Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Can't Let it Go

I wish I could let it go. Things would be so much easier if I didn't take the FBI's no as a challenge. You see in each of the FBI's responses I got a pat response that "neither confirms or denies" that the files I'm looking for are still in existence. Essentially, they just hide behind a bunch of statutes that allow them to do the minimum unless something compels them to do more. Big IMO! I hate saying anything negative about anyone but I'm getting close. All it would take is a "no this file has been destroyed" or a "no this file is still within the FOIA statute of limitations" or anything that lead me to believe that yes they actually did the work in finding out whether the files are still in existence. I don't think there's any one person in the FBI's records division whose sure of what they still have; what went to the Archives; and what's been destroyed. Wait! I may have a contact I can call!!! Just thought of it!!! Actually, you know before I got the Cherryvale file by surprise; I had talked to a lot of different people who gave me no encouragement. Then the file showed up at my door one day with a bill for copying! So maybe this is part of the process? Strange.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Gloves Off

Just got a reply from the FBI on my appeal for information. This time around I got a new response. Evidently, the FBI does not have to affirm or deny that files exist because
  1. 1. Affirming or denying that the files exist might provide the requester with insight into Agency internal practices; and
  2. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 &#*!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.