Secrecy: FOIA

Latest in Secrecy: FOIA

Federal Law Enforcement

Good News for Christopher Wray: Morale Is Up at (Most of) the FBI

Editor’s note: This piece has been updated to reflect corrected climate survey responses we received from the FBI earlier today.

Here’s a dog-bites-man story: Amidst near constant presidential attacks on FBI officials, accusations of treason, congressional investigation, and suggestions of “deep state” malfeasance, morale is up at the FBI.

Federal Law Enforcement

Special Counsel Search Warrants Against Michael Cohen Unsealed

On Tuesday, the Chief Judge Beryll Howell of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia issued an order to unseal and for the government to publish warrants for searches against former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen obtained in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The five warrants can be read below.

Warrant, July 18, 2017

Secrecy: FOIA

Closing the Book on Spanberger’s SF-86

Last year, one of us filed a “meta-FOIA” request with Benjamin Wittes seeking information on how former CIA officer and then-congressional candidate (now congresswoman) Abigail Spanberger’s unredacted SF-86 form was released in response to a right-wing advocacy group’s FOIA request. We petitioned both the National Archives and Records Administrations (NARA) and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), each of which had played a role in the release.

Scholarship

How, and How Often, Do Legal Academics Use FOIA?

Since its enactment in 1966, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has served as a significant source of transparency in government, allowing anyone to access official records that would otherwise be unavailable to the public. Legal academics have analyzed the statute in numerous law review articles, most of which seem to embrace FOIA’s underlying goals. Yet the actual use of FOIA and its state-law equivalents in legal academia has been quite limited.

Secrecy: FOIA

Someone at the Justice Department Wants Ethics Advice on Whitaker’s Supervision of the Mueller Investigation

Yesterday evening, we received a response to one of our FOIA requests asking whether anyone has sought or received internal ethics guidance on Whitaker’s involvement in the Mueller investigation.

Secrecy: FOIA

A Meta-FOIA Request: How Did the Postal Service Release a Congressional Candidate’s SF-86?

This past Tuesday, congressional candidate and former CIA officer Abigail Spanberger announced that her political opponents appeared to have acquired a copy of her SF-86, a form used by the federal government to collect sensitive personal information from job applicants for background checks and security clearances.

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