J Edgar Hoover was angry that the Boy Scouts didn't thank him effusively enough


Michael from Muckrock writes, "From Boy Scouts to movie stars, no one was safe from J. Edgar Hoover's all-watching surveillance apparatus at the FBI -- or his sharp tongue. MuckRock has put together a collection of his most biting insults to serve up at Thanksgiving, in case you need to put any of the in-laws on notice." Read the rest

J Edgar Hoover loved Efrem Zimbalist's "FBI"


Michael from Muckrock writes, "While J. Edgar Hoover wasn't a big fan of much media in the 60s -- he worked to rewrite one of Hitchcock's scripts and made Walt Disney re-work Tomorrowland -- there was one show that struck a chord: ABC's The FBI." Read the rest

Ol' Dirty Bastard's FBI files

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Michael from Muckrock writes, "Mr. Russell Jones. Maybe the name doesn't ring any bells for you. On February 3, 1999, when the Federal Bureau of Investigation first ran their records on him, there were over a thousand people that made that match. In New York, there were 196. Another 164 of them turned up as living nearby in New Jersey. Perhaps you'd recognize him by another name. After all, there was only one Ol' Dirty Bastard. Today, on the 12th anniversary of his death, MuckRock takes a look at his voluminous files with the FBI. Read the rest

The DoJ won't let anyone in the Executive Branch read the CIA Torture Report


The Senate's 6,700 page, $40M report on the CIA's participation in torture has apparently never been read by a single member of the Executive Branch of the US Government, because the Department of Justice has ordered them all to stay away from it. Read the rest

The CIA writes like Lovecraft, Bureau of Prisons is like Stephen King, & NSA is like...


Michael from Muckrock writes, "When MuckRock stumbled on I Write Like - a service that lets you see which famous author a given piece of writing resembles - they immediately knew what it was destined for: Helping shed light on on the literary influences of the mysterious FOIA offices they deal with on a daily basis. Fittingly, some offices echo HP Lovecraft's dark horror, while others are more Dan Brown. But you'll never guess which agency seems to take a cue from Cory Doctorow ..." Read the rest

A Freedom of Information request for UK Home Secretary Theresa May's metadata


When UK Home Secretary Theresa May introduced the new, sweeping UK spying bill this week, she reiterated her claim that metadata is like an "itemised phone bill" and does not contain anything harmful. Read the rest

Christ, what an asshole.


Chris Grayling, UK Tory MP and leader of the House of Commons: The Freedom of Information act isn't for journalism, it's for "those who want to understand why and how government is taking decisions." If you want to hold your government accountable, you, personally, should do it, without any help from the press. It will make Britain great again. Read the rest

J Edgar Hoover fought to write ex-FBI agents out of Hitchcock's scripts


Michael from Muckrock writes, "Like almost everyone else in the J. Edgar Hoover era, Alfred Hitchcock managed to catch the attention of the FBI, leading to a 16-page file. Did it investigate the rumored murders the Master of Suspense committed? Secretive ties to foreign states? Nope, mostly just the fact that, in one episode of Hitchcock Presents, a bad guy was briefly referenced to be a 'former FBI agent,' a plot point that the Bureau worked surprisingly hard to change ... perhaps worth of a Hitchcock treatment all its own. Read on for the full story." Read the rest

Five private prison myths that Muckrock will bust with its crowdfunded Freedom of Information Act blitz


Michael from Muckrock writes, "MuckRock's crowdfunding campaign to fund a series of FOIA requests and an investigation into America's Private Prison industry is in its last weeks, and the project's reporter, Beryl Lipton, has put together a list factchecking the industry's primary talking points, ranging from how they end up costing tax payers more than traditional prisons to how the industry actively works to build up the market by lobbying against policies that would reduce sentences -- and their margins." Read the rest

1980: the Director of the FBI mixes up KISS & The Who, confusing the hell out of FBI agents


Michael from Muckrock writes, "Before rock legends KISS embarked on their 1980 'Unmasked' Tour of Europe, then FBI Director William H. Webster put out a request to field offices for information regarding instances of 'civil unrest' associated with the band's concerts, particularly an incident in Texas which escalated to open attacks on police. The field officers' response was unanimous - they had no idea what the Director was talking about. That and more details await in the FBI's files on KISS." Read the rest

Information leakage shows DEA blew millions on the secret phone trackers it won't admit it bought


Michael from Muckrock says, "Over the past ten years, the Drug Enforcement Administration has spent millions of dollars on cell phone tracking. Federal purchasing documents that are already posted online indicate the make and model of the tracking device, and often even the DEA field office that bought it, according to federal payment records reviewed by MuckRock." Read the rest

Kim Davis isn't doing her job. Again.

Rowan County, KY Clerk Kim Davis [Reuters]

Kim Davis isn't doing her job again. Michael from Muckrock writes, "This time, she's falling short on responding to public records requests, particularly one relating to her controversial visit with Pope Francis." Read the rest

Walt Disney's plan for the FBI of tomorrow


Michael from Muckrock: "Union-busting Walt Disney became cozy with J. Edgar Hoover, the iconic animator's FBI files show, helping shut down dissident workers while infusing Disney programming with fond portrayals of federal enforcement. Disney even wanted to dedicate a special section of Tomorrowland to highlighting the Bureau of tomorrow -- which ended up being a step too far for America's head investigative agency." Read the rest

Campus cops: all the powers of real cops, none of the accountability


Michael from Muckrock writes, "Want some transparency from your local police? Then public records law is probably on your side if you're in the US -- unless you happen to be a college student. MuckRock's Shawn Musgrave looks at the broad exemptions that give campus police almost all the rights and powers of regular cops, without any of the public accountability."

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FBI used Burning Man to field-test new surveillance equipment

The FBI's 2012 file on its Burning Man surveillance, obtained via Freedom of Information Act requests, reveals that America's domestic spy agency for at least five years, and has been using the event as an opportunity to try out its latest toys, with help from Pershing County sheriff's deputies. Read the rest

After Katrina, FBI prioritized cellphone surveillance

Michael from Muckrock sez, "There's a lot of lessons that the federal government should have learned in the aftermath of Katrina. Increased domestic surveillance, however, appears to be the one the FBI took to heart, using the natural disaster as a justification for ramping up its use of Stingray cell phone tracking throughout Louisiana after the storm." Read the rest

The FBI kept files on author Ray Bradbury: "Definitely slanted against the United States"

Michael from Muckrock writes, "The FBI followed Ray Bradbury's career very closely, in part because an informant warned them that his writing was not enjoyable fantasy, but rather tantamount to psychological warfare." Read the rest

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