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The Feds: Still Breaking Bad When It Comes to Freedom of Information law
Above image: one of the documents provided in response to my Freedom of Information request with the Dept. of Justice Inspector General
Federal agency that is supposed to encourage agencies to comply with the spirit and letter of FOI law– is itself an egregious violator
The following is a news commentary
Not only is the latest Freedom of Information (FOI) Act response I received from the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) two and a half years late—a response was required under the law in about 30 days—it’s also woefully inadequate.
In 2014, I filed a complaint asking the DOJ IG to investigate the unauthorized intrusions into my computers.
My employer at the time, CBS would not let the DOJ IG inspect the primary computer at issue: my work laptop. However, I provided investigators my personal Apple computer, which two independent forensics exams had found was also subject to the remote intrusions. Since the source of the intrusions was allegedly the government, I believed there was a chance that honest and experienced government investigators might be able to identify the perpetrators.
The DOJ IG investigators met with me on several occasions and generated many pages of notes and comments. They reported to me that they’d found to be suspicious deletions, alterations and unauthorized access to my personal computer. (Their work confirmed what the independent forensics exams had uncovered, but the feds were not as comprehensive.)
I was told all along that as the victim and complainant, I would be provided a final report by the DOJ IG.
But when the investigation concluded, the final report was delayed. When I inquired about it, I was repeatedly told it was being sent to “higher-ups” in the Department of Justice Inspector General’s office for review.
I repeatedly requested to receive a copy. One of the investigators told me I could always file a Freedom of Information Act request for the materials.
Months went by.
Ultimately, the report and notes about my computer intrusion investigation were withheld from me in their entirety, without explanation.
In 2014, I filed a FOI request for the materials but it was ignored — by the nation’s top law enforcement agency.
Eventually, Congress forced a partial release of the information, but it consisted of only a final summary that strangely omitted the notes and references that the investigators had made regarding the suspicious activities they’d told me they’d documented. All of those comments were wiped from the final summary, which was quickly released to reporters.
I have continued to press the DOJ IG to lawfully respond to my FOI request. Today, the agency sent a partial response that included the documents below.
As you’ll see, they even redacted information that would tell me who was communicating with whom about my case.
My question remains: What’s the big secret about the DOJ IG investigation into my computer intrusions?
2008 December: President Obama nominates Hillary Clinton for secretary of state. 2009 Jan. 13: Reports say the clintonemail.com domain was established. Jan. 21: Senate confirms Clinton as secretary of state. March 18: Clinton will later name this as the date she began using a private server for government business. 2012 Sept. 11: Islamic extremists launch […]