Michael Jackson's Files
After singer Michael Jackson died in the summer, I filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for copies of any records they had on him. In August, I received a reply from the FBI about the nearly 600-pages the agency found in the archive. That reply generated much traffic to my blog and enormous interest from Jackson fans the world over.
Late last week, an agent for the FBI phoned me and explained that they were going to make hundreds of pages from the Jackson files available to the public on the web early this week. I believe my FOIA request played a significant role in this quick release.
Today, the feds have posted 333 pages from the archive and I believe this is the fastest turnaround of any FOIA I have filed with the FBI over the years. Sure, it pleases my sunshine activist bones to have the FBI move so quickly on releasing any files, but the agency doesn't move so quickly on retrieving, reviewing and sharing files on other public figures.
As reported in October over at the Raw Story news site, it's been more than a year since the FBI told me they located 1,000-pages related to the late homo-hating Sen. Jesse Helms. I've yet to be provided with a single page from the Helms file and the feds have given no timetable about when they will release any of the voluminous amount of info they have on the former North Carolina senator.
This is the introduction at the FBI "Hot Topics" page where 333-pages on Jackson are available for reading:
Michael Joseph Jackson, a celebrity pop star, was born on August 29, 1958. He died unexpectedly on June 25, 2009 at the age of 50.
Between 1993 and 1994 and separately between 2004 and 2005, Mr. Jackson was investigated by California law enforcement agencies for possible child molestation. He was acquitted of all such charges. The FBI provided technical and investigative assistance to these agencies during the cases. The Bureau also investigated threats made against Mr. Jackson and others by an individual who was later imprisoned for these crimes.
If the FBI can move this fast to get out some of its records on an entertainer, it should be able to do the same for FOIAs related to deceased political figures.