Friday, June 19, 2015
FOIA trial offers rare look into how FBI searches records, responds to requests.
The latest testimony from the Trentadue case shows that reporters and members of the public who send FOIA requests to the FBI might not know that there are a myriad of different records "systems" that they need to specify in order for a comprehensive search to take place. They might not know that the FBI typically only searches for the location of the main file related to an investigation as reported to headquarters, so reporters should also request cross-references, which are mentions of the subject of their request in investigations outside of the main file. While field offices have FOIA-trained personnel to assist RIDS, reporters should also send FOIA requests directly to individual field offices they think are relevant to the investigation, because RIDS may only request documents from the field office associated with the main file.