Reporters Committee secures FOIA win in case to uncover details on FBI impersonation of documentary filmmakers

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled the Federal Bureau of Investigation must search for and produce records related to the agency’s impersonation of documentary filmmakers during investigations in response to a request from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press for more information about the practice.

After learning the FBI impersonated a documentary film crew to investigate Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his followers following a 2014 armed standoff between Bundy and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the Reporters Committee requested access to records related to this practice under the Freedom of Information Act. The FBI issued what’s known as a Glomar response, refusing to confirm or deny the existence of records responsive to the Reporters Committee’s request. The Reporters Committee challenged that response, arguing that it was improper, and the D.C. District Court agreed.

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