Your Gumshoes at Work

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation can't find a bunch of missing files. In its own database:

A Cox Newspapers study found that last year, the FBI said it had "no records" in response to roughly two-thirds of requests filed under the federal Freedom of Information Act, which is meant to ensure that citizens have access to information not exempted by law.

"I would say that in probably 65 percent of the (Freedom of Information Act) requests, we have absolutely no records," said David Hardy, chief of the FBI's Record/Information Dissemination Section. Then he added: "That we can find."

Whole thing here.

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  1. He also said, “As far as I can tell, I have no ass.” Then he added: “That I can find with both hands.”

  2. They need to start using a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracking system. It’s the coolest thing — you put little stickers on shit, and the stickers have little circuits in them that are powered only by the current indiced by a radio signal. The signal gives it just enough power to transmit back, “I’m here and my ID number is…”

    But then, this probably has more to due with bureaucratic obstructionism than actual lost files.

  3. Are you saying that we need an FBItFBI?

  4. It would be nice if govermental agencies were held to the same paperwork standards as businesses, and citizens. At least they could lower the standards for rest of us.

  5. I just hope that the FBI can’t find my file when THEY want to see it.

  6. Am I the only one who wonders if their inability to find them is intentional?

    Just a little paranoia-check here.

  7. As a Database Admin, my eyebrows always raise a bit when I hear these “oh man, the database is busted” excuses. Like so many others, I call bullshit.

  8. As a Database Admin, my eyebrows always raise a bit when I hear these “oh man, the database is busted” excuses. Like so many others, I call bullshit.

    Ditto with fries.

  9. Never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence.

  10. “I would say that in probably 65 percent of the (Freedom of Information Act) requests, we have absolutely no records,” said David Hardy, chief of the FBI’s Record/Information Dissemination Section. Then he added: “That we can find.”

    Reminds me of K’s line in “Men in Black”: “No, ma’am. We at the FBI do not have a sense of humor of which we are aware.”

  11. Hold your horses, folks. Isn’t there a possible explanation for at least a large part of this? Joe Schmoe thinks the FBI is bugging his dental fillings. Larry Lefty thinks the FBI has infiltrated his Karl Marx reading circle. Andy Academic has a theory that J. Edgar Hoover worked with Nazis to set up a secret Antarctic base. Etc. etc. They all file FOIA requests for the FBI’s records of these actions. The FBI says “We don’t have anything.” And they really don’t.

  12. mk – I dunno, as a System Administrator I’m always ready to believe the database is broken.

  13. Perhaps the FBI database is in a format that can only be accessed with a Commodore 64.

  14. Just because they can’t find any files responsive to the FOIA requests doesn’t mean they are missing. It’s likely they didn’t have them in the first place. For example if you ask for the files regarding the FBI’s investigation of John Lennon’s attempts at eradicating the Jews in his basement with Fred Astaire, they will say “sorry can’t find anything.” That doesn’t mean the FBI has lost their files. People send a lot of nutty FOIA requests, to which all must be responded. Don’t assume malice when negligence will suffice, and don’t assume negligence when competence will suffice.

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