Quantcast
Connect with us

Exclusive: FBI drags feet on releasing 1,000 pages on late Sen. Helms

Published

on

WASHINGTON — The Federal Bureau of Investigation may have more than 1,000 pages in its files on the late Republican Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina, but federal officials haven’t released a single document more than a year after a San Francisco blogger filed Freedom of Information Act requests.

San Francisco-based blogger and gay rights activist Michael Petrelis sent the FBI a Freedom of Information Act request for information on Helms shortly after the senator’s July 4th, 2008 death. The FBI restricts third-party access to information about individuals while they are still alive, but makes it possible for people to request copies of someone else’s FBI files after they have passed away.

ADVERTISEMENT

The FBI’s records management division staff sent Petrelis a letter in October 2008, informing him they’d located 1,082 pages that may mention Helms, but that it could cost Petrelis $98.20 to get copies of all the documents. The first 100 pages of FBI records requests are provided for free, but people are charged for copies beyond 100 pages. Petrelis agreed to pay the fee, but nearly a year later has yet to receive a document.

“We’ve been waiting more than a year to get ANYTHING out of them and we know they’ve got all those pages,” Petrelis told Raw Story, adding that he was able to receive information about threats against former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney–while both were still in office—less than seven months after requesting the information.

“They’re in office and they’re alive and one is the sitting president and we’re talking threats, and the FBI is able to find and release something,” Petrelis said. “But with Jesse Helms, we’re more than a year after our initial request and we still don’t have anything.”‘

ADVERTISEMENT

FBI spokesman Bill Carter told Raw Story “it does take time to review documents and determine under the law what can or can’t be released.”

“There’s no time frame you can really give, it all depends on the number of documents we are dealing with,” Carter said.

Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, was not available for an interview Monday, but has said in prior interviews with Raw Story that the FBI often takes years to respond to requests.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Standard operating procedure there is to file a FOIA request and wait three to five years,” Dalglish told Raw Story.

Petrelis said he was interested in the Helms case because he’d been part of protests at the late senator’s home and office.

“There were six or seven of us that did a sit-in, a kiss-in, in his office, to call for gay rights and better AIDS treatment programs in the early ’90s,” Petrelis said. “I’d be curious to know if that event was in these files.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Helms himself once focused on getting the FBI to release files on a late icon: civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

The late senator claimed one reason he opposed giving Martin Luther King. Jr. his own national holiday in 1983  was because the Senate rejected his amendment to unseal the FBI’s files on King. Helms said he believed King’s advisers included communist sympathizers.

Correction: RAW STORY mistakenly identified the late Sen. Jesse Helms as a South Carolina Republican. Helms was from North Carolina. RAW STORY regrets the error.

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

Alexander von Humboldt was the first person to understand climate change — more than 200 years ago

Published

on

Alexander von Humboldt was born on September 14, 1769. In his day, he was a globetrotting, convention-defying hero— one of the first recorded individuals to raise environmental concerns. To make him hip for a new generation, all it takes is a rediscovery of Humboldt by the young climate strikers across the globe. Their numbers are growing, their task is huge, and they are now urging adults to join them. Why let parents fiddle when the house burns? On May 22, grown-ups at the Columbia Journalism Review, The Nation, and The Guardian listened and launched Covering Climate Now, a project to encourage more coverage of climate change in the media. Bill Moyers, the keynote speaker, pointed out that from 2017 to 2018, major network coverage of climate issues fell 45 percent to a total of a mere 142 minutes. And on May 23, with her knack of being spot-on, 16-year-old climate activist and rising star Greta Thunberg promptly wrote of taking on the climate change challenge: “It’s humanity’s job.”

Continue Reading

2020 Election

Cory Booker planning to suspend his campaign if his fundraising does not improve: report

Published

on

On Saturday, NBC News reported that Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has released a campaign memo indicating he will exit the Democratic presidential primary if he is unable to raise millions of dollars within days.

"Without a fundraising surge to close out this quarter, we do not see a legitimate long-term path forward," wrote campaign manager Addisu Demissie in the memo to staff ersand supporters. "The next 10 days will determine whether Cory Booker can stay in this race."

The memo added that it is likely that only four candidates presently have enough money to stay in the race for the long haul. These candidates are likely former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who report the largest fundraising hauls.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump snarls a press for pursuing Ukraine phone call complaint instead of reporting on debunked Biden story

Published

on

Donald Trump lashed out at the media for pursuing the story of a suppressed inspector general's report that he may have made an illegal promise to the president of Ukraine, saying they should be investigating former Vice President Joe Biden instead.

Taking to Twitter, the president wrote: "The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, want to stay as far away as possible from the Joe Biden demand that the Ukrainian Government fire a prosecutor who was investigating his son, or they won’t get a very large amount of U.S. money, so they fabricate a..... story about me and a perfectly fine and routine conversation I had with the new President of the Ukraine. Nothing was said that was in any way wrong, but Biden’s demand, on the other hand, was a complete and total disaster. The Fake News knows this but doesn’t want to report!"

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Investigate and Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image