attorney in the case reached out and said b/c of #coronavirus the agency would not meet the March 30 production deadline. The pandemic has impacted their FOIA operations.

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Read 5 tweets
20 Mar
NEW THREAD: I can't stress enough how critical it is that we utilize the #FOIA to inform the public about what is happening behind the scenes about #Coronavirus as well as other pressing matters

But it is going to be a battle. State Dept just shut down their #FOIA operations
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My colleagues & I @BuzzFeedNews have been aggressively pursuing docs via #FOIA about the pandemic from govt agencies and we are well positioned to push back against govt efforts to stifle the public's right to know & WE WILL

But I need your support
support.buzzfeednews.com
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It's crucial that the public be told what has been happening behind the scenes, what is happening now, and what they can expect to unfold in the days, weeks and months ahead. One way to accomplish this is through transparency in the form of documents. Support the #FOIA

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Read 4 tweets
6 Feb
NEW DEEP DIVE from @LoopEmma with lots of new info and details

Here’s What’s Happening In Republicans’ Biden-Ukraine Investigation
buzzfeednews.com/article/emmalo…
NEW: Sens. Grassley and Johnson have targeted @AlexandraChalup as part of their probe into debunked claims re: Ukraine/2016 election & Biden. Here's her statement to @BuzzFeedNews. Additionally, DOJ sent Chalupa a letter in 2017 saying she did not have to register under FARA
This 2017 letter from DOJ to @AlexandraChalup also debunks Grassley's assertions about Chalupa & FARA
Read 3 tweets
4 Feb
NEW: Here's former FBI director describing the bureau's Sentinel record keeping system in the context of his discussions w/other FBI officials about whether to pursue an obstruction probe into Trump

From McCabe's 2017 FBI interview summary #MuellerMemos

buzzfeednews.com/article/jasonl…
Rick Dearborn, ex-WH official, said during his intv w/Mueller's team he "wouldn't be shocked" Dana Rohrabacher would talk abt cooperation w/Russia. "Dearborn explained, based on his experience on the Hill, Rohrabacher's beliefs about Russia are were widely known" #muellermemos
Read 3 tweets
3 Feb
BREAKING: FBI & DOJ have just turned over the 5th installment of #MuellerMemos (FBI 302s) to me/@BuzzFeedNews & @CNN in response to our #FOIA lawsuits. 298 pgs. Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer & more

We will be going through the docs, which you can read here

buzzfeednews.com/article/jasonl…
@BuzzFeedNews @CNN NEW: Trump promised Michael Flynn a "good recommendation" after he was fired

#MuellerMemos
@BuzzFeedNews @CNN NEW: We receivedJared Kushner's FBI 302 from the Mueller investigation. IT'S ALMOST ENTIRELY REDACTED

#MuellerMemos
Read 7 tweets
1 Feb
BREAKING #FOIA: At 10 pm EST tonight, NOAA released hundreds of pages of documents in response to my and other #FOIA requests about Hurricane Dorian and Sharpiegate.

A late night dump from NOAA! Hmm wonder what's in here.

Uploading docs now.
UPLOADED these Hurricane Dorian/SharpieGate documents--more than 1,000 pages--to Google Drive as @documentcloud is failing.

Here's a link and here's one email from the cache: drive.google.com/file/d/1wj3_UV…
@documentcloud I like this email from the cache 😅
Read 27 tweets
18 Jan
THREAD

Last night, DOJ released 169 pgs of FBI intv summaries (known as 302s) from the Mueller investigation in response to my/@BuzzFeedNews & CNN #FOIA lawsuits. It was the 2nd release this month, part of 33 intv summaries House Judiciary sought

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buzzfeed.egnyte.com/dl/QOyOORUMxw/…
We asked the judge presiding over our case to prioritize these #MuellerMemos because there was overwhelming public interest in the documents. Judiciary Committee had argued in court last year they needed this as part of their impeachment inquiry

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buzzfeednews.com/article/jasonl…
Read 5 tweets
9 Jan
An acquired taste for some but I love it

Happy 30th birthday to Scumdogs of the Universe, the second album by Gwar, released on this day in 1989

I should have said released in 1990. Obviously still stuck in last year
Also can't believe 1990 is 30 years ago FFS!
Read 3 tweets