Court Slams FBI For Saying It's Okay For The Federal Government To Lie To A Court

from the who-watches-the-watchers? dept

A few months back, we pointed out how the EFF had discovered that the FBI was extremely arbitrary in how it redacted information on Freedom of Information Act requests. There are specific rules about what should be redacted and what should be allowed. However, the EFF received the same documents from separate requests, and found totally different sections redacted. Not only did this suggest how arbitrary the process was, it also allowed them to see some of what was redacted in the “other” document — and discover that it never should have been redacted.

Now, the EFF is pointing to a recent ruling that shows the FBI apparently feels it’s free to go much further than just arbitrary redacting. In a different case, a district court has slammed the FBI for both lying about what records it actually had in response to an FOIA request by pretending certain records did not exist (even though they did) and then redacting portions of the document, claiming that they were outside the scope of the request… when they were not. The court is clearly not pleased. It also did not buy the government’s silly claim that revealing that the FBI lied would be a threat to national security or that it’s fine for the federal government to simply lie to a court, in the name of “national security.”

After court ordered the FBI to submit full versions of the records in camera, along with a new declaration about the agency?s search, the FBI revealed for the first time that it had materially and fundamentally mislead the court in its earlier filings. The unaltered versions of the documents showed that the information the agency had withheld as ?outside the scope? was actually well within the scope of the plaintiffs? FOIA request. The government also admitted it had a large number of additional responsive documents that it hadn?t told the plaintiffs or the court about. Id. at 7-8.

If these revelations weren?t bad enough, the FBI also argued FOIA allows it to mislead the court where it believes revealing information would ?compromise national security.? Id. at 9. The FBI also argued, that ?its initial representations to the Court were not technically false? because although the information might have been ?factually? responsive to the plaintiffs? FOIA request, it was ?legally nonresponsive.? Id. at 9, n. 4 (emphasis added).

The court noted, this ?argument is indefensible,? id. at 9-10, and held, ?the FOIA does not permit the government to withhold responsive information from the court.?

It really does seem like our federal government tends to believe that there should be no oversight of it at all. It’s almost as if they feel that the basic principles of checks & balances within the government is a nuisance which it can ignore.

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Comments on “Court Slams FBI For Saying It's Okay For The Federal Government To Lie To A Court”

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41 Comments
Joe Publius (profile) says:

Re: Consequences?

Hear, hear!

If all these jackals ever get is a stern talking to, then they have absolutely no incentive to stop. They’ll just keep on lying to everyone and say it’s for our “National Security”, and expect us to be fine with the fact that they undermine our very Democracy, and as a result our nation each time they do it.

Anonymous Coward says:

This sounds more like a fundamental misunderstanding of the FOIA itself, rather than any genuine attempt to mislead – at least, that’s what Hanlon’s Razor would indicate.

The FOIA does allow the existence of records to be kept secret for national security concerns, and similarly, records can be factually responsive while being legally nonresponsive. Those have been established by case law as the FOIA Exclusions, of which there are three (not to be confused with exemptions).

The issue comes into play with the court involvement. It’s perfectly defensible for these steps to be taken with regard to the requester. As far as the Court is concerned it would be the FBI’s responsibility to approach the court initially, with the concern that there were issues related to the case that required in camera discussion.

In short, the FBI was potentially right in the idea that certain documents were legally non-responsive and legitimately not disclosed to the requester. During a FOIA appeal or litigation, however, that information cannot be witheld from the arbitrator, becasue the whole point at that juncture is to determine whether or not the judgements made were accurate.

Aa far as the arbitrary redacting – that’s a bit harder. the larger FOIA offices have many many people. Though they SHOULD be organized and coordinated, they often aren’t, and the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing. On top of that, the FOIA isn’t an exact science, and some judgement calls are extremely difficult. On top of that, the FOIA program is notoriously overworked, understaffed, underfunded, and reviled by insiders.

That being said, I’m not surprised there are huge discrepancies, and I’ not trying to excuse it either. Just trying to explain the internal mechanisims and systemic issues that probably led to this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It looks to me like they should have went with a non-committal “With the court’s permission, We would like to neither confirm or deny document X’s existence” and try to convince the court why. Outright lying to a judge is a big no no, and I’m surprised (disappointed) that all they’re getting is a stern letter for their punishment. I like these words from the ruling:

The Government asserts that it had to mislead the Court regarding the Government?s response to Plaintiffs? FOIA request to avoid compromising national security. The Government?s argument is untenable. The Government cannot, under any circumstance, affirmatively mislead the Court. The United States Constitution entrusts the Judiciary with the power to determine compliance with the law. It is impossible for the Court to determine compliance with the law and to protect the public from Government misconduct if the Government misleads the Court. The Court simply cannot perform its constitutional function if the Government does not tell the truth.

Anonymous Coward says:

It really does seem like our federal government tends to believe that there should be no oversight of it at all. It’s almost as if they feel that the basic principles of checks & balances within the government is a nuisance which it can ignore.

I just want them to declare martial law and get it over with. I’m sick of waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Thomas (profile) says:

Lying..

juts comes naturally to politicians and the spooks.

They don’t really care what the courts tell them, they just go ahead and do what they want. Breaking the law is considered acceptable by not just the spooks, but by all branches of the government.

Checks and balances is a joke these days anyway. Not only the spooks and the politicians, but also the courts receive nice gifts under the table.

Rekrul says:

It really does seem like our federal government tends to believe that there should be no oversight of it at all. It’s almost as if they feel that the basic principles of checks & balances within the government is a nuisance which it can ignore.

You appear to made a couple of typos. Allow me to correct them for you…

“Our federal government tends to believe that there should be no oversight of it at all. They feel that the basic principles of checks & balances within the government is a nuisance which it can ignore.”

There, that’s better.

msdesauliers says:

FBI WATCH

SUGGESTED READING LIST
annotated bibliography

Bari, Judi. TIMBER WARS. Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1994.
The F.B.I. attempted to stop the political activity of Judi Bari and Daryl Cherney by exploding a
bomb under their car. Daryl Cherney and Judi Bari filed a Civil lawsuit
against the FBI and Oakland police. A jury awarded them $4.4 million
dollars in 2003. see http://www.judibari.org

Bowen Roger. INNOCENCE IS NOT ENOUGH: The Life and Death of Herbert Norman
New York USA M.E. Sharpe Inc 1988
Looks at FBI assassination of Herbert Norman, Canadian Ambassador to Egypt.

Buitrago, Ann Mari. F.B.I. FILES. Grove Press, 1981.
Covers the procedures for obtaining and interpreting your F.B.I. file.

Burnham, David. ABOVE THE LAW. Scribner, 1996.
Looks at secret deals and fixing of cases by the Justice Department for corporations.
Burnham was the New York Times reporter who broke the story about New York City cop Serpico and Police corruption.
He was the reporter on route to meet Karen Silkwood when she was found murdered. Read his other book A LAW UNTO ITSELF.
It details how FBI agents collaborate with the IRS to target political activists.
see his important website about the FBI
here http://trac.syr.edu/

Burnham, David A LAW UNTO ITSELF Vintage January 30, 1991 ISBN-10: 0679732837
Exposes FBI agents using the IRS to cripple political activists.

Buttino, Frank. A SPECIAL AGENT. William Morrow, 1993.
Investigates F.B.I. attacks on gay FBI agents .
This book is written by a FBI agent who is gay. It details how other FBI
agents tormented him .

Carson, Clayborne. MALCOLM X: THE F.B.I. FILE. Carroll & Graf, 1991.
Looks at the evidence for the F.B.I. assassination of Malcolm X.

Cashill,Jack, Sanders,James. FIRST STRIKE Thomas Nelson Press, 2003
Overwhelming evidence presented by Dr. Cashill on the downing of TWA
Flight 800 by a missle over Long Island and the ensuing cover-up by FBI
agents.One of my favorite books. see their documentary about the same
subject called SILENCED here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7Nm2Ql1-qk

Charns, Alexander. CLOAK AND GAVEL. University of Illinois Press. 1992.
After reviewing thousands of pages of FBI documents the attorney author
exposes the FBI illegal phone tapping of the Supreme Court and how the
FBI fix court cases and work behind the scenes to get “their man”
appointed to the Supreme Court. Written by a lawyer active in Human
Rights.

Churchill, Ward. AGENTS OF REPRESSION. South End Press, 1988.
Professor Churchill gives first hand accounts of F.B.I. death squad
activities. This book is a classic and is a must read along with THE
COINTELPRO PAPERS

Churchill, Ward. THE COINTELPRO PAPERS. South End Press, 1990.
Explores how the F.B.I. disrupts legitimate political activities and engage in Death Squad activities.

Criley, Richard. THE F.B.I. VS. THE FIRST AMENDMENT. First Amendment Foundation, 1990.
Looks at the destruction of the First Amendment by the F.B.I.

Davis, John. MAFIA KINGFISH: CARLOS MARCELLO AND THE ASSASSINATION OF JOHN F.
KENNEDY. McGraw-Hill, 1989.
A must read book in understanding how the FBI has used the Mafia to carry out the assassination of President Kennedy.

De Camp, John. THE FRANKLIN COVERUP. AWT Publishers, 1992.
A former Republican state senator from Nebraska writes about a
pedophile ring involved in the kidnaping, sexual torture and murder of
children that went all the way to the Bush White House.
Attorney DeCamp discusses the FBI role in the coverup of this case and
the murder of a special prosecutor appointed to investigate the
pedophile ring.This book will keep you awake at night and is an active
barometer for evil indexing how the FBI crime family operates.

Dempsey, James X. and David Cole. TERRORISM AND THE CONSTITUTION: SACRIFICING CIVIL
LIBERTIES IN THE NAME OF NATIONAL SECURITY. Los Angeles, CA: First Amendment
Foundation, 1999. Examines FBI campaign of terror to undermine civil
liberties. Attorney Dempsey worked for Congressman Don Edwards who was
a former FBI agent.

Diamond, Sigmund. COMPROMISED CAMPUS. Oxford University Press, 1992.
Professor Diamond attempts to get F.B.I. files showing collaboration
between F.B.I. agents and professors at universities from 1945-1955.
The FBI created the Patriot Act , in part, because of this book.

Donner, Frank. PROTECTORS OF PRIVILEGE. University of California Press, 1990.
Looks at the death squad collaboration between local police and F.B.I. agents to stifle the Bill of Rights.

Dwyer, James. TWO SECONDS UNDER THE WORLD. Diane publishers 1997.
The most important book you will read on understanding FBI agents Floyd
and Anticev creating the 1993 terrorist act at the World Trade Center.
This book lays out in detail how the FBI engineered
the 1993 World Trade Center explosion.

Emerson, Steven and Brian Duffy. THE FALL OF PAN AM 103. G.B. Putnam’s Sons, 1990.
Oliver Revell was the number 2 man at the F.B.I. until he was demoted
by F.B.I. Director William Sessions to the Dallas Field Office. His son
Chris Revell had tickets for
Pan Am 103, but he changed his flight two days before the plane
exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland. See Ross Gelbspan’s book, BREAK-INS,
DEATH THREATS AND THE FBI to get a fuller picture of Oliver Revell.

Foerstel, Herbert. SURVEILLANCE IN THE STACKS. Greenwood Press, 1991.
Looks at attempts by the F.B.I. to get librarians to spy on the American public .The FBI created the Library
Clauses in the Patriot Act because of this book.

Gallagher, Dorothy. ALL THE RIGHT ENEMIES. Penguin Books, 1988.
The F.B.I. utilized the Mafia to carry out its executions against Presidents and political activists from 1930 through 2000.
Carlos Tresca was one of their victims.

Gelbspan, Ross. BREAK- INS, DEATH THREATS, AND THE F.B.I. South End Press, 1991.
This Pulitzer Prize winning reporter formerly with the Boston Globe,
details the F.B.I. death squad collaboration with the death squads in
El Salvador and their attacks upon American groups opposed to those
death squads.

Glick, Brian. WAR AT HOME. South End Press, 1989.
Attorney Glick details the F.B.I.?s covert war against political activists.

Hoffman, David. THE OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBING AND THE POLITICS OF TERROR. Feral
House, 1998.
Contains detailed evidence about the FBI alliance with the terrorist
underworld, and how FBI agent provocateurs are behind many of the
current bombings that have plagued the United States since the fall of
the Berlin Wall. Some current thinking has FBI agents creating these
acts to fill the void caused by the downfall of communism and replacing
communism with the new boogeyman Islam.

Hougan, Jim. SPOOKS. William Morrow, 1978.
Important book detailing the life of former F.B.I. agent Robert Maheux
and his relationship with the Mafia. Groundbreaking book in
understanding FBI collaboration with the Mafia, using it to carry out
assassinations on President Kennedy, Martin Luther King and others.
Maheux was the liason between the Mafia and the FBI when the FBI assassinated President Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

Kaiser, Marty . Odyssey of an Eavesdropper( My Life in electronic
countermeasures and my battle against the FBI) W Carroll & Graf 2005
Author exposes wiretapping crimes committed by FBI agents as well as
Business Fraud. He built the wiretapping devices for FBI agents that
were later used in crimes committed against people like Martin Luther
King and public officials.After exposing FBI agents kickback schemes to
Congress the author became a target of retaliation by tax payer funded
FBI agents. see http://www.martykaiser.com/odyssey2.htm

Keith, Jim. OK BOMB. Illuminate, 1996.
Explores FBI coverup in the Oklahoma City bombing investigation.

Kelly, John F. TAINTING EVIDENCE. The Free Press 1998. The book is
based on testimony of FBI lab Whistleblower Dr. Frederick Whitehurst ,
an employee of the FBI for 17 years. Shows how bad the FBI Lab is run.
Dr. Whitehurst was the chemist who analyzed Timothy McVeigh’s clothes
for traces of ammonium nitrate and was removed from the case when he
did not find any bomb residue.
see
http://www.whistleblowers.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=65&Itemid=108

Lehr, Dick & O’Neill, Gerard. BLACK MASS. Public Affairs, 2000.
Looks at the FBI’s collaboration in Boston with the Mafia and Irish Mob
between 1960 and 2001 in which they collaborated in the murder of 21
women,children and men. Important book showing how the FBI uses the
Mafia to commit political and other assassinations .see
http://www.thebrothersbulger.com/

McGhee , Millie WHAT’S DONE IN THE DARK Allen Morris 2005
The author is a afro american relative of FBI Director J Edgar Hoover
who is successful in presenting evidence that FBI Director Hoover is part African-American
and related to her.
The book details the research conducted by Ms McGhee and how FBI agents tried to stop her from writing the book. Photographs show reunion of white and black relatives united by the research in this book. FBI Director J Edgar Hoover was the descendant of Mississippi slaves.

Melanson, Phillip. THE MURKIN CONSPIRACY. Praeger, 1989.
Professor Melanson looks at the F.B.I.?s role in the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Melanson, Phillip. THE ROBERT KENNEDY ASSASSINATION. Shapolsky, 1991.
Professor Melanson was in charge of the Robert Kennedy archives at the University of Massachusetts.
He detailed the F.B.I.?s role as one of the principal architects in the assassination of Robert Kennedy.

Messerschmidt, Jim. THE TRIAL OF LEONARD PELTIER. South End Press, 1983.
Looks at the miscarriage of justice in the F.B.I.?s handling of the Leonard Peltier case.

Oklahoma City Bombing Investigative Committee. THE FINAL REPORT.2001.
The book providing evidence of FBI involvement in the Oklahoma City
Bombing .

Navasky, Victor. INVESTIGATING THE F.B.I. Doubleday, 1973.
Contains material presented at a major conference at Princeton University in 1971 investigating
crimes committed by the FBI.

Neff, James. MOBBED UP. Dell Publishers 1988.
Important book in understanding FBI collaboration with the Mafia
especially how the Bureau uses the Mafia to carry out its political
assassinations.

Nelson, Jack. THE F.B.I. AND THE BERRIGANS. Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1972.
Looks at F.B.I. death squad directed against Nobel Peace Prize nominee Phil Berrigan and his
brother, Jesuit priest Daniel Berrigan.

Olsen, Jack. LAST MAN STANDING: THE TRAGEDY AND TRIUMPH OF GERONIMO PRATT.
Doubleday, 2000.
Provides supporting evidence for the idea of the F.B.I. as a death
squad. Examines the F.B.I. acts of genocide against Afro-Americans .
Looks at how FBI agents framed Geronimo Pratt, a Afro American Viet-nam
vet who spent over 25 years in prison before a judge released him
saying he was innocent and framed by FBI agents.
Vermont filmaker has issued a 4 DVD collection of her films
about the Black Panthers. She interviews retired FBI agent
Wesley Swearingen who was part of the FBI Racial Squad in San Fransisco that put Pratt in prison see http://www.newsreel.us/

O?Reilly, Kenneth. RACIAL MATTERS. Free Press, 1989.
Professor O?Reilly looks at a file called Racial Matters that the F.B.I. is keeping on Black America.

Parenti, Michael. DIRTY TRUTHS. City Lights Books, 1996.
Dr. Parenti looks at the evidence for F.B.I. involvement in the
assassination of labor leader Walter Reuther while he was organizing
protests against the Vietnam War. It includes the essay ?Why the Left
is Afraid to look at the Assassination of JFK? .

Pepper, William. ORDERS TO KILL. Carroll and Graf, 1995.
Attorney Pepper represented James Earl Ray in his bid for a new trial
and won a landmark case in civil court in December 1999 for the Martin
Luther King Jr. family. The jury in the case concluded hat the F.B.I.
was involved in the assassination of King. His book details our
government?s involvement and provides photographic evidence of the
F.B.I.?s role in this assassination.

Pepper,William. ACT OF STATE: THE EXECUTION OF MARTIN LUTHER KING Verso Press, 2003
The evidence from the 1999 Civil Trial in Memphis brought by the King
family in which the jury concluded FBI agents were principal architects
in the assassination of Martin Luther King. Written by the trial
attorney William Pepper.

Powers, Richard Gid. SECRECY AND POWER. Free Press, 1987.
A biography of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and his quest for power.

Powers, Tyrone. EYES TO MY SOUL. Majority Press, 1996.
Professor Powers an afro-american, talks about his 9 years working as
an F.B.I. agent, and the racism in the FBI . Powers discusses the FBI
FRUHMENSCHEN program set up in the 1920’s thru 2010 to target black
politicians in sting operations without cause because the FBI feels
blacks are incpable of governing. White agents tried to kill him when
he was writing this book by blowing up his FBI issued car with him in
it..

Ranalli, Ralph. DEADLY ALLIANCE. Harper Torch, 2001
Boston Globe reporter Ralph Rannali exposes FBI collaboration with the
Boston Mafia from 1930-2009 where they ran a Murder Inc. President Bush
asserted Executive Privilege in 2002 preventing
Congress from seeing the Federal Prosecutor?s Investigative files on this case.

Robbins, Natalie. ALIEN INK. William Morrow, 1992.
Ms. Robbins acquired the F.B.I. files on the major writers and artists of the 20th century, and examines F.B.I. agents neutralizing them and their freedom of expression.

Schultz, Bud and Ruth. IT DID HAPPEN HERE. University of California Press, 1989.
Contains interviews with human rights activists who survived F.B.I. assassination attempts.

Schultz, Bud and Ruth. THE PRICE OF DISSENT. University of California Press , 2001
The sequel to IT DID HAPPEN HERE with more interviews with civil rights activists , union organizers and anti-war protestors who survived FBI assassination attempts and with family members of people who were murdered.

Seymour, Sheri. COMMITTEE OF THE STATES. Self-published, 1989.
The F.B.I. infiltrated the California Militia 10 years before the Oklahoma City bombing. The book illustrates how easy it was for the F.B.I. to infiltrate the group and get it to make bombs.
Shows how easy it was for FBI agent provocteur to get Timothy McVeigh to make bomb and drive the truck. The exact same scenario
occured in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. google floyd
anticev salem

Sharkey, Joe. ABOVE SUSPICION. Simon & Schuster, 1993.
Looks at the F.B.I. coverup involving one of its own agents Mark Putnam, who murdered his informant after he got her pregnant.
FBI agent Putnam was eventually sentenced to prison for their murder thanks to the dogged work of the Kentucky State Police.
click link and scroll down to obituary of his wife. http://betrayedbylovemovie.blogspot.com/

Suarez, Manuel. REQUIEM ON CERRO MARAVILLA. Waterfront Press, 1987.
Looks at F.B.I. collaboration with local police in the arrest, handcuffing, and death squad execution of two teenagers in Puerto Rico.

Summers, Anthony. OFFICIAL AND CONFIDENTIAL. G.B. Putnam and Sons, 1993.
This is the book on which the PBS Frontline documentary on J. Edgar Hoover and his friendship with the Mafia is based. In my eyes, this PBS program was the turning point in the good fortune the FBI has enjoyed for over 80 years.

Swearingen, Wesley. F.B.I. Secrets: An Agents Expose South End Press 1994
Swearingen is a retired FBI agent currently living in the San Diego area who was a member
of the FBI San Fransisco Office racial Squad.
The FBI has Racial Squads in every major American City. The function of the FBI Racial Squad is to assassinate or neutralize
black politicians and black activists who do not reflect the philosophy of American Corporations. Vermont filmaker Roz Payne has
interviewed Swearingen and he is on her recently released 4 DVD about the Black Panthers see http://www.newsreel.us/

Swearingen,Wesley, To Kill a President: Finally ? an Ex-FBI Agent Rips Aside the Veil of Secrecy that Killed JFK 2006
According to Swearingen, Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone in assassinating Kennedy as was claimed by the FBI, the Warren Commission and other investigating bodies. Instead, he argues that rogue CIA agents acting in concert with the mafia and certain Cuban exiles plotted to kill Kennedy. Swearingen contends that the conspiracy was covered up by the FBI, an effort that continues to this day through the agency’s unwillingness to disclose key details about the events surrounding Kennedy’s death. see http://www.lewrockwell.com/pr/new-book-fbi-cia-jfk-killing.html

Theoharis, Athan. THE F.B.I. Garland Publishers, 1994.
Professor Theoharis has compiled a comprehensive listing of books and articles about the F.B.I. up to 1994.

Thomas, Kenn. THE OCTOPUS. Feral House, 1996.
Investigates the F.B.I.?s role in the killing of investigative reporter Danny Casolero while he was investigating the October Surprise.

Turner, William. THE ASSASSINATION OF ROBERT KENNEDY. Thunder Mouth Press, 1993.
Written by a former F.B.I. agent, it looks at the F.B.I.?s involvement in the assassination of Robert Kennedy.

Turner, William. REARVIEW MIRROR foreword by Oliver Stone. Penmarin Books CA 2001.
More updated information on FBI involvement in President Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Assassination written by a former FBI agent.

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. WHO IS GUARDING THE GUARDIANS? A Report on Police
Death Squad activities. 1981.

Wiener, Jon. GIMME SOME TRUTH. University of California Press, 1999.
Professor Wiener looks at the 14 year battle with the F.B.I. to get them to release their files on John Lennon.How many rock stars
has the FBI assassinated?

SUGGESTED WEB SITES AND VIDEOS
http://lasthurrahbookshop.net/mafia.html
http://www.copvcia.com
http://www.mikeruppert.blogspot.com/
http://www.narconews.com
http://www.911pressfortruth.com
http://www.911inquiry.org
http://www.ae911truth.org/
http://www.heatisonline.org
http://www.whistleblowers.org
http://www.zpub.com/notes/fbi-shame.html

VIDEOS:
WACO:RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
SILENCED Jack Cashill
THE GREAT DECEPTION Barry Zwicker
TRUTH&LIES 911 Mike Ruppert
AFTERMATH:UNANSWEREDQUESTIONS

miss_2lonely says:

IN RESPONSE TO: FBI WATCH

FBI WATCH
BY: msdesauliers, May 7th, 2011 @ 8:36am

I found your response: “SUGGESTED READING LIST-annotated bibliography” BY FAR the BEST reply, so far, as it provides AMPLE information & VARIOUS sources for another person to use to research this subject matter further. (Information which I took FULL advantage of!!)
😉 Thank you!

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