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Would the DOJ/FBI disclose investigation details to a reporter? Other Criminal Procedure

Discussion in 'Criminal Procedure, Criminal Court' started by John H, Jan 7, 2020.

  1. John H

    John H Law Topic Starter New Member

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    US Federal Law
    Please pardon limited detail, in the interest of protecting the investigation.

    Licensed PI here just asking around for those in the know on federal practices with regards to information disclosure to the press. I have just about no experience with the FBI or federal jurisdiction.

    I'm currently working a case that law enforcement is scantily involved in; at least to my knowledge. I've recently been directed to a "reporter" (I use the term loosely) who has some sort of online journal and has apparently taken their own interest in the case (there's a significant social media aspect to this case), and has gone so far to say that they have contacts in the FBI and these contacts have confirmed there is an active FBI investigation into the person I was hired to investigate.

    Based on my current research, and those associates I have in law enforcement that may know more than I do, not only does the DOJ/FBI not disclose information regarding ongoing investigations - or confirm the existence of investigations - to anyone or any entity without proper clearance, but having such sensitive information without clearance is actually a crime in of itself.

    In my experience, no law enforcement organization will ever comment on an ongoing investigation or identify persons of interest. Can anyone out there confirm this, and possibly direct me to a chapter or two in a body of law that may handle this subject? I really appreciate any help.
  2. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    The FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies cannot be compelled to release information on active investigations under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or the Privacy Act. They may, however, release information if they believe it will further their investigation or interests other than information obtained through the grand jury process. As a result, federal agencies may sometimes release some limited information (other than grand jury information) on an active investigation, but it is at their discretion. They do have to be mindful of various federal privacy laws when making any such disclosures.
  3. Highwayman

    Highwayman Well-Known Member

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    It's confirmed. I don't know why you need a statute to tell you that.
  4. flyingron

    flyingron Active Member

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    The famous case was the release naming Richard Jewell as a person of interest in the Atlanta Olympic bombing case. While Janet Reno express "regret" over what happened to Jewell, it didn't seem to break any laws or even policy, and nothing changed subsequently.

    Other notable FBI smears include Steven Hatfill, an Army biologist with regard to the Anthrax mailing cases.

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