The ‘Good Man’ Public Records Request Score Card

Recently, long-time AGMIHTF visitor and commenter Stevie J requested a score card of sorts to help us track how some of my more recent public records requests are faring. In response, I’ve created the following list, which I plan to update as things happen, in real time. When applicable, I’ve also linked to pertinent documents.

As you read through the list, you may notice that sometimes when I received a “sorry, not sorry” reply from an agency, I’d let things lie. Either it wasn’t worth my time to pursue it further (hi, Charles Manson’s Additional Record Sheets!) or I was busy with something else and forgot to follow up on something (I see you, Fletcher D. Thompson and your 1973 memos!). Rest assured, I plan to revise and resubmit some of the more promising requests as well as pursue new ones as they arise. Also, I’ll continue keeping my eye on the bigger stuff (warm salutations, friends at the DOJ and CIA!) until the end, even if it means filing a lawsuit.

Thanks for the suggestion. Also, if anyone has a suggestion for a new records request, feel free to let me know in the comments.

Cool NEW feature: the most recent updates will be highlighted in yellow as you scroll down the page.

Open Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests

FBI

Protocol for handling expungements due to the Privacy Act or a court order, Cincinnati field office

Seeking unredacted copies of memos received by the FBI’s Cincinnati Field Office from Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) providing guidance/instructions for the handling of expungement requests due to the Privacy Act or a court order. 

Submitted 9/26/2021; Acknowledgment received 10/6/2021

*****

Documents associated with the FBI’s early expungement of fingerprints (both paper and electronic) between Jan. 1, 1999, and June 30, 2002, on the basis of a conflict with the Privacy Act of 1974

Seeking all written requests received by the FBI from individuals seeking to have their fingerprints expunged or from organizations/agencies acting on behalf of those individuals for that time period.

Submitted 7/29/2021; Received no acknowledgment; Sent follow-up email 11/18/2021. The FOIA rep informed me that correspondence regarding my request had been mailed to me in August. When I let them know that I didn’t receive it, the FOIA rep responded 11/19/2021 that they’d “misunderstood [my] initial email” and it was “scanned  in as a duplicate request to [my] other request regarding expungement of fingerprints on the basis of court orders.” They’re creating a separate case and (ostensibly) will send an acknowledgment.

*****

Financial documents for the FBI’s Identification Division for fiscal years 1960 through 1970

Seeking itemized expenditures for all office supplies purchased by the FBI’s Identification Division for fiscal years 1960 through 1970. I’m interested in finding the person/department within the Identification Division who ordered the Missing Person File Room stamp as well as other potentially relevant office resources. Based on the FBI’s response below, I’ve submitted a follow-up FOIA Request immediately below this one.

Submitted 11/17/2021; acknowledgment received 11/23/2021; response 11/30/2021; FBI response: Unable to identify records responsive to your request.

*****

Purchase orders and invoices for the Identification Division’s Routing Unit for 1965-1970

Seeking all purchase orders and invoices that were processed for the IDENTIFICATION DIVISION’S ROUTING UNIT for the years 1965 through 1970. I found the unit name on one of the 1975 telephone directories that I shared online and did some reading about the unit’s activities. My goal is to ascertain who was stamping Ron’s documents with the “Missing Person File Room” stamp. I can’t imagine that this unit ordered many supplies–it’s my understanding that staff basically stamped incoming documents according to their destination–but we’ll see.

Submitted 12/1/2021

*****

Identification Division records that were moved to the Main File of the Records Branch in 1973

Seeking all FBI Identification Division records that were relocated to the Main File of the Records Branch during the year 1973. I’m attempting to determine how common or uncommon their action was when they removed Ron’s missing person documents from the “Ident files” in June 1973.

Submitted 11/21/2021; acknowledgment received 11/26/2021 (dated 11/29/2021)

*****

Fletcher D. Thompson’s FBI personnel records

Seeking all available personnel records on Fletcher Dew Thompson, whose career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation extended from 1941 to 1975. I’m attempting to locate potentially useful background information regarding FBI operations and personnel, including someone (perhaps) with the initials MSL.

Submitted 11/28/2021

CIA

Four MKULTRA/ARTICHOKE documents

Seeking declassification of four MKULTRA/ARTICHOKE documents in which I believe the following individuals are named: St. Clair Adna Switzer, Louis Jolyon West, and Griffith Wynne Williams.

The documents of interest are as follows:

Submitted 8/19/2021; contacted CIA FOIA rep 11/15/2021 asking for status update, since I hadn’t received an acknowledgment. She said they had no record of my request. 🤨 I overnighted a copy to them, which was delivered 11/16/2021; Received acknowledgment 11/24/2021

*****

July 15, 1952 memo of list of [REDACTED] study group panelists

Seeking declassification of names on the list of ARTICHOKE study group panelists to see if some of the individuals we’ve been discussing (see preceding FOIA request) may be there.

Submitted 8/30/2016; Received response 5/12/2019 in which they said they looked everywhere but couldn’t find a “full-text version” of the document; Appealed 5/13/2019; Received update 6/11/2021 in which they estimated a ruling for my appeal on December 8, 2022.

Recent FOIA requests and their outcomes

FBI

Documents associated with the FBI’s early expungement of fingerprints between Jan 1, 1999 and June 30, 2002 on the basis of a court order

Submitted 7/29/2021; Acknowledgment 8/4/2021; Response 9/2/2021; FBI response: Unable to identify records responsive to your request.

*****

Everitt Asa Hudson death investigation

This has nothing to do with the Tammen case as far as I can tell, but I thought it looked rather interesting. I sought the FBI’s records documenting their investigation into the 1948 death of Everitt Asa Hudson, a psychology student at UCLA whose body was discovered in a furnace pit on campus. The death had been blamed on his communist ties. The House Committee on Un-American Activities investigated. FBI response: Unable to identify records responsive to this request.

Submitted 5/14/2021; Response 5/20/2021

*****

Additional Record Sheets (ARS’s) for assorted individuals

Additional Record Sheets (ARS’s) are the sheets that were maintained in the same folder as a person’s fingerprint card(s) within the FBI’s former Identification Division under the manual system. The ARS’s contained handwritten notations documenting the various administrative actions that were taken on those fingerprints. The ARS digital scans should feasibly still exist in CJIS’s computer database for the below individuals. As you can see, the FBI REALLY doesn’t want to turn over anyone’s ARS’s.

  • Ronald Tammen Jr.
    Submitted 7/8/2020; Response 7/21/2020; Appeal ruling 3/23/2021; Sought Ronald Tammen Jr.’s Additional Record Sheets. Was denied on the basis of my 2014 lawsuit settlement, and DOJ also ruled against my appeal. I’ve submitted a request for mediation from the Office of Government Information Services (see additional details under OGIS below).
  • Richard Colvin Cox
    Submitted 4/14/2021; Response 4/20/21; Sought Richard Cox’s Additional Record Sheets. Was denied on the basis of my 2014 lawsuit settlement. I’ve appealed to the DOJ (see below). That appeal is in progress.
  • Lee Harvey Oswald
    Submitted 4/15/2021; Response 4/20/2021; FBI response: Records responsive to the FOIA have been transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) pursuant to the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 (The JFK Act), 44 U.S.C. § 2107, and are no longer in our possession. Transmission of these records is mandated by The JFK Act and public access to them is available through NARA.
  • Charles Milles Manson
    Submitted 4/17/2021; Response 5/17/2021; FBI response: Unable to identify records responsive to this request.
  • James Earl Ray
    Submitted 4-17-2021; Response 5-17-2021; FBI response: Unable to identify records responsive to this request.
  • Lyndal B. Ashby
    Submitted 5/11/2021; Response 5/18/2021; FBI response: You have requested records on one or more third party individuals. Please be advised the FBI will neither confirm nor deny the existence of such records pursuant to FOIA exemptions (b)(6) and (b)(7)(C), etc., etc. Sent further documentation of proof of death for Lyndal Ashby 11/28/2021; notified that the updated info has been forwarded to “the assigned analyst for review and determination,” 11/29/2021

    Lyndal Ashby had been listed as a missing person for many years, however his whereabouts had been located by his family and, in 2013, they determined that he’d died in 1990. In my FOIA request, I’d sent a link to Ashby’s Find-a-Grave memorial, however that didn’t seem to be sufficient proof of death. I’ve now sent a copy of his obituary that had been mailed to me by a family member as well as Ashby’s Social Security Application and Claims Index info. I also sent copies of the documents the FBI had sent to me on Ashby’s case in 2011 even though they hadn’t requested documentation of his death at that time.

*****

Fletcher D. Thompson communication

Fletcher D. Thompson was the assistant director of the FBI’s Identification Division when Ron Tammen’s missing person documents were “removed from Ident.” In this FOIA request, I sought all internal FBI documents, including memoranda, reports, notes, and other communication pieces, written by (i.e., FROM) Fletcher D. Thompson to staff members and administrators within the FBI (both the Identification Division and beyond), for the time period beginning Wednesday, May 9, 1973 and ending Friday, June 8, 1973. FBI response: Your request for the above referenced subject is not searchable in our indices. The FBI Central Records System (CRS) is indexed according to investigatory interests, and it is not arranged in a manner that allows for the retrieval of information in the form you have requested.

Submitted 1/28/2021; Response 2/5/2021; See new FOIA request into Fletcher Thompson’s personnel records above.

*****

Ronald H. Tammen Sr. NCIC historic offline database entries

Sought all records contained in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) historic offline database on Ronald Henry Tammen, Sr.

Submitted 6/23/2020; Response: 7/10/2020; FBI’s response: Unable to identify records responsive to this request.

*****

Ronald H. Tammen Jr. NCIC historic offline database entries

Sought all records contained in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) historic offline database on Ronald Henry Tammen, Jr.

Submitted 6/23/2020; Response 7/15/2020; FBI’s response: Unable to identify records responsive to this request.

*****

Special File Rooms/Missing Person File Room

Sought all segregable documents, including communiques, memoranda, reports, and other forms of written communication concerning the “Special File Rooms,” which were created by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover in 1948 for “all Files that have an unusually confidential or peculiar background…including obscene enclosures.” I also sought all documents concerning the Identification Division’s Missing Person File Room, which was room 1126 of an unspecified building in June 1973. FBI response: 227 pages of documents on Special File Rooms, but nothing on a Missing Person File Room. I appealed for the latter but the DOJ’s Office of Information Policy ruled against my appeal.

Submitted 6/22/2020; Response 8/28/2020; Appeal response: 3/15/2021

Appeals

DOJ 

Additional Record Sheets for Richard Cox

Seeking Additional Record Sheets for Richard Cox. My FOIA request for these sheets had been refused based on a false claim that the FBI/DOJ had given me Richard Cox’s FOIA documents as part of my lawsuit settlement. I appealed, providing evidence that they were conflating two separate FOIA requests and the Richard Cox documents had never been part of my lawsuit. Here’s my post on the whole sad sagaAnd here’s a link to the closing paragraph of my appeal.

Submitted 4/21/2021; Current status: In Progress

OGIS Mediation

Additional Record Sheets for Ronald Tammen Jr.

I’ve submitted a request for mediation from the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) on the basis that the FBI had accepted other FOIA requests on Tammen when the documents I was seeking weren’t part of the FBI’s declaration of sources/indices they’d searched as part of my lawsuit. Case in point: see the request I’d submitted for possible entries on Ronald Tammen Jr. in the NCIC historic offline database. They accepted that FOIA request as well as other requests. On the topic of his ARS’s, however, they’ve pushed back hard. OGIS has added my case to their “complex queue” and it is currently awaiting assignment. They’re backlogged, so it could take a while.

Submitted to OGIS 4/5/2021; OGIS acknowledged 4/13/2021

Open Mandatory Declassification Review requests

CIA

Declassification of names on memo dated January 14, 1953

I am attempting to have the names in the third paragraph of this memo declassified. It’s my believe that the first person is Louis Jolyon West and the second person is St. Clair Switzer.

Submitted MDR to CIA 6/3/2017; CIA acknowledged 6/3/2017 but they did not respond within one-year timeframe; submitted appeal to Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP) 7/12/2018; Current status: “Materials received from agency.”

*****

Note that another entity has submitted an MDR seeking declassification of names on the memo dated March 25, 1952.

FOIA requests and appeals filed through MuckRock.com

Some FOIA requests have been tougher to navigate and have required assistance from people with expertise in this area.

In October 2020, I submitted four FOIA requests through MuckRock, “a non-profit, collaborative news site that brings together journalists, researchers, activists, and regular citizens to request, analyze, and share government documents, making politics more transparent and democracies more informed.”

One request was to the FBI for an employee telephone directory for June 1973. I’m attempting to learn who MSL was, the initials of a person who removed Ron’s missing person documents “from Ident” in June 1973.

1973 FBI Employee Telephone Directory — Identification Division  (awaiting appeal)

The other three requests have to do with documents pertaining to Wright Patterson Air Force Base. I’m interested in obtaining any possible research and administrative documents for St. Clair Switzer (Ron’s psychology professor), as well as documents having to do with hypnosis and psychochemical research potentially being conducted at Wright Patterson AFB in the 1950s and ’60s.

Wright Patterson AFB — St. Clair Adna Switzer research and administrative documents  (closed)

Wright Patterson AFB — Hypnosis and Psychochemicals Research — 1952-1968  (closed)

Wright Patterson AFB — Psychochemicals Meeting — October 4, 1955  (awaiting acknowledgment)

Ohio Public Records Law requests  

Miami University

Self-described achievements of two library employees as part of their year-end reviews for academic years 2006-07 and 2007-08

I’m continuing to attempt to locate documentation of an interview conducted with Carl Knox’s former secretary. Because Miami employees have been silent when I ask them about that interview, I’m seeking documents in which employees tend to be a little more talkative—their annual performance evaluations. I’m zeroing in on the year 2007, which is when I believe the interview was conducted.

Submitted 11/9/2021; Received acknowledgment 11/10/2021

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