Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project Files FOIA Lawsuit for Key DOJ, NARA Documents
Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project Files FOIA Lawsuit for Key DOJ, NARA Documents

By Mark Tapscott

Attorneys representing the Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project are suing the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for refusing to grant expedited processing of the conservative non-profit’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for copies of communications at the center of the FBI’s controversial Aug. 8 raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

The government’s refusal concerned two Oversight Project FOIA requests. The DOJ request sought copies of all communications between any DOJ employees and entities outside the government, including those in the news media. The NARA request sought copies of all communications between that agency and the Biden White House, DOJ, the FBI, and staff members working for Trump.

The Oversight Project’s request for the expedited handling, which is provided under certain circumstances by the FOIA, was based on the intense public interest that exploded as soon as news broke of the raid involving more than 30 FBI agents lasting more than 11 hours and resulting in the removal of thousands of documents from the estate.

During the raid, which was based on the DOJ’s belief that Trump illegally kept highly secret, classified documents in unsecured facilities at the estate, FBI agents inspected the wardrobe of former First Lady Melania Trump.

Agents also seized an estimated 11,000 non-classified documents and photographs. A total of 103 documents marked with various levels of classification were also seized by the agents. A photograph released by the FBI following the raid reportedly showed multiple folders bearing classification markings that were empty.

The Epoch Times has also reported that the search warrant that enabled the raid specified that agents could also seize information regarding the retrieval, storage, or transmission of national defense information or classified material; any government and/or presidential records created between Jan. 20, 2017, and Jan. 20, 2021; and any evidence “of the knowing alteration, destruction, or concealment of any government and/or Presidential Records, or of any documents with classification markings.”

Mike Howell, Oversight Project Director, said in a statement issued late Sept. 2, that officials within the Biden administration and DOJ have been selectively leaking documents to favored media outlets that have provided supportive coverage of the raid, its aftermath, and its justification.

“Biden’s DOJ and FBI raided Mar-a-Lago over a document dispute. Now, they have a document dispute with us,” Howell said in the statement. “Let’s see if the law is truly applied evenly, or if these agencies continue to stonewall our efforts while selectively leaking information to liberal media outlets to advance the narrative [Attorney General] Merrick Garland and [President] Joe Biden want.”

Howell is a veteran of major congressional oversight projects, having served as an attorney for the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. He is also a former senior official at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under Trump where he dealt with congressional oversight requests.

“The DOJ is conducting this investigation in an overtly partisan and corrupt manner. The authorized leaks and selective disclosures discredit their entire basis for withholding other information from valid requests such as ours. There is simply no valid ongoing investigation exemption for the communications we are seeking. The American people have a right to these communications, and the administration must turn them over,” Howell continued in the statement.

“Since Biden’s administration is ripping the fabric of this country apart at the seams over a document retention issue, let’s be clear—leaks from government officials to media are communications that must be retained and turned over to us. If these leaks occur outside government systems and are not returned to government systems, then they are violating document retention laws. Failure to obtain and turn over these materials is an unacceptable double standard and another reason Americans across the political spectrum are losing trust in the Department of Justice,” he said.

“It is unfortunate that private citizens must take their government to court to obtain documents that belong to the people. This is more evidence of a two-tier justice system, where the Washington Post and other liberal media outlets are afforded more rights than ordinary Americans outside the Beltway,” Howell added.

Affiliate News Feeds

  • Reuters
  • Washington Examiner
  • The Federalist
  • The Epoch Times
  • The Guardian
  • The Gateway Pundit
  • Judicial Watch

By Hans Mahncke News Analysis Late on Dec. 2, Elon Musk started the process of releasing thousands of internal Twitter emails. Musk, whose purchase of Twitter was completed on Oct. 28, had previously announced… [...]

By Naveen Athrappully France is banning short-haul domestic flights when there is a regular and frequent train option that takes less than two and a half hours, after a 2021 climate law, No… [...]

By Katabella Roberts House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) vowed on Sunday that the fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will not move forward unless the military’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate ends. Speaking on Fox Business Network’s “Sunday… [...]

California lawmakers are once again poised to introduce legislation to tax Big Oil despite public backlash over a similar move earlier this year. [...]

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday in a case about whether a custom webpage designer who disagrees with LGBT marriage can refuse to create a website for a same-sex… [...]

President Joe Biden is considering the idea of removing the COVID-19 vaccination mandate for U.S. service members, though he backs Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s continued support for the measure. [...]

Even corrupt corporate media are willing to acknowledge the risk of nuclear war is 'now a daily issue for the Biden administration.' [...]

A legal rep for the Loudoun County School Board engaged in witness tampering during an investigation into an alleged sexual assault. [...]

The attack on Lorie Smith is both authoritarian and unconstitutional. [...]

A recently discovered filing in a court case relating to Big Tech censorship revealed that the office of Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs coordinated with Twitter to censor election… [...]

The Biden administration has claims it drained the heavily depleted U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in order to save the “global economy.” The White House’s International Energy Affairs adviser, Amos… [...]

To some, it’s an arcane discussion among constitutional scholars that reads like cement. To others, it’s a brazen grab for “runaway legislative power” by state lawmakers who say the U.S.… [...]

Labour-endorsed study finds initiative would save families thousands of pounds, cut benefits spending and raise tax revenuesFree universal preschool childcare and more funding for after-school clubs could increase government revenues… [...]

Charity boss talks of very difficult time for her charity Sistah Space since encounter with Susan HusseyA black British charity leader who was asked where she “really came from” by… [...]

PM caves in as up to 100 Tory MPs threaten to rebel, leading Labour to accuse him of putting party before countryRishi Sunak is to drop compulsory housebuilding targets to… [...]

Orange County, California – A Huntington Beach school principal committed suicide at Disneyland on Saturday. Christopher Christensen, 51, jumped off the Mickey & Friends parking structure on Saturday. Christensen said… [...]

Joe Biden’s Assistant Secretary of Health’s leading mission from day one has been pushing the normalization of transgenderism in our nation’s children.  This time, however, Levine wants America’s physicians to… [...]

Senator-elect Eric Schmitt, and current Missouri Attorney General, joined Sean Hannity on Monday night to discuss the federal government’s collusion with Democrat politicians to silence their conservative opposition. Currently, Missouri… [...]

Top Headlines of the Week Press Releases Judicial Watch: Secret Service Has Repeatedly Changed Story on Existence of Hunter Biden Gun Records Judicial Watch announced recently that the United States… [...]

From The European Conservative: In recent days, we have seen news reports proclaiming the Ukrainian victory along the western bank of the Dnipro River in the city of Kherson. These… [...]

Secret Service Repeatedly Changes Its Story on Hunter Biden Gun Records What is the Secret Service Hiding about Biden Raid on Trump’s Home? Judicial Watch Sues to Find Out! Judicial… [...]

USNN2020

USNN World News (USNN) USNN World News Corporation is a media company consisting of a series of sites specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information, local,...