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FBI Sends Agent Out To Check Up On Investigative Reporter Jason Leopold’s FOIA Request

Just read this. Here’s an excerpt:

Hoping to gain deeper insight into his work as an FBI informant and the role he says the FBI played in his immigration case, I asked Hesham for permission to file a FOIA request with the bureau for his entire file. He agreed and signed a certification of identity form requesting that the agency turn over all of the records it maintained on him to me.

My FOIA request was filed in May 2011. The FBI sent me a letter saying they were processing my request. Then, last August, the bureau sent out a special agent from the FBI’s Tampa field office to speak with Hesham about my FOIA.

Bill Tidwell showed up at the home of Hesham and Jody Abu Zubaidah, his wife, on the morning of August 26, 2011. Hesham was at work. Jody’s mother, who was living with the couple at the time, answered the knock at the door. She told Jody there was “some guy in a suit at the front door.”

Jody stepped outside and Tidwell pulled out his identification. He said he needed to speak with Hesham. Tidwell said Hesham wasn’t “in any trouble, but it was important.” Jody told Tidwell Hesham was at work. Tidwell returned later that afternoon. Tidwell told Hesham he was sent by FBI headquarters to speak with him about the FOIA request I filed. Tidwell used my name. The agent asked Hesham how I found him and what my intentions were. Hesham told him that I was writing a story about him. Tidwell asked Hesham to go over everything he told me.

“Did Jason Leopold force you to sign [the certification of identity] form? Did he offer you any money?” Tidwell asked Hesham.

 

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