FOIA Advisor

FOIA News: DOJ Lies To 'FOIA Terrorist' Jason Leopold; Claim They Have No Documents On Aaron Swartz

FOIA News (2015-16)Kevin SchmidtComment

DOJ Lies To 'FOIA Terrorist' Jason Leopold; Claim They Have No Documents On Aaron Swartz

By Mike Masnick, techdirt, Feb. 1, 2016

Back in 2013, not long after Aaron Swartz's tragic suicide, reporter Kevin Poulsen (who had also worked with Swartz on what became SecureDrop, the system for whistleblowers to anonymously submit documents to journalists) submitted a Freedom of Information Act with the Department of Homeland Security about what info it had on Swartz. There were some legal fights about it, but eventually DHS was forced to release the documents, which now reside at a site set up by Poulsen called SwartzFiles.com. These documents revealed things like the government's weird infatuation with the Guerrilla Open Access Manifesto, that many believe was written (at least in part) by Swartz (there's at least some dispute over this). 

Meanwhile, Jason Leopold, who uses FOIA requests so frequently and so effectively that the DOJ once labeled him a "FOIA Terrorist," submitted a similar request with the Justice Department -- specifically targeting the US Attorney's Office in Massachusetts -- which is the office out of which Swartz's case was prosecuted. Obviously, they have plenty of such documents. In fact, in Poulsen's DHS Swartz files there are emails between DHS and DOJ folks. But, an astounding three years and 11 days after Leopold submitted his FOIA request, the DOJ has told him it has no responsive documents.

Read more here.