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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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)
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.
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
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"
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."
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"
"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."
"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"
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
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.
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.
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 1/
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
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
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
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
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
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