State Department Won’t Release Clinton Emails About Controversial Trade Deal Until After 2016 Election

J.K. Trotter · 06/07/16 11:10AM

Last year, International Business Times reporter David Sirota filed a Freedom of Information Act request for emails between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the United States Trade Representative, a federal agency concerned with negotiating international trade policy, in which the two offices discussed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a widely-criticized pact among the United States and eleven other countries, including Australia, Canada, and Mexico. Last week, the State Department notified Sirota about the progress of his request: The agency would not provide the emails until the end of November—three weeks after the 2016 presidential election.

1,650 Pages of George W. Bush's Skull and Bones Records Are Set to Be Publicly Released

Andy Cush · 05/06/16 11:40AM

Mark your calendars: In July, the National Archives intends to publicly release over 1,000 pages of records from the George W. Bush administration pertaining to Skull and Bones, the Yale secret society that counts both the former president and his former president father as members. If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll learn whether Dubya’s grandfather Prescott Bush—also a Bonesman—really dug up and stole the skull of Geronimo from the Apache warrior’s grave, as Skull and Bones legend holds he did one night in 1918.

Here's a Map of the NYC Parks Where You Might Get Narced for Smoking Weed

Andy Cush · 04/20/16 12:20PM

After a false start and a spell of glum weather, New York is finally starting to feel springlike this week—just in time for 4/20. If you’re the type who likes to celebrate the day, and who likes to do it outdoors rather than in the safety of your living room, take heed before you smoke weed.

Watch a Local News Reporter Get Arrested While Requesting Public Records

Andy Cush · 03/24/16 01:37PM

In theory, citizens of all 50 states are legally empowered to request and obtain records from their governments. When they work as intended, public records laws are a vital tool for reporters and ordinary people to learn about the government and hold it accountable. But a lot of the time, they don’t work as intended at all.

How the U.S. Spy Satellite Program Chose This Hilariously Scary Earth-Eating Octopus as Its Logo

Andy Cush · 01/19/16 05:16PM

Perhaps you remember a time, two years ago, when the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office released its new mission logo, an enormous tentacled monster covering the earth with its sucker-lined legs. Perhaps it reminded you of a comic-book villain from your youth. Perhaps you were only vaguely familiar of the NRO before then, and have since come to think of them only as “the scary octopus guys.” Now, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request by security researcher Runa Sandvik, highlighted at MuckRock today, we know a bit more about how the scary octopus logo came to be.

State Department Finds Thousands of Philippe Reines Emails It Claimed Did Not Exist

J.K. Trotter · 08/17/15 11:30AM

Earlier this year, Gawker Media sued the State Department over its response to a Freedom of Information Act request we filed in 2013, in which we sought emails exchanged between reporters at 33 news outlets and Philippe Reines, the former deputy assistant secretary of state and aggressive defender of Hillary Clinton. Over two years ago, the department claimed that “no records responsive to your request were located”—a baffling assertion, given Reines’ well-documented correspondence with journalists. Late last week, however, the State Department came up with a very different answer: It had located an estimated 17,000 emails responsive to Gawker’s request.

Texas Town Is Charging Us $79,000 for Emails About Pool Party Abuse Cop

Andy Cush · 06/29/15 05:02PM

Days after McKinney, Texas, police officer Eric Casebolt was filmed pointing his service weapon at a group of unarmed black teenagers at a pool party this month, Gawker submitted a Public Information Act request to the city of McKinney asking to see Casebolt’s records and any emails about his conduct sent or received by McKinney Police Department employees. Today, we received a letter from the city’s attorneys claiming that fulfilling our request would cost $79,229.09.

30 Rock FCC Complaints: Vodka Tampons Are Obscene and Indecent

Ashley Feinberg · 05/15/15 04:20PM

While 30 Rock may have officially ended two years ago, its legacy lives on in the vodka-tampon, MILF-addled-memories of our nation’s most sensitive viewers. And now, we have the official FCC complaints to prove it.

The FOIA Training Video That the Pentagon Redacted

John Cook · 03/21/14 03:46PM

In 2001, the Pentagon produced a strange training video, for internal use and at a cost of more than $70,000, designed to teach civilian and military employees how the Freedom of Information Act works. It was comically dumb, featuring a noir private detective in a hack Humphrey Bogart accent navigating a World War II-era spy scenario, occasionally looking to the camera and delivering FOIA-based tips. When researchers tried to obtain a copy under the FOIA itself, the Pentagon took 18 months to release it, and redacted portions. Here it is.