A FOIA beginner’s guide to requesting a FBI file – Looking to get records out of the Bureau? Here’s where to start

One of questions we’re most frequently asked at MuckRock is how to request the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s files on an individual. To help clear up the process, we’ve compiled this simple flowchart to make sure you have everything you need before you file that FOIA. While this guide was written specifically for people making their…


Senator questions FBI ID policy on Freedom of Information Act requests

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) asked FBI Director James Comey to explain the purpose of a new FBI policy requiring people to upload copies of government-issued identification when filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, in a letter sent Monday.

“I write to express my strong concern that the ID requirement presents serious legal and privacy concerns,” Wyden wrote to Director Comey. “The FBI’s new eFOIA system imposes a requirement that can neither be found in statutory law nor case law.”


Critics slam FBI’s new app that demands ID

The FBI’s new data-requesting eFOIA app comes with controversial terms: The agency wants your ID in exchange for the information. Critics argue that the FBI collecting the requesters’ sensitive information is “over the top” and likely illegal.


FBI Releases ‘Cell Phone Tracking for Dummies,’ Plus 4,999 [Redacted] Documents

The FBI has just released more than 5,000 pages of documents regarding its highly controversial "Stingray" cell phone location tracker, a device so secretive that the agency has forced local law enforcement to drop criminal cases rather than risk disclosing details about it at trial. But don't expect to open these documents with the intent of understanding, well, anything about how the FBI uses them—nearly everything is redacted.


The Virginian-Pilot sues FBI over denied request

The Virginian-Pilot has filed a lawsuit against the FBI seeking information about a training exercise last year off the coast of Virginia Beach that claimed the lives of two agents.

The newspaper submitted a request under the federal Freedom of Information Act shortly after the May 17, 2013, deaths of Special Agents Christopher Lorek and Stephen Shaw. The paper sought "any reports or memos regarding the training accident," which involved the FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team.


FBI Director: Don’t Trust Government, But Give It Your Data Without Transparency

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) director James Brien Comey, Jr. is one of the nation's top cops. But he's drawn the ire of civil liberty groups and citizen activists alike both over allegations of his agency's role in helping the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) spy on Americans and over his recent comments to the press that suggest it's "dangerous" for mobile firms to offer full-device encryption.


FBI accused of withholding information in congressional candidate Stearns probe

The congressional candidate who accused former Congressman Cliff Stearns of attempting to bribe him to bail on an election now accuses the FBI of taking a dive in revealing the truth about his allegation.

In court records filed last week, Jimmy Jett, who challenged Stearns in the 2012 Republican primary for Florida's redrawn 3rd Congressional District, maintains that the FBI was 'highly generalized and overly broad' in its rationale for withholding information its agents compiled during the investigation.