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Tag: freedom of information act

New Documents: FBI Worried Nelson Mandela Posed a Significant Communist Threat

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI closely monitored Nelson Mandela after the Cold War ended, fearing that the South American president was a national security risk, according to documents obtained by Al Jazeera.

The records show concerns among the U.S. that Mandela was a possible communist threat after he was released from prison, even as President George H. W. Bush cultivated a relationship with him and his African National Congress.

The FBI infiltrated Mandela’s meetings with a confidential informant and spied on his gatherings with world leaders, according to the records.

The heavily redacted documents were turned over to a historian, Ryan Shapiro, as part of a Freedom of Information Act request.

Civil Rights Group Gets Access to Phone Secret Surveillance Unit Information

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

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.

FBI Trailed U.S.-born al-Awlaki Nine Years Before He Was Killed by Drone

al-Awlaki

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

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.

 

 

Court: Death Row Inmate Doesn’t Have Right to Access All Records Related to Case

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 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.

Log of Complaints Shows Misconduct Among Secret Service Employees

secret service photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 A log of complaints against Secret Service employees shows a variety of misconduct, including an allegation that an agent was intoxicated while he was supposed to be protecting a foreign leader, Bloomberg News reports.

The federal government released the 229-page log this weekend in response to a Freedom of Information Act by news organizations following accusations that federal agents were consorting with prostitutes while preparing for President Barack Obama’s arrival in Columbia in April.

Logs show other cases of prostitution, Bloomberg reports.

FBI Kept File on Christopher Hitchens

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI kept a file on the  late outspoken writer Christopher Hitchens, the website Historiographic Anarchy reports.

The website reported that the FBI released through the Freedom of Information Act, 19 pages on Hitchens, some which show he was the subject of an FBI Foreign Counterintelligence probe. He died in December at age 62 after a long fight with cancer.

The site reported that the first two pages involve a check requested by the Immigration and Naturalization in March 2005.

The next five pages reveal that he was the subject of a foreign counterintelligence probe and there is a discussion of his socialist-Trotskyist activities in Oxford and that he was traveling in the U.S. on a student scholarship.

Files also pertained to a Secret Service request for info in 1983 after Hitchens requested a White House press pass.

To read more click here.

Judge Rules FBI Must Pay Muslim Groups Legal Fees for Lying About Existence of Records in Freedom of Information Case

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

After five years of legal wrangling, a federal judge in California ruled Thursday that the FBI must pay the legal fees of Muslim activist groups that sued the agency over a Freedom of Information Act case.

U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney, in a written ruling, said his decision was not based on the merits of the case, but rather to “punish a government that chose to lie to its own judicial system,” reports ABC News. ”The Court must impose monetary sanctions to deter the Government from deceiving the Court again,”

The FBI had denied the existence of files the group was asking for and had claimed that admitting the files in question existed would have compromised national security.  The court refuted that claim.

“And the Court rejects the Government’s suggestion that it initially had to deceive the Court to protect national security. The Government could have availed itself of routine court procedures without compromising national security,” Carney wrote.

The case was decided in favor of the Islamic Shura Council, a group composed of six Muslim-American community organizations and five community leaders.

To read more click here.