Wednesday, April 14, 2010

FBI FOIA Request about DailyKos Unavailing

PhotobucketOut of curiosity, I filed a Freedom of Information Act request about DailyKos with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I am beginning to think that the term "main file records" means a lot more than it appears to say facially. If there is nothing among "main file records," I would certainly also be interested in information that was contained in a non-main file record.


I have a feeling that looking into "main file records" but not others is somehow like looking for waves in the sand but not in the water. 'We were unable to find any engine troubles whatsoever in the trunk of your car.'


Marcus Baram at Huffington Post encountered a similarly odd response to his request for FBI records about J.D. Salinger. J.D. Salinger Didn't Have An FBI File?

The Huffington Post recently received a disappointing reply to a FOIA request for any files or records on Salinger, who died at the end of January. According to the FBI, the bureau was unable to identify "responsive main file records" under the name Jerome David Salinger. (Salinger's name may still pop up in other files kept by the bureau and a request for cross-references is still pending.)
I don't know, but I have a suspicion that "main file records" are defined so narrowly that even the unibomber would have no "main file records" but he might have reams of 'derivative file records(?), or something of the sort. Anyway, here's how the Justice Department responded to my request about DailyKos. One would think that a crash-the-gates leftist advocacy and money bundling group would have at least one document in its "main record files."

This is the FBI's response:


Maybe I'll file an appeal, requesting FBI records about DailyKos that are not in the main records files, but that are in cross-reference files or others interesting places.

Francis L. Holland imagines:
Dear Atty. Holland: Although there are sixty-eight thousand hits for "CIA" + "Moulitsas" in Google, there is not a single reference to that person FBI "main file records." 
In fact, our records contain no information at all on the existence of a blog called "DailyKos" or a man named "Markos C. Alberto Moulitsas Zúñiga."  It is possible that we are denying records because he is a CIA agent and that is one of the circumstances under which always deny having any information, as a national security exception to FOIA principles.  You can't have MAMZ's FBI records and "You do not have permission to view this diary."
Have a nice day.

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