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.
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!). I’ve revised and resubmitted some of the more promising requests and am pursuing 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 feature: the latest updates will be highlighted in yellow as you scroll down the page. Also, records requests that haven’t yet received an acknowledgment or that are otherwise in limbo will be highlighted. (That’s more for me, to help me keep track and, when need be, to follow up.)
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
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 am seeking 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 may include documents described in Memo 14 dated June 8, 2000 from the FOIPA manual or other related documentation.
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 am 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’m 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
Newman’s key receipts
In February 1976, an FBI Special Investigative Division employee with the last name of Newman had an office in room 1127 of the Department of Justice Building. I am seeking all “Receipts for Government Property” listing room keys that had been issued to this employee for work in his official capacity.
I’m attempting to find out if Newman might have had access to room 1126.
Submitted 2/25/2022; acknowledgment received 3/9/2022
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.”
5/12/2022 update: Oy. Some fights just aren’t worth all the hassle. Rather than appealing this response, I’ve decided to take a new tact and I’ve submitted a new FOIA request that could be even more effective. It’s at the top of this list, under FBI.
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.”
5/12/2022 update: It’s been nearly 2 months since they last wrote that they were extending the time limit an additional 10 days. Time to check in and request a status update.
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.
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
Locks, clocks, and door signage
Sought all available paperwork from the time period of January 1, 1974 – December 31, 1975 that pertained to the installation of the following items in rooms occupied by the Identification Division in the newly constructed J. Edgar Hoover Building:
–room numbers which were designated to receive locks on doors
–room numbers in which clocks were to be installed
–room numbers which were designated to receive signage on doors
Submitted 1/28/2022; acknowledgment received 2/3/2022; response received 2/10/2022; follow-up response received 3/28/2022
After looking through their 1,211 pages of records, I found several Records Management requests from a person with the last name of Newman in office number 1127 in 1976. Those documents have led me to a new theory about the Ident Missing Person File Room, which I wrote about in a 2/23/22 blog post.
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’ve 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.
National Archives and Records Administration
Sought the approved floor plans for the 1st, 2nd, and 7th floors, as well as all other floors, of the J. Edgar Hoover Building in 1967. The floor plans were developed by the National Capital Planning Commission, and several are included in a 2014 General Services Administration document (figures 36-38).
Submitted 2/4/2022; acknowledgment received 2/7/2022; responses received 2/16/22 and 2/23/22
I received two detailed responses regarding floor plans of the J. Edgar Hoover Building. Some potentially responsive records have been found, however they’d require that I make the trip to College Park, MD, when COVID restrictions lift. Another office found records that weren’t responsive.
Department of Justice
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 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. It’s very clear that they don’t want to give up Richard Cox’s Additional Record Sheets.
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
I appealed the FBI’s response on the basis that the FBI has 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 has only searched in their Central Records System for Cox’s documents.
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 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.
Open Ohio Public Records Law requests
I’m continuing to attempt to locate documentation of an interview conducted with Carl Knox’s former secretary. I’m zeroing in on the year 2007, which is when I believe the interview was conducted.
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; a mediation meeting has been scheduled for 5/25/2022
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.