The U.S. Department of Justice will not release any records related to the murder of former Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, according to a letter that I received today from the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys. Actually, they have refused to release any records about Seth Rich at all, e.g., whether he had a security clearance or a background check.
The same office originally refused to even search for records related to Seth Rich, but it was overruled on October 2, 2017 after I appealed to DOJ’s Office of Information Policy. Six months later, they’re still refusing to release anything.
I have already filed suit against the FBI and DOJ to force the agencies to release records (DOJ’s answer to the lawsuit is due next Thursday), and I am not particularly surprised by the response thus far. For one thing, the Freedom of Information Act grants broad exemptions for records pertaining to law enforcement and prosecution.
Even so, those exemptions have limits, and not everything should be protected by FOIA. I expect to show, for example, that the FBI lied by claiming that it has no records related to Seth Rich. My sources tell me that the FBI assisted D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department in hacking some of Mr. Rich’s electronic devices, yet the FBI has refused to even search for records at its Washington Field Office, where the records would be kept.Why does it matter whether the FBI was involved? Because the FBI usually does not investigate a “botched street robbery,” as DC officials have described the incident.
One of the exemptions cited by DOJ particularly intrigues me: “inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters which would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency.” I’ll be asking for those records during discovery. Stay tuned.