Aaron Swartz's FBI File

Aaron Swartz spent many years trying to get the FBI to cough up its file on him. Now that Aaron is dead, that file is automatically declassified, so FireDogLake's DSWright decided to request it, and has posted it, with a summary:

Exceptions aside, the records reveal that the FBI investigated Swartz for his role in the accessing the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) documents. Swartz himself was aware that he was being investigated and would later send a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for his own FBI file. Swartz’s request seems to be different than what I received at least in redactions for example the 4/16/2009 meeting was apparently with Swartz’s lawyer Andrew Good who refused to talk to the FBI unless an assurance was given that his client would not be hurt – no assurance would be given so no further conversation took place.

There is another odd redaction on 2/19/2009. The FBI agent writes a report that includes information from a New York Times article but redacts one of the names that is actually listed in the article – Carl Malamud. Malamud also seems to be the one referenced in the 4/15/2009 report in a conversation with the FBI claiming he did not know “how Aaron did it.”

Overall the files tell you more about the FBI than they do Swartz. They collected information from Linked In, followed his blog posts, and even thought his membership in the “Long-term Planning Committee for the Human Race” was worthy of note. There is also a Kafkaesque entry concerning Swartz’s blog post NYT Personals which includes the question “Want to have the F.B.I. open up a file on you as well?” – which I read for the first time in Swartz’s FBI file. One can only wonder what is in the two classified pages of Swartz’s FBI file.

Aaron Swartz’s FBI File

Aaron H. Swartz FBI File by Daniel Wright