Last week an FBI special agent rang up Cory Doctorow and told him he had questions about a blog post Cory had written in July about a Popular Mechanics article on the physics of toppling statues. Wisely, Cory put the FBI agent in touch with an attorney at the EFF and the attorney convinced the FBI to stop the foolish investigation immediately.
Now it's Cory's turn to investigate the FBI to find out why it opened an investigation on him without having a good reason. I can't wait to see what the FBI sends him.
From Cory's Pluralistic:
Even though my EFF colleague Mark Rumold called the (very professional) special agent, got him to agree that the post (a link to a Popular Mechanics article on the science of toppling monuments) was within my First Amendment rights, I wasn't done.
Today, thanks to the help of the self-described FOIA fiend Aaron Mackey, I sent the FBI a FOIA request for:
- Any and all records that reflect or otherwise describe any investigations, assessments, or other actions taken by the FBI concerning my July blog post,
- Any and all records, such as reports, memoranda, or notes relating to, or describing me that reflect or otherwise describe the January 12 communications between the FBI agent, me, and my legal counsel, and
- Any and all records created, collected, or maintained by the FBI that otherwise describe or relate to any FBI investigations, assessments, or other actions concerning me regarding any other protected First Amendment activities.
But that's just for openers!
- Pursuant to the Privacy Act, I further request that I be allowed to inspect and correct any records maintained about me. 5 U.S.C. §§ 552a(d)(1)-(2).
- I further request that the FBI—after allowing me to inspect and correct any and all records maintained about me—expunge or otherwise destroy records it collects and maintains that document, reflect, or otherwise describe my exercise of First Amendment rights.
So: let me see what you've got, then delete everything about my protected speech activities. This is a right that every person who is investigated for protected speech is entitled to under the Privacy Act.
Here's the letter I sent; I'm not a lawyer, and you probably aren't either, but it might help you draft your own letter if you get into the same absurd predicament