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rongo rongo
Level 8: 4714 points
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Last Logged In: April 14th, 2016
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15 + 44 points

FOIA by rongo rongo

June 10th, 2010 1:02 PM

INSTRUCTIONS: Get a copy of your FBI file and share its contents for our edification.

Some time ago, my office phone rang. It was a guy claiming to be from the FBI, who wanted to come by and ask some questions. Suspicious modern urbanite that I am, I made him give me his name and office location, called the FBI office there, and got transferred to his desk. Surprisingly, it was not a hoax.

This guy said that they wanted to talk to a scientist in my field and get some general information, so I invited him to drop by my office. He and a buddy showed up, and the conversation culminated along the lines of:

When you go to technical conferences, do you ever notice individuals, particularly foreign nationals, who seem to be overly interested in details of your work?

You must be kidding. These conferences are full of people who corner you and tell you all about their work. At great length. Until you run away.

Later, I had a security interview, where investigators ask you a lot of questions about things that you can barely remember, like all the places you've lived in the last ten years and all the jobs you've held. One of the more unusual questions was "Have you ever been investigated by the FBI?". (To me, that seemed like an odd thing to ask. Here are these people who are running around talking to your neighbors and checking you out. Shouldn't they know whether you've been investigated by the FBI?) I explained about how I'd had this one previous encounter, but that it was not an investigation of me.

But, that question did make me curious about whether there is an FBI file containing notes about my impressions of the scientific research community. This task was my chance to find out. I sent off the required form (by email---very convenient) and got an immediate email acknowledgment.

Dear (rongo rongo)

We have received your FOIA request. It will be processed under the provisions of FOIA and a response will be mailed to you at a later date.

Requests for fee waivers and expedited processing will be addressed once your request has been assigned an FOI/PA number. You will receive written notification of our decision.

If you require additional assistance please contact me.

Thank you,

(a guy with the records division)
Public Information Officer/Legal Admin. Specialist
Service Request Unit (SRU)
Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS)
FBI-Records Management Division
170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
Office: (540) xxx-xxxx
Fax: (540) xxx-xxxx

After a couple weeks, I got this letter in the mail.

- smaller

Leaving fingerprints

Leaving fingerprints

Redacted response

Redacted response

Apparently, they didn't find any record. Or, they're just not telling me.

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