Court Delivers Major Decision About Seth Rich in FOIA Case Against FBI

The public has been making FOIA requests since 2017 to search for any information the FBI may have about Seth Rich, the young DNC staffer who was killed in 2016.

However, for a long time the FBI opposed these requests.

The FOIA efforts could have been successful, as the lawyer who wrote the Techno Fog Substack explained, in the decision handed down in the Eastern District of Texas in the case of Huddleston v. FBI that discussed two distinct FOIA concerns.

In one instance, they claimed that there were no requests, until it was found in another instance, asking for the same data, that there were indeed 1,596 responses. However, even there the FBI attempted to block 1,469 pages, saying that certain exemptions should be granted to the pages in order that they don't need to hand them over, for national security and privacy reasons.

What national security reasons? 

The FBI also stated that the purpose of this was “to protect intelligence methods utilized by the FBI for gathering intelligence data,” and they warned it could result in “serious or exceptionally grave damage” to the security of the nation for the following reasons:

[D]isclosure would allow hostile entities to discover the current intelligence gathering methods used by the FBI; (2) disclosure would reveal current specific targets of the FBI’s national security investigations; and (3) disclosure would reveal the determination of the criteria used and priorities assigned to current intelligence and counterintelligence investigations” (Fourth Seidel Declaration ¶ 83).

“Unfortunately, the court won’t require the production of this information,”  Technofog stated.

However, even though the Court found in favor of the FBI in the majority of concerns discussed however, the Court did not rule in favor of the FBI regarding Seth Rich's laptop, which the FBI was fighting to keep.

The FBI also withheld the contents of Seth Rich’s personal laptop, which it possesses, in its entirety, alleging the privacy of Rich’s family in “preventing the public release of this information” outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

The court rejected that argument, stating “the FBI has not satisfied its burden of showing more than a de minimis privacy interest that would justify withholding information from Seth Rich’s laptop.”

The Court required the FBI to hand over the contents of the laptop that Rich used within two weeks.

Now it is likely that the FBI will contest this decision and push this issue some more. Why would they care about Rich's laptop and fight to prevent it from being confiscated? I'm not sure what's on the computer, but it’s one more thing that the FBI does not want to disclose.

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