The FBI has finally confirmed that a civil rights activist who disappeared while supporting Native Americans in South Dakota four decades was murdered, the Buffalo News reports.
Roy Robinson went missing after arriving at Wounded Knee to support the American Indian Movement’s fight against the federal government.
The discovery wasn’t easy for his wife, Cheryl Robinson.
Two lawyers were forced to file Freedom of Information Act requests to access the information, which shows the FBI suspected AIM was behind the murder.
“They confirm the rumors that have been floating out there for years,” said Michael Kuzma, one of the Robinson family’s lawyers. “The only missing part of the puzzle is where Ray’s buried.”
Posted: February 18th, 2014 under News Story.
Tags: AIM, civil rights, FBI, FOIA, Native Americans, South Dakota, wounded knee
A confidential Justice Department legal opinion on the extent of the FBI’s surveillance authority does not have to be released to the public, a federal appeals court ruled, the Washington Post reports.
The January 2010 memo gave the FBI permission to gather phone call records from telecommunications companies.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the memo was not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
“The District Court correctly concluded that the unclassified portions of the OLC Opinion could not be released without harming the deliberative processes of the government by chilling the candid and frank communications necessary for effective governmental decision-making,” the court said in its opinion written by D.C. Circuit Judge Harry T. Edwards.
Posted: January 6th, 2014 under News Story.
Tags: DOJ, FBI, FOIA, Justice Department, phone tapping, US Court of Appeals, wire tapping
New documents reveal more about the FBI’s cell phone surveillance group, which has the technology to listen to anyone’s calls, Slate reports.
The surveillance method was revealed in new documents received by the civil rights group, Electronic Privacy Information Center, using the Freedom of Information Act.
The technology, most commonly referred to as “Stingrays” are portable surveillance transceivers that trick phones into transferring onto a fake network, Slate wrote.
The FBI maintains it uses the phones to track information of individual suspects, but the group believes the surveillance may violate the federal Communications Act because it interferes with the cellphone signals.
Posted: October 9th, 2013 under FBI, News Story.
Tags: cell phone surveillance, civil rights, Electronic Privacy Information Center, FOIA, freedom of information act
In the six hours before radical American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki entered the Pentagon for a luncheon in February 2002, he was being tracked by the FBI’s elite surveillance unit, Fox News reports.
Records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show the bureau’s Special Surveillance Group trailed al-Awlaki, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011.
Fox News wrote that al-Awlaki was delivering a controversial religious lecture to Defense Department officials after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The surveillance didn’t reveal much, Fox News reported, but it raised questions about whether the FBI saw al-Awlaki as an asset before the U.S. killed him nine years later.
Posted: September 13th, 2013 under FBI, News Story.
Tags: anwar al-Awlaki, defense department, FOIA, freedom of information act, Muslim cleric, radical cleric, Special Surveillance Group, US drone strike, Yemen
The FBI continues to investigate Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings, who died in a car crash in June, for “controversial reporting,” Al Jazeera America reports.
The bureau opened a file on Hastings on June 11, 2012 “to memorialize controversial reporting by Rolling Stone magazine on June 7, 2012,” according to records obtained by the news agency in a FOIA request.
The story, called “America’s Last Prisoner of War,” featured a lengthy investigation about U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured by the Taliban in June 2009.
Details of the investigation remain fuzzy, but the FBI documents describe Hastings’ store as igniting “a media frenzy, speculating about the circumstances of [redacted] capture, and whether U.S. resources and effort should continue to be expended for his recovery.”
Posted: September 10th, 2013 under FBI, News Story.
Tags: America's Last Prisoner of War, Bowe Bergdahl, controversial reporting, FBI, FOIA, Michael Hastings, Rolling Stone
The FBI is releasing dozens of investigative files involving civil rights-era photographer Ernest Withers as part of a lawsuit with The Commercial Appeal of Memphis, Tenn., CNN reports.
Among the files is an investigation of Martin Luther King Jr. while in Memphis in 1968, CNN reported.
The bureau also examined the NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Conference and peace and black power movements.
The files are expected to shed light on how deeply the FBI probed the lives of civil rights leaders.
The newspaper won the right to examine the records after reaching a settlement under the Freedom of Information Act.
Posted: February 26th, 2013 under FBI, News Story.
Tags: civil rights, FBI, FOIA, MLK, naacp
Aaron Swartz, an online activist who committed suicide last month, was being closely tracked by the FBI, Salon reports.
Records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show agents monitored the 26-year-old’s activity on the internet and collected information on even banal online activity, Salon wrote.
The probe began when the FBI suspected Swartz of downloading millions of albums.
Although it was determined he committed no crime by downloading the albums, he came under fire and was charged in connection with downloading millions of academic articles.
Posted: February 21st, 2013 under FBI, News Story.
Tags: Aaron Swartz, FBI, FOIA
A Tennessee death row inmate has been denied access to FBI records that he says would overturn his 1998 conviction for the murder of a Memphis motel clerk, the Associated Press reports.
A federal appeals court reaffirmed the FBI’s right to redact information under the Freedom of Information Act.
The redacted records, inmate Michael Dale Rimmer argues, contain information from witnesses who said he was the wrong suspect, the AP reported.
But the FBI won its argument that the names of those witnesses aren’t important enough to trump the privacy rights of witnesses, the AP wrote.
Posted: November 26th, 2012 under FBI, News Story.
Tags: death row, FOIA, freedom of information act, privacy rights, redacted, Tennessee, witness