Insurrection and FOIA, etc.
January 12, 2021 6:54 AM   Subscribe

Inspired by this comment on the blue, I plan to do a little research of potential insurrectionists. Maybe you have advice.

So, I am thinking of filing my state’s version of Freedom of Information Act requests with some law enforcement agencies to see whether any law enforcement officers took time off overlapping with Jan. 6.

But we also have one military base in the city, and three others around the state. I am considering also filing FOIA requests with the military. From my own experience in the military, I know that leave requests at least normally are handled by just the immediate command.

I am debating how I might approach this project, such as:
A. Filing it with the military police company at each base.
B. Trying to determine the largest command at each base, and filing it with that command.
C. Sending the request to Washington.
D. Some combination? Other?

Do you have any advice or resources about A-D, or any other aspect of this?

If I find anything interesting, I expect I would just hand it over to journalists locally or in the state.

Here is a secure throwaway email for responses:

posted by anonymous to Law & Government (3 answers total)
I would ask the mods to make this question anonymous for a start, provide a !secure throwaway email for responses, and proceed at a similar level of paranoia from there.....
posted by runincircles at 8:03 AM on January 12

I applaud your attitude, but don’t think you’re going to get anywhere.

I think it’s unlikely that your state’s FOIA/FOIL legislation would give you any details of who actually took leave on a given day (and that’s assuming personal vacation records are covered in the first place, which I also doubt but am not so sure of). You might get something showing how many people had a given day off, or how many where on shift on a given day, but beyond that you’re going to run into standard exemptions.

So before you start on A-C, I would put some effort into confirming there’s any chance your request will be processed at all.

To confirm, I would google the FOIA/FOIL legislation for your state, and specifically the exemptions. For example 87(2)(b) in the New York Freedom of Information Law exempts information “b) if disclosed would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy under the provisions of subdivision two of section eighty-nine of this article;”.

While the result was an insurretion/riot, taking the day off to participate in a political protest is probably the exact type of thing that should be exempted from the FOIL law. Otherwise the other side could gather a list of the BLM supporters working in governemnt agencies (what the crazy folks call “the deep state”) the same way.
posted by tiamat at 5:00 PM on January 12

On the other hand, I could be wrong.
posted by tiamat at 5:04 PM on January 12

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