Well, We Finally Knows What Makes a Federal Judge Call Bullsh%$ on the FBI

The FBI was saying that it needed 17 years to accomodate a Freedom of Information Act request.

The judge was having none of it:

Getting answers to Freedom of Information Act requests is often a protracted and tiring process, but how long a wait is too long?

One federal judge just came up with an answer: 17 years.

U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler bluntly rejected the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s proposal that documentary filmmaker Nina Seavey wait until the year 2034 to get all the law enforcement agency’s records for a request pertaining surveillance of anti-war and civil rights activists in the 1960s and 1970s.

The request involved an unusually large amount of material — about 110,000 pages of records at the FBI and more at other agencies — but Seavey said waiting almost two decades for the complete files wasn’t viable for her.

You can run the numbers: 110,000 pages taking 17 years with 50 weeks a year working 5 days a week, and you hve a processing rate of less than 26 pages a day.

This is bullsh%$, and it’s a coverup in an attempt to protect the reputation of J. Edgar Hoover, who should be remembered primarily as a Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria

“Literally, they were talking 17 years out. I’m 60 years old. You can’t do that math,” the George Washington University professor and documentarian told POLITICO this week. “It wasn’t going to work for me.”

The FBI said it has a policy of processing and releasing large requests at a pace of 500 pages a month, while Seavey, represented by D.C. transparency lawyer Jeffrey Light, had proposed 5,000 pages a month. (At one point, the FBI thought it had about 150,000 pages of responsive records, which would’ve meant a 25-year wait.)

Justice Department lawyers and the FBI argued that going faster than 500 pages a month would disrupt the agency’s workflow and create the possibility of a few massive requests effectively shutting down the rest of the their FOIA operation.

Kessler didn’t buy it.


Ultimately, Kessler ordered the FBI to process 2,850 pages a month, which should get Seavey the records she’s seeking within three years.


It’s not the first FOIA case to produce staggering estimates of how long the government would need to make records public. Last year, the State Department rebuffed a request for emails of aides to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying it could take 75 years to work through the material.

Yeah, that’s a f%$3ing coverup too, but tragically, it was a coverup of basically nothing driven by unreasoning paranoia, which created the appearance of guilt.

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