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 (or shortly thereafter). When applicable, I’ve also linked to pertinent documents.
Listed below are the statuses of some of the more promising requests. I am pursuing new ones as they arise.
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 feature: the latest updates will be highlighted in yellow as you scroll down the page.
Open Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests
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:
- 146201 – Cover memos (10/15/75 and 5/7/53) and report titled “Some Areas of Psychiatric Interest,” including PREFACE and TABLE OF CONTENTS, dated Sept. 5, 1952; Presumed Report Author: St. Clair Adna Switzer
- 149546 – Letter, dated Dec. 6, 1956; Presumed Recipient: Griffith Wynne Williams, Presumed Author: St. Clair Adna Switzer
- 148193 – Cover letter and proposal titled “STUDIES IN THE MILITARY APPLICATION OF HYPNOTISM: 1. The Hypnotic Messenger,” dated Feb. 6, 1957; Presumed Proposal Author: Louis Jolyon West, Presumed Associate: St. Clair Switzer
- 149547 – Letter, dated Feb. 8, 1957; Presumed Recipient: Griffith Wynne Williams, Presumed Author: St. Clair Adna Switzer
Submitted 8/19/2021; acknowledgment received 11/24/2021
Inspection Division inventory of files in Ident Missing Person File Room, whether in Room 1126 Identification Building or 9961 J. Edgar Hoover Building
I am seeking paperwork created by a representative of the Inspection Division when inspecting the contents of the “Ident Missing Person File Room” at any point in time that it was in existence before 1980. The Inspection Division was responsible for inspecting each division of FBI Headquarters on a yearly basis. The Ident Missing Person File Room had once been located in room 1126 of the Identification Building when the FBI still occupied that building. After the J. Edgar Hoover Building was completed in 1975, it was relocated to room 9961 JEH.
Submitted 6/24/2022; response received 7/6/2022
As I pretty much expected, the FBI’s response was that my request for an inventory of files in the Missing Person File Room was not searchable in their indices. Therefore, I’ve submitted a new request immediately below this one.
All Audit and Inspection reports for the Identification Division and the Files and Communications Division from January 1, 1970 through December 31, 1975
I am seeking all AUDIT REPORTS and INSPECTION REPORTS that were produced during the time period of January 1, 1970 through December 31, 1975, for the Identification Division and Files and Communications Division and their respective branches.
According to the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General’s webpage https://oig.justice.gov/foia, these reports are considered public information and therefore, no FOIA request is required. However, because audit and inspection reports for the time period in question are not readily accessible online, I’m submitting a FOIA request for your assistance in providing them to me.
Submitted 7/24/2022; acknowledgment received 8/4/2022; response received 8/9/2022
Their response: “unable to identify records subject to the FOIPA that are responsive to your request.” I’ve submitted an appeal to the DOJ. (See below.)
Personnel records for FBI employee in Room 9961 JEH Building in 1975
I am seeking the personnel records for an employee of the FBI’s Identification Division who had occupied room 9961 of the J. Edgar Hoover Building (JEH) in 1975. Room 9961 JEH was also the location of the Ident Missing Person File Room at that time. I’m attempting to determine who oversaw the Ident Missing Person File Room and what its purpose was.
Submitted 7/2/2022; acknowledgment received 7/13/2022; response received 7/26/2022
Their response was: “unable to identify records subject to the FOIPA that are responsive to your request” with this additional info: “Potentially responsive records were identified during the search. However, we were advised that they were not in their expected locations. An additional search for the missing records also met with unsuccessful results. Since we were unable to review the records, we were unable to determine if they were responsive to your request.” 🤦🏻♀️
Additional Record Sheets that have been released through FOIA since 1970
I am seeking all Additional Record Sheets that have been released to members of the public through FOIA from January 1, 1970 through today’s date.
Under the manual system, Additional Record Sheets were maintained inside the fingerprint jackets housed in the Identification Division. When fingerprint cards were digitized under IAFIS and, later, NGI, Additional Record Sheets were digitized as well. They are maintained by the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division. These records are NOT part of the Central Records System. A photograph of an Identification staffer examining an Additional Record Sheet along with someone’s fingerprints is attached.
Submitted 7/24/2022; response received 8/9/2022
Here’s their response: “Your request for the above referenced subject is not searchable in our indices.”
Department of Justice
According to a web page on the authority of U.S. Attorneys in criminal matters (see https://www.justice.gov/jm/jm-9-2000-authority-us-attorney-criminal-division-mattersprior-approvals#9-2.111#9-2.111), item #9-79.400 requires U.S. Attorneys to notify the Policy and Statutory Enforcement Unit, Office of Enforcement Operations, Criminal Division before declining to prosecute a case. Specifically, the Justice Manual states: “Notification is required before declining to prosecute failure to register with the Selective Service. 18 U.S.C. App. § 462 Consultation is required prior to dismissing a count involving, or entering into any sentence commitment or other case settlement in a case involving failure to register with the Selective Service. 50 U.S.C. App. § 462.”
I am seeking documents from the Policy and Statutory Enforcement Unit of the Criminal Division or a predecessor/equivalent unit of the Criminal Division for ALL DISMISSAL NOTIFICATIONS received for the period of January 1-December 31, 1955 from U.S. Attorneys throughout the United States. This would include notifications for individuals who failed to register with the Selective Service as well as notifications for individuals who had registered with the Selective Service but who did not show up to their draft board when ordered to do so.
Submitted: 2/25/2022; acknowledgment received 3/14/2022, stating “Because your request presents ‘unusual circumstances’ (See 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(B)(i)- (iii)), we are extending the time limit to respond to your request an additional ten days as provided by the statute.”
Update 6/2/2022: I wrote to them yesterday seeking a status update. They responded today and said that my request has been assigned to the complex track and “at this time, we estimate that this request will be completed within one year.”
Fyi, here’s how the term “unusual circumstances” is defined in 552(a)(6)(B)iii:
(iii)As used in this subparagraph, “unusual circumstances” means, but only to the extent reasonably necessary to the proper processing of the particular requests—
(I) the need to search for and collect the requested records from field facilities or other establishments that are separate from the office processing the request;
(II) the need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are demanded in a single request; or
(III) the need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with another agency having a substantial interest in the determination of the request or among two or more components of the agency having substantial subject-matter interest therein.
National Archives and Records Administration
I am seeking to view accession record #LTI-0065-2015-0002, which are the Classification 79 (Missing Persons), FBI Headquarters Case Files from 2/10/1947 thru 10/09/1980. (See link: https://www.governmentattic.org/38docs/NARAfbiFilesXfrd_Jan2010-Dec2015.pdf. I’m also attaching a screen shot from another web page that has additional identifying numbers.)
Submitted 6/6/2022; acknowledgment received 6/6/2022
The National Archives now has the FBI’s missing person files from 1947 through 1980, which is the year when the FBI stopped maintaining MP files, and passed the baton to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). There’s no way that they have all of them–the files only take up 1.077 cubic feet. But whatever they do have could tell us a lot about how Ron’s case was handled in comparison. The archivist let me know that that they have a queue and are short-staffed, but are working as fast as they can. And then…road trip to DC!
General Services Administration
Room assignments for the cleaning and maintenance of the 11th floor of the J. Edgar Hoover Building
Seeking all available paperwork for the period of August 15, 1975 through August 15, 1976 that documents staff responsibilities for the cleaning and maintenance of the 11th floor of the J. Edgar Hoover Building. Specifically, I’m requesting 1) room assignments for maintenance routes on the 11th floor and 2) room assignments for custodial routes on the 11th floor.
Submitted 2/3/2022; acknowledgment received 2/8/2022
Several recent FOIA outcomes
Master list of files in Room 1126 Identification Building from 1/1/1973 thru 12/31/1973
I sought the master list or lists of files that were maintained in Room 1126 of the Identification Building, at 2nd and D Streets, SW, during the period of January 1 through December 31, 1973. Room 1126 was also known as the Ident Missing Person File Room. It’s my understanding that the master list/s were maintained by the Filing Unit of the Files and Communications Division.
Submitted 5/31/2022; response received 6/7/2022
The FBI’s response was “your request for the above referenced subject is not searchable in our indices.”
Master key to first floor of DOJ Building
Courtney Allen Evans, who was hired as head of the FBI’s Special Investigative Division in 1961, had received a master key to rooms on the first and seventh floors of the Special Investigative Division as part of his official duties.
I was seeking all records pertaining to the creation/manufacture of the master key for the first floor of the Department of Justice Building and the room numbers to which the master key provided access.
I’d been attempting to find out if there was a room 1126 in the DOJ Building as part of the Special Investigative Division of the FBI.
Submitted 2/25/2022; acknowledgment received 3/9/2022; response received by mail, dated 5/18/2022
They checked their Central Records System and: “were unable to identify records subject to the FOIPA that are responsive to your request.” Well, no worries. I now know that room 1126 was in the Identification Building. Here’s the write-up.
Paperwork documenting the expungement of FBI fingerprint records ‘initiated in or prior to 2002’
According to an email dated April 15, 2021, from the FBI’s records and information specialist to an employee of the National Archives and Records Administration, an expungement of FBI fingerprint records had been “initiated in or prior to 2002 with the final action taken in June of 2002.” I sought the accompanying paperwork for all individuals who were included with the above initiated expungement EXCLUDING the individual who was discussed in this memo. Responsive paperwork could include documents described in Memo 14 dated June 8, 2000 from the FOIPA manual or other related documentation.
Submitted 5/12/2022; response received 5/19/2022
Their response was: “Based on the information you provided, we conducted a search of the places reasonably expected to have records. However, we were unable to identify records subject to the FOIPA that are responsive to your request.”
I’ll be pulling together additional info and submitting a new FOIA.
All fingerprint expungement requests due to the Privacy Act for the time period of Jan 1, 1999-June 30, 2002
I’ve been trying to find any other fingerprint expungements that took place at around the same time as Ron’s. Per this memo, I sought all “correspondence between the Bureau and the requester” that was forwarded by the FBI’s FOIPA office to a paralegal specialist in the Field Coordination Team who handled all correction and amendment requests for the FBI. The documents should pertain to all person who requested the early destruction of their fingerprints during the time period of JANUARY 1, 1999 through JUNE 30, 2002.
Submitted: 1/1/2022; sent a status update request on 3/30/2022 and was told on 3/31/2022 that they’d mailed a response to me on 1/6/2022. I asked them to send it again and received their second letter in early April. (As for the first letter they allegedly mailed, I’m still waiting on that one.)
The FBI’s response was as follows: “Based on the information you provided, we conducted a search of the places reasonably expected to have records. However, we were unable to identify records responsive to your request.”
Fletcher D. Thompson’s FBI personnel records
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 request, I sought all available personnel records on Fletcher Dew Thompson, whose career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation extended from 1941 to 1975. I was attempting to locate potentially useful background information regarding FBI operations and personnel, including someone (perhaps) with the initials MSL.
Submitted 11/28/2021; acknowledgment received 1/4/2022; response received 4/6/2022
Initially, the FBI’s negotiating team estimated that the time would be 64 months for his full file, however, after some back and forth with them, I reduced the scope to “all documents from 1973.” Here are those documents (48 pages plus cover):
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 submitted a request for mediation from the Office of Government Information Services, but the FBI denied them additional searches on the basis of my settlement agreement. There’s nothing more I can do with regards to Ron Tammen’s Additional Record Sheets, since I’m unable to file a lawsuit.
- Richard Colvin Cox
Submitted 4/14/2021; response received 4/20/21; Sought Richard Cox’s Additional Record Sheets. Was denied on the basis of my 2014 lawsuit settlement. I appealed to the DOJ (see new details below).
- Lee Harvey Oswald
Submitted 4/15/2021; FBI response 4/20/2021: “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; FBI response 5/17/2021: “Unable to identify records responsive to this request.“
- James Earl Ray
Submitted 4-17-2021; FBI response 5/17/2021: “Unable to identify records responsive to this request.“
- Lyndal B. Ashby
Submitted 5/11/2021; received acknowledgment by mail 12/6/2021; received response 1/31/2022, which was a copy of Ashby’s military fingerprint record. See Tuesday Two-fer blog post for detailed write-up on the response.
Missing person documents filed by the Cincinnati Field Office in 1973
Sought all documents pertaining to missing person cases—both newly opened and ongoing—submitted by the Cincinnati Field Office for the time period of January 1 to December 31, 1973. I was attempting to determine how common or uncommon it was for one of their agents to follow up on a missing person case.
Submitted 12/5/2021; FBI response 12/10/2021: “unable to identify records responsive to your request;” appealed 12/11/2021; appeal response 1/27/2022: “After carefully considering your appeal, I am affirming the FBI’s action on your request. The FBI informed you that it could locate no responsive records subject to the FOIA in its files. I have determined that the FBI’s action was correct and that it conducted an adequate, reasonable search for such records.”
I don’t view this ruling as a bad thing. They may not have investigated other missing persons cases. This ruling may actually validate our hypothesis that Ron’s case was out-of-the-ordinary.
FBI files on Richard Floyd McCoy, Jr.
I submitted this request because it pertains to the D.B. Cooper story. Occasionally, I’d wondered if D.B. might have been Ron, though I figured it wasn’t likely. Recently, a reader sent me a link to a video by longtime D.B. Cooper researcher Dan Gryder, who presents a compelling case that D.B. Cooper was Richard Floyd McCoy, Jr. You can watch his video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UuRpW8wdVA
The FBI had investigated Mr. McCoy, however they supposedly had ruled him out for reasons that (imo) didn’t make sense. Although this is not my story, and I’m not trying to stick my nose where it’s not needed, I thought it would be interesting to submit a FOIA request to see what the FBI had to say among themselves about Mr. McCoy.
Submitted: 12/24/2021; acknowledgment received 1/6/2022; response received 3/10/2022
The FBI has sent me 1,374 pages of records that had already been released to someone else. There may be others, but I’m not going to pursue them because it’s not my topic. Here are the five groupings that were sent to me.
Department of Justice
All Audit and Inspection reports for the Identification Division and the Files and Communications Division from January 1, 1970 through December 31, 1975
I submitted an appeal to my request in which I was seeking all audit and inspection reports that were produced during the time period of January 1, 1970 through December 31, 1975, for the Identification Division and Files and Communications Division and their respective branches. Their response was that they’d conducted a search of the Central Records System and were “unable to identify records subject to the FOIPA that are responsive to your request.”
Here’s my appeal:
This response is unacceptable. Does the FBI’s FOIPA office honestly not know where to find its own historical audit and inspection reports? If a search of the Central Records System doesn’t yield these basic public records, then how are they accessed by FBI staff?
I realize that the CRS is the customary database for conducting FOIA searches, but this is a request for internal FBI reports that should already be accessible to the public. I am asking that the FBI search the indices in which these public records are most likely to be retrieved and retrieve them.
I respect the FBI and DOJ and the important work you do. But when an FBI FOIPA representative sends a response like this, they’re conveying one message: they honestly don’t care–certainly, not about me, a taxpaying citizen, but also not about what the DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General has communicated to the public about FOIA. Running a futile CRS search and closing the case immediately may improve the FBI’s FOIA response counts, but it isn’t a viable response. They’re not even trying.
I’d be extremely grateful if you would remand my appeal so that I may be able to obtain the reports I’m seeking.
Additional Record Sheets for Richard Cox
Sought 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 saga. And here’s a link to the closing paragraph of my appeal.
On 3/30/22, the DOJ’s Office of Information Policy remanded my appeal, sending it back to the FBI for further processing. On 4/1/2022, the FBI responded to the remandment as follows: “Records regarding your subject were previously reviewed and released to you pursuant to the FOIPA. An additional search was conducted, and no additional records were located. Therefore, your request is being administratively closed.”
They’d barely given me time to celebrate. I appealed the FBI’s response on the basis that the FBI had not looked in the proper location for the records I’m seeking. The responsive documents would be housed in the former Identification Division, now Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS), under Richard Cox’s FBI#, which is #357 872 A. Based on the documents I’ve received, the FBI had only searched in their Central Records System for Cox’s documents.
Submitted 4/21/2021; response received 3/30/2022; FBI responded 4/1/2022; submitted follow-up appeal 5/11/2022; acknowledgment received 5/12/2022; response received 6/16/2022
On June 16, 2022, I heard back from the DOJ, and they sided with the FBI this round. Unfortunately, there’s nowhere to go but a lawsuit, and I can’t afford to sue them for this. But I think it’s clear that the FBI has no interest in releasing anyone’s Additional Record Sheets (ARS’s), let alone those for someone whose disappearance they likely already know the answer to. The only person whose ARS’s I’d supposedly received were those of Lyndal Ashby, and the FBI had only sent me his fingerprints, not his ARS’s. As of this date, I don’t believe the FBI has ever released someone’s Additional Record Sheets to the public.
Seeking declassification of names on the list of ARTICHOKE study group panelists to see if some of the individuals we’ve been discussing (e.g., St. Clair Switzer, Louis Jolyon West, etc.) 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’ve estimated a ruling for my appeal on December 8, 2022.
Open Mandatory Declassification Review requests
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 belief 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.
Open Ohio Public Records Law requests
I’m continuing to attempt to locate documentation of an interview conducted with Carl Knox’s former secretary.
Seeking 3 unposted university recordings for Miami’s Oral History Project or related Request for Records Destruction documents
According to the Office of General Council web page on Records and Retention, Miami University records include “sound recordings, video recordings or photographs of University faculty, staff, groups or events.” The web page further stipulates that, once a record has reached the end of its retention time, a “Request for Records Destruction must be submitted at that time to the Office of General Counsel.”
This public records request has two parts:
1) I am seeking to view or obtain copies of three recordings that are referred to in the attached 2008 progress report for the Miami University Oral History Project. As I’ve highlighted in yellow, the recordings were created but not posted online “for miscellaneous reasons.”
2) If one or more of the above three recordings no longer exists, I am seeking the signed Request for Records Destruction document(s) submitted to the Office of General Counsel at that time.
Submitted 2/10/2022; acknowledgment and response received 3/2/2022
According to university representatives, they don’t know which three recordings their 2008 progress report is referring to. I believe I need assistance from an unbiased third party in order to arrive at the answer. Therefore, I’ve filed a complaint with the Ohio Court of Claims.
Submitted 3/10/2022; reviewed and accepted by clerk’s office 3/10/2022. The first mediation meeting occurred 6/8/2022; the second mediation meeting took place 7/5/2022; the mediation meeting scheduled for 8/12/2022 was postponed. A new mediation meeting was held on 8/31/2022.
9/2/2022: I’ve provided an update at the blog post Miami U can’t produce the hockey coach tape. Here’s why that’s a very big deal.
Recent Ohio Public Records Law request outcomes
Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation
Documents pertaining to the expungement of Ronald Tammen’s fingerprint records in 2002 due to a court order
Sought all segregable records pertaining to the expungement of Ronald Tammen’s fingerprint records that took place in the year 2002 due to a court order.
Submitted: 1/29/2022; BCI response received 1/31/2022: “Upon review of BCI’s records, BCI does not have any records responsive to your specific request. As such, this concludes BCI’s response to your request.“
See Tuesday Two-fer blog post for detailed write-up on the response.