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The New York Times with a great FOI-driven story on the expanding dragnet after the Bush administration eased up on rules about domestic intel:

Within months after the Bush administration relaxed limits on domestic-intelligence gathering in late 2008, theF.B.I. assessed thousands of people and groups in search of evidence that they might be criminals or terrorists, a newly disclosed Justice Department document shows.

In a vast majority of those cases, F.B.I. agents did not find suspicious information that could justify more intensive investigations. The New York Times obtained the data, which the F.B.I. had tried to keep secret, after filing a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act.

The document, which covers the four months from December 2008 to March 2009, says the F.B.I. initiated 11,667 “assessments” of people and groups. Of those, 8,605 were completed. And based on the information developed in those low-level inquiries, agents opened 427 more intensive investigations, it says.


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Penthouse Founder’s FOI Files Reveal, Well…

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Before he rose to notoriety as the founder ofPenthouse magazine, Bob Guccione allegedly wrote letters soliciting customers to buy his dirty photos at the bargain rate of 10 photos for $2 under the pseudonym of “Robert Gucci.”

That’s just part of what is revealed by the more than sixty pages of FBI records on Guccione obtained by TPM through a Freedom of Information Act request. Guccione died in October at the age of 79.

Until now, it was widely held that Guccione got into the business in 1964 with the founding ofPenthouse. But the new information unveiled in an FBI file from 1964 shows that a “Gucci” who shared an address with Guccione had been under investigation in 1956 for “sending obscene photographs through the mail.”


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Wellstone FOI Files Reveal Threats on Late Senator

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Eight years ago today, Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash in northern Minnesota. Now, FBI records show the agency investigated several threats against the late senator but never prosecuted anyone for them.

Minnesota Public Radio citing files it obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The files show the threats started shortly after the Minnesota Democrat’s arrival in Washington on the eve of the first Gulf War, which he vocally opposed.

The files also show the FBI first took interest in Wellstone in 1970 when he was arrested during a Vietnam War protest. And they show that an investigation of the plane crash that killed Wellstone, his wife Sheila and six others found no indication of criminal activity.


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