Monday, March 26, 2012
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Saturday, September 05, 2009
- 1. Affirming or denying that the files exist might provide the requester with insight into Agency internal practices; and
- 2. the release of such knowledge may provide the requester with information on the techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations (well duh!).
The injury served with the insult is the last sentence where if I am dissatisfied with the response I may file a law suit in accordance with 5 U.S.C. section 552(a)(4)(B).
Well, what did I expect? Did I honestly believe that getting something from them would be so easy? The only thing easy to get from the FBI are the materials in their reading room which at this point are not files that I am interested in. Why couldn't my interest in the Midwest crime wave have stopped with Dillinger? Truly, I think that basically the FBI has covered it's ass in saying no we are not going to look for the file.
So many things go through my head (I have wicked imagination!) I think the FBI is saying the following in their response to my file request:
- It's been 70 years women give it a rest! We don't know where those files are and we are way too busy to look. Crime marches on and we are not the F@#% National Archives.
- How were we supposed to know that our files would be the subject to historical inquiry after the statute of limitations ended! Were we supposed to keep track of where all this &#*!
- Maybe we destroyed the files, maybe they are gathering mildew in some damp basement, maybe they are in a climate controlled acid free environment where they will remain until the onion skin disintegrates naturally. It doesn't matter we know were the files are and you don't need to know. Because if we told you where the files were or whether they were destroyed you might begin to infer what our internal practices are for keeping matters of historical record. Transparency does not apply to US.
- God forbid we give you access to files that are 70 or more years old that we haven't carefully screened. Everything we want you to know has been made available to you.
So along with retaking an exam at the end of the month (I flunked Asset Management in December) and handling my confusing personal life I now get to look up legal code sections. It would be easy to say that I'll just give up and find another hobby. Truth of the matter is my ornery nature doesn't allow me to just slink away. Just gonna have to give it another go. Third times the charm.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I usually just use the FBI FOIA request form and send it to the field office where the case originates. This is an important point. If you make your FOIA request directly to the headquarters in Washington, DC (FBIHQ) they will search for your records by consulting an FBIHQ list of files they have. The only problem with this is that the more obscure the person or crime you are looking for the less likely they are on the HQ list. If you are looking for information on Dillinger, you will not have a problem (except for getting access to a file that hasn’t been “redacted”). If you contact the field office first, because that’s what the rule says you should do, the field office will send your request to FBIHQ and they will do a more thorough search. I usually write on my request to search all medium available paper files, microfilm, and microfiche. I don’t know if the FBI stores anything on microfiche, but just in case. You can find the field offices on http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/fo.htm .
After where to send the initial request, the next most important thing is how to ask for the file. As with any confidential information there are rules as to what available to you. Also, never take for granted that the FBI personnel know your subject. The person involved must be deceased (death is assumed if 100 years have passed since birth). Information about an individual may actually be in a case filed under the crime itself, or the leader of the criminal gang and not the individual’s name. If you have the file number (lucky you), include it. Sometimes I’ve included old newspaper clippings that demonstrate that the FBI was active in investigating the crime. Whatever you have that will help them find your info include.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
So reading Jeffery S. King's The Life and Death of Pretty Boy Floyd gave me an education. Truthfully, if you want to know about “Charles A. Floyd-Criminal” it's all here. From the beginning to the end, King concentrates on Floyd's criminal career in succinct prose. He discusses Floyd’s early life and early exploits and the period when “they just wouldn’t leave him alone”. As an ex-con, Floyd was subject to multiple arrests for ‘suspicion’. From what I understand suspicion was a catch all to arrest people whether they’d committed a crime or not. They looked like the type who might commit a crime or they associated with ‘known police characters’ or they just hadn’t paid the bribe money to be left alone.
It’s funny how one colossally bad decision can define the remaining periods of your life. King relies on the FBI files about the Kansas City Massacre and gives convincing evidence that yes Floyd did participate. Basically, Verne Miller and two other gunmen attempted to free Frank "Jelly" Nash from federal custody when he was being escorted back to Leavenworth. In the attempt, five men including Nash were mowed down in a torrent of gun fire. Floyd denied having anything to do with the Kansas City Massacre, an event which turned public opinion against depression era bank robbers. In his book King relates credible witnesses such as Vi Mathis (Verne Miller's woman) and James "Jimmy Needles" LaCapra (Kansas City underworld power) who detail Floyd and his sidekick Adam Richetti's participation in the massacre. Excellent evidence although Floyd's family continually denied that he participated in the killing, it looks like he was there.
I picked this book up on Saturday and was done by Sunday afternoon, not because it's short --it's not short on anything. It's excellently researched and perfectly paced. King never gets lost describing characters or events that are immaterial to Floyd. The book is an excellent narrative about Floyd's life and the chapter on his death is great. Even though I knew how Floyd's life ends, King provides a wealth of detail that made the story fresh. He also includes details about the aftermath of Floyd's death and the various reactions. There were a few people who objected to ambushing a man and shooting him in the back…but only a few.
Sunday, July 05, 2009
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
OK, I have to decide if I'm going to see the new Public Enemies movie with Johnny Depp. I know it sounds silly but making up my mind about this isn't easy.
On the one hand, I've always wanted to see a movie about Dillinger that was true to the historical facts. You know you really don't have to add anything to this tale. I know 'artistic licence'. UGH! Honestly, if you want to make up dialogue that's one thing but please don't make up events... At least that's my viewpoint.
Then there's Johnny Depp as Dillinger. Well, I think Johnny Depp (he really should start asking to be called John now!) is a wonderful actor. I'm sure he's believable in the role as he's been in all of his roles. I just don't really see him as Dillinger. He's 10 years too old and he lacks the simplicity I always felt Dillinger possessed. I know Depp will bring an intensity to the role, but what about the lightness. In the beginning Dillinger enjoyed his work!
Well, maybe I'll see it this weekend if I get the chance. I usually get to see at least one movie a summer. Haven't seen one yet. If I can just empty my mind of my preconceived notions I might just enjoy the flick!