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The FBI, FOIA and another F word.

August 31, 2017

Most people don’t really know a lot about Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Experience has taught us that they can sometimes be ignored until the person making the request loses interest or dies of old age, the information is so old as to be worthless, or until a court orders that the request be honored.

There are legitimate legal exemptions to the Act, nine of them to be exact, with some having several subsections.

None of those nine require a certain  number of people in the public to be interested in the information before the request is honored. In fact the FOIA website states that anyone, including noncitizens, can make a FOIA request, meaning that there is a possibility that no member of the general public would have an interest in or even be aware of a specific request.

And that makes the FBI’s answer to why they haven’t fulfilled the request for certain documents related to Hillary Clinton’s misuse of emails or other possible breaches in ethics or national security or campaign irregularities disingenuous at best and illegal at worst.

We are talking of course of the FBI’s contention that the “public isn’t interested in the subject.”

It’s highly unlikely that the FBI knows or cares where the public’s interest lies.

In reading through the nine exemptions, the FBI apparently concluded that not honoring the request came under the auspices of exemption 6, “Could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

Remember, Mrs. Clinton maintained that she conducted a lot of personal business on her clandestine private server. She also said she destroyed those 33,000 “personal” items. So presumably if you buy her declaration, the only information remaining couldn’t possibly be of a personal nature.

Unless you are the requesting party, chances are that with the election over, you probably don’t have an obsessive interest in her emails or those of her staff.  Most of you might like to know if she deliberately or even accidentally provided aid and comfort to our enemies, but it isn’t something you’re losing sleep over.

Unless of course you make any connection between Hillary, the DNC, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and recent revelations concerning Imran Awan. Then it becomes quite a bit more current.

Contrast the cavalier, in fact even contemptuous, treatment of these FOIA requests with the independent counsel’s assiduous digging into everyone ever remotely connected to Paul Manafort or Donald Trump, including using the FBI to collect records going back seven to ten or even twenty years.

Phew!  And just when you might have thought about cutting back to just one air freshener.

From → op-ed

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