After being investigated for his blog post, Cory Doctorow sent this FOIA request to the FBI


Last week, an FBI special agent called Cory Doctorow and told him he had questions about a blog post Cory wrote in July about a Popular mechanics article on the physics of overturning statues. Wisely, Cory put the FBI agent in touch with an EFF attorney, and the attorney convinced the FBI to immediately stop the senseless investigation.

Now it’s Cory’s turn to investigate the FBI to find out why he opened an investigation on him without having a good reason. I can’t wait to see what the FBI sends him.

From Cory’s pluralist:

Even though my EFF colleague Mark Rumold called the special agent (very professional), made him agree that the post (a link to a Popular Mechanics article on the science of monument overturning) was about my First Amendment rights, I wasn’t done.

Today, with the help of Aaron Mackey, the self-proclaimed FOIA demon, I sent the FBI a FOIA request to:

  • Any recordings that reflect or otherwise describe investigations, assessments, or other actions taken by the FBI regarding my July blog post,
  • Any documents, such as reports, memoranda or notes relating to or describing me that reflect or otherwise describe the January 12 communications between the FBI agent, myself and my legal counsel, and
  • All records created, collected, or maintained by the FBI that describe or relate to any FBI investigations, assessments, or other actions relating to me relating to any other First Amendment protected activity.

But that’s just for the openers!

  • In accordance with the Privacy Act, I further request that I be authorized to inspect and correct all records kept about me. 5 USC §§ 552a (d) (1) – (2).
  • I further request that the FBI, after allowing me to inspect and correct all records kept about me, to delete or destroy the records it collects and maintains this record, to reflect or otherwise describe my exercise of First Amendment rights.

So: let me see what you got, then delete everything related to my protected speech activities. This is a right to which anyone under investigation for protected speech is entitled under the Privacy Act.

Here is the letter I sent; I’m not a lawyer, and you probably aren’t either, but it might help you write your own letter if you find yourself in the same absurd situation.

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