FBI ordered to release documents about bureau’s response to NSBA letter

FBI ordered to release documents about bureau’s response to NSBA letter

  • April 17, 2023

The FBI must comply with a Freedom of Information Act request seeking records about the bureau’s response to a 2021 letter from the National School Boards Association that labeled parent protesters domestic terrorists, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled.

In the four-page order, U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden said last week that the Department of Justice had “dragged its feet” in responding to a FOIA request filed by the government watchdog group Protect the Public’s Trust that sought records from the FBI and other DOJ entities about their response to a September 2021 letter from the NSBA that requested the Biden administration and the DOJ investigate protests and threats against school board members under federal domestic terrorism laws.

In his ruling, McFadden denied two motions from the FBI that sought to dismiss the case or have it decided in their favor. The judge said the federal law enforcement agency had failed to prove the FOIA request by Protect the Public’s Trust was unreasonable and “offer[ed] scant evidence for summary judgment.”

“Obviously, PPT is happy with the court’s ruling,” Protect the Public’s Trust Director Michael Chamberlain told the Washington Examiner. “This is certainly not one of the FBI’s finest moments. There is evidence the FBI participated in targeting parents who protested to protect their kids, and their effort to dismiss this case could be an attempt to conceal the extent of their role in it. Yet again, the FBI finds itself at the center of a Biden Administration effort to weaponize the government against the American public.”

In seeking to shut down Protect the Public’s Trust FOIA request, the FBI had tried to argue that the organization’s request was “impermissibly vague and broad” and that complying with it would be “too onerous” on the agency.

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