International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

Resources

Sample Letter:
FOIA Documents

First, we ask that you sign the online petition for the release of all documents concerning the Peltier case.

We also ask you to write a letter to the congressional committees responsible for the administration of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) throughout the federal government.

Sample Letter

Honorable Chuck Grassley, Chairman
Committee on the Judiciary
U.S. Senate
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Grassley:

First, thank you for protecting and advancing government transparency through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

As you may recall, Leonard Peltier is a prominent Native American activist who is currently imprisoned at the United States Penitentiary in Coleman, Florida. Leonard Peltier was convicted in connection with the shooting deaths of two agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on June 26, 1975, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

For years, Leonard Peltier’s attorneys have attempted to secure his files from the FBI under the FOIA. FOIA requests have been made on Mr. Pelter’s behalf to FBI Headquarters and its field offices around the country. There have been numerous unnecessary delays in the handling of the FOIA requests submitted on Mr. Peltier’s behalf, however, and the FBI almost always refuses to release documents citing national security interests. It’s difficult to understand what possible risk to national security exists related to a case the FBI investigated over 34 years ago.

I urge you to hold a hearing on the handling of Leonard Peltier’s FOIA requests. The FBI must be required to divulge the exact number of documents it maintains on Leonard Peltier and the Field Offices that maintain these records; the total number of documents regarding this case that have been destroyed, as well as the date and authority under which records were destroyed; and whether or not any records dealing with Leonard Peltier have been transferred to any other agencies, as well as pertinent details of those transfers.

More importantly, these documents—that are over 25 years old and historically significant—must be released. At this time, the FBI continues to withhold over 70,000 documents that are known to exist. These documents may contain new information that will shed light on this controversial case. These documents must be released to the public without delay.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Signature

Also send copies of your correspondence to:

Honorable Bob Goodlatte, Chairman
Committee on the Judiciary
U.S. House of Representatives
2138 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Honorable Darrell Issa, Chairman
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
U.S. House of Representatives
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

ALERT!

FBI Field Offices in the following states continue to withhold documents related to the Peltier case. Adapt the above sample letter to write to your Members of Congress. Refer to the specific field offices in your state and the number of documents being withheld by each office in said state.

Field Office No. of Pages
Birmingham, AL 200
Mobile, AL 400
Anchorage, AK 80
Phoenix, AZ 1,268
Little Rock, AR 200
Los Angeles, CA 2,300
Sacramento, CA 2,550
San Diego, CA 723
San Francisco, CA 3,700
Denver, CO 2,671
Washington, DC 1,000
Miami, FL 200
Tampa, FL 330
Atlanta, GA 535
Honolulu, HI 410
Chicago, IL—2,525 docs released in 2004. 0
Springfield, IL 374
Indianapolis, IN 275
Louisville, KY 20
Baltimore, MD 30
Boston, MA 1,088
Detroit, MI 40
Minneapolis, MN— This field office maintained 90,000 pages of material responsive to Leonard’s FOIA request.  77,149 pages were reviewed; 66,594 pages (in full or in part) were released; 10,555 pages are still being withheld in their entirety. 10,555
Jackson, MS 350
Kansas City, MO 431
Saint Louis, MO 2,020
ND & SD—In November 2002, after attempting for over a year to amicably acquire some of these documents, the Legal Team filed a FOIA complaint in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts against the Executive Office of the United States Attorneys.  On February 6, 2003, due to the above complaint, the Legal Team succeeded in acquiring 1,000 documents from North Dakota and South Dakota. 0
Omaha, NE 2,861
Las Vegas, NV 954
Albuquerque, NM 3,550
Albany, NY 64
Buffalo, NY— There were 812 pages of material responsive to Leonard Peltier’s FOIA request submitted to the Buffalo Field Office. The FBI released 797 pages in full or in part in 2004. Fifteen pages were withheld in their entirety. 15
New York, NY (Manhattan)— File is “missing ?
Charlotte, NC 50
Cincinnati, OH 19
Cleveland, OH 711
Oklahoma City, OK 2,075
Portland, OR—Located 15,264 pages of documents that had not been indexed under Mr. Peltier’s name. The FBI released 3,866 pages in 2007. 11,398
Philadelphia, PA 465
Pittsburgh, PA 400
San Juan, PR 200
Columbia, SC 200
Knoxville, TN 400
Memphis, TN 221
Dallas, TX 700
El Paso, TX 37
Houston, TX 300
San Antonio, TX 77
Salt Lake City, UT 1,500
Norfolk, VA 400
Richmond, VA 82
Seattle, WA 3,200
Milwaukee, WI 9,654
TOTAL 71,283+

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