MuckRock is an open news service that generates leads from public records requests with an archive of 280,142 government document pages and counting.

Pinboard (rhymeswthgeorge)

recent bookmarks from rhymeswthgeorge

MuckRock • How a CIA defector duped the FBI

On August 9, 1990, two U.S. Embassy employees trying to enjoy a beer at the Mezhdunarodnaya Hotel in Moscow were interrupted by a stranger.

25 states covered in vanity plate rejection project | Muckrock

Earlier this month MuckRock kicked off the vanity plate rejection project. Inspired by Andrew Mickert's request for personalized plates that the Virginia DMV felt were too hot for the highway, we invited users to make a small contribution so that MuckRock could submit to local motor vehicle departments for similar documents.

The spy who stayed in the cold | Muckrock

On August 9, 1990, two U.S. Embassy employees trying to enjoy a beer at the Mezhdunarodnaya Hotel in Moscow were interrupted by a stranger. What wouldn't come out until much later: This stranger was Edward Lee Howard, who slipped past federal agents to defect to the Soviet Union years before. This is the story of how, and what happened after.

FBI releases Toshi Seeger file | Muckrock

Earlier this month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released its file on Toshi Seeger, the wife of American folk legend Pete Seeger. The file contains as much information about the bureau's interest in her husband than anything else.

#MuckRock Monthly: Overweight Governors, Cold War Mistaken Identities, and Drones

The document dorks return this month with a new lineup of five stacks of paper that they read on your behalf, seeing as you couldn’t even make it to Mayor Marty Walsh’s Reddit AMA. Putz.

Requester's Voice: Laura Rótolo on suing the FBI and Justice Department for Boston Marathon documents | Muckrock

Laura Rótolo is a lawyer and advocate at the Massachusetts chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Her group filed suit last week against the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney's office over records related to the Massachusetts Joint Terrorism Task Force, the conduct of the Boston FBI field office, and the Boston Marathon bombing. For this week's Requester's Voice, we caught up with Rótolo to discuss the ACLU's complaint.

Report: Pentagon fell short with sanctioned press pool in Panama invasion | Muckrock

After the Reagan administration barred journalists from covering the 1983 invasions of Grenada, a panel conjured the idea of using a press corps sanctioned by the Department of Defense to cover military activity. This designated press pool idea came under scrutiny during the U.S. invasion of Panama in December 1989, dubbed "Operation Just Cause." A 1991 review shows a lack of cooperation from the Pentagon and criticizes then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney for excessive concern over secrecy at the expense of crucial coverage.

Requester's Voice: Privacy and security expert Runa Sandvik | Muckrock

Privacy and security researcher Runa A. Sandvik works at the intersection of technology, law and policy. A staff technologist at the Center for Democracy & Technology in Washington, D.C. and a Forbes contributor, Runa is also a technical advisor to both the Freedom of the Press Foundation and the TrueCrypt Audit project. Prior to joining CDT, she worked with The Tor Project for four years. Runa joined MuckRock in June 2012 and is our featured guest for this week's Requester's Voice.

Requester's Voice: Boston Globe investigative reporter Todd Wallack | Muckrock

Todd Wallack is a metro reporter for the Boston Globe, where he focuses mostly on investigative data stories. He's also low hanging fruit for a Requester's Voice since MuckRock's offices are located in the Globe building. We caught up with Wallack to talk about his strategies for submitting requests for data, prospects for FOIA reform, and a seemingly newfound infatuation with privacy.

#MuckRock Monthly: Late night T service, Westboro Baptists, and porn…

We’re starting a new monthly list with the open government/public records news service MuckRock. They keep the government honest by helping people file freedom of information requests all over the country. Here’s five highlights from the past month:

An Honorable Marine, A Porn, and the FBI

The story of Herbert Streicher, better known as Harry Reems the male lead in "Deep Throat"

Requester's Voice: Brooke Williams and barking seals | Muckrock

In this week's Requester's Voice, Williams argues that a culture shift in government openness is more important than a policy change, and shares some stories from her FOI past.

Requester's Voice: C.J. Ciaramella on FOIA by trial and error | Muckrock

For this week's Requester's Voice, C.J. outlined how he learned to approach FOIA requests, and how public records bring together journalists and activists from across the political spectrum.

Requester's Voice: the Federation of American Scientists' Steven Aftergood | Muckrock

For this week's Requester's Voice, Aftergood spoke with MuckRock via email about refining your requests and the intersection of science and government secrecy.

Requester's Voice: Edward Vielmetti uses public records to spark local government 'soul searching' | Muckrock

Formerly of, Vielmetti currently writes a weekly FOIA post for Damn Arbor. He is also working on a FOIA book The No-Nonsense Guide to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.

Requester's Voice: Ryan Shapiro on how to street fight with the FBI over FOIA and win | Muckrock

Shapiro's ongoing "street fight" with the FBI has him convinced more than ever that our democracy depends on the health of the Freedom of Information Act.

EPIC's Julia Horwitz: A big win vs. DHS and navigating the FOIA weeds | Muckrock

Horwitz, who worked at the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Energy and the World Bank before joining EPIC, talk about the DHS win, her personal FOIA strategies and where FOIA falls short.

SPJ's David Cuillier: "You need a big stick" | Muckrock

MuckRock caught up with the FOIA guru to talk about the future of access in the U.S., bizarre denials and strategies for acquiring documents.

Help MuckRock scour FBI's Madrid train bombing files | Muckrock

Six months after the initial inquiry, the FBI has fulfilled MuckRock's request for files on the March 11, 2004 Madrid train bombing. The Bureau released a total of 3,853 pages on the attack and the agency's involvement in the investigation, plus dozens more outlining exemptions, redactions and deletions from the file.

Infringe, violate, defame: Scribd does it all, according to FTC complaints | Muckrock

The Federal Trade Commission has a wide-ranging catalog of complaints lodged against digital library Scribd, from accusations of unauthorized charges and copyright infringement to claims that the website violated privacy, abetted libel and distributed unclassified FBI documents. One particularly conspiratorial and ALL CAPS allegation shouted of Scribd's collusion with a supposed serial killer.

WIRED's Kevin Poulsen on managing investigations, Aaron Swartz and why leaks are the new FOIA | Muckrock

In this week's Requester's Voice, Poulsen explains how WIRED uses public records to get the "big ones," why leakers are the new FOIA and what's next in the fight for Swartz's files.

Chicago Tribune's David Jackson: learn from unsuccessful FOIAs | Muckrock

In this week's Requester's Voice, Jackson stresses the importance of learning from unsuccessful requests and doing your legwork before submitting a FOIA.

A redaction classic entry that might still be useful | Muckrock

Redactions arrive at MuckRock often and in varying shapes and sizes; they range from the plausible to the irksome to the utterly maniacal.

Requester's Voice: Kel McClanahan - A Counselor's Perspective | Muckrock

MuckRock caught up with McClanahan to discuss, strategy, the FOIA officer's disposition, and paying it forward.

Center for Investigative Reporting's Jennifer LaFleur: Work with agencies to make records public | Muckrock

In this week’s Requester’s Voice, MuckRock catches up with LaFleur to talk request strategy, knowing your rights and the unintended consequences of going to court for a document.

Requester's Voice: Gawker's John Cook on Nixon, Roger Ailes and hackers | Muckrock

John Cook is editor of Alongside the New York Civil Liberties Union he's currently in litigation with the Nassau County Police Department over documents regarding Bill O'Reilly's wife and her affair with a Nassau County detective. MuckRock caught up with Cook to talk about his FOIA past, leakers and tips for getting back documents.

Mailbag: Wisconsin legislators blasted for journalism center eviction | Muckrock

As Wisconsin legislators finalized a state budget bill in the early morning hours of Wednesday, June 5, a provision suddenly appeared that would evict an investigative journalism non-profit from the University of Wisconsin campus and prohibit university faculty from collaborating with the organization.

FOIA How-To: Getting your own FBI file | Muckrock

Typically the FBI will only release the files of deceased individuals. One exception to that rule is when an individual is requesting information about themselves.

Which Mass. police departments opened up their inventory lists? | Muckrock

More than a month after the Massachusetts supervisor of public records upheld Somerville’s decision to deny access to a firearms inventory, responses from the 68 other police departments to the same request are yielding disparate results.

Katrina exposed 'response gap,' unprepared first responders | Muckrock

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, which cost more than $100 billion in damage, killed more than 1,300 people and overwhelmed the infrastructure of New Orleans, analysts struggled to settle on which level of government should bear blame for the unprecedented disaster and its fallout.

Somerville Police deny access to firearms inventory list | Muckrock

The Somerville Police Department is denying access to a list of the firearms used by its officers.

FBI releases files on Aaron Swartz | Muckrock

The FBI has released its file on the late transparency activist Aaron Swartz. The files make no mention of his alleged intrusion into the JSTOR academic journal system, for which Aaron was facing criminal charges when he ended his life.

Sunshine Week recap: A look at the numbers | Muckrock

Between Sunshine Week 2012 and last week's celebration, MuckRock has averaged almost one fulfilled open records request per day; 336 to be precise. Thirty-nine partially fulfilled requests bring that total to about one per day.