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How could an American citizen use the Freedom of Information Act to find out the truth behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy?The premise of this question seems to be the supposition that two things might be true.That there exist items or an item that truthfully indicates that the assassination of President Kennedy occurred in a way substantially different than what has already been revealed to the hypothetical American citizen mentioned, who I presume only has access to the official accounts released to the general public by the American government. This supposition reflects a deep distrust of the USA’s government and a belief that a conspiracy to suppress the truth is actively suppressing important facts known to the conspirators. I don’t share this belief, but for sake of this answer let us suppose that is so.That the American government, being under the control of such conspirators who still suppress the actual facts known to them, has not destroyed evidence of both the facts of the death and the existence of the conspiracy to suppress those facts; and, for some unexplained reason, in a strange decision to place compliance with the Freedom of Information Act above the continuation of the conspiracy, abandons the suppression of the facts in those documents and releases them to a private individual delivering a broad demand referring to any such items or signNows if they exist. By the time the question asks us to believe this supposition, I no longer can hold the two presumptions in my mind simultaneously. It makes no sense whatsoever.Therefore, my answer must be that there is no method by which anyone, American citizen or not, could use the Freedom of Information Act to obtain any information contrary to the publicly released reports and conclusions already released to the public by the American government. Aside from corroborating details deemed too grotesque, violative of the Kennedy family’s privacy concerns or of prurient interest only, no additional information about the assassination’s nature would be obtained under the Act.By the way, I have traveled to the assassination scene myself, and peered out of the identical corner window, where Oswald was concealed behind the boxes and where his rifle was found abandoned. I walked the “grassy knoll and behind the wall dividing it from the lot behind. I viewed the scene from the two story structure at the far end of that lot. I observed the railroad overpass carefully. I looked at the tiny narrow opening for the storm drain some writers hypothesized a shooter could crawl and shoot from as the motorcade passed the knoll. I’m just an ordinary person who was there as a tourist, but I took my time and made my personal judgments based on firsthand observation of the perspectives, angles and distances. It is very easy when there to see how Oswald could have from his excellent placement and access fired the multiple shots by himself, two of which could have caused the injuries to both the President and Senator Connolly. Three shots were almost certainly fired, the first striking a hanging traffic signal about 25 feet from Oswald which coincided to obstruct the bullet as he traced the limo’s path with his rifle and scope. The next two found their marks. This accounts for every eyewitnesses’ description of the sounds and sights they observed. It just fits, no matter how hard it is for many to believe a loner could have placed those shots.Any proposed alternate location for another shooter, on the other hand, is pretty much revealed to be absurd from my personal on site viewing of what those would require, and the complete lack of a direct line of fire from any alternate location, and certainly lack of escape routes without open viewing of an exit by many people on that scene, none of which took place. Those do not fit the facts or the site layout.As an aside and for further corroboration of the local Dallas municipal service agencies’ incompetency, that traffic signal remained untouched and unexamined hanging where it was for many months after the shootings, then was replaced along with a general upgrade of such signals and discarded without any attention to it ever being indicated to have occurred. I guess the attitude was, why look there for evidence of a bullet that could never have signNowed the presidential limo anyway, since everyone investigating was instead only looking then for multiple bullets assumed they would have signNowed the car? Such are the results of searching when you think you already know what you are looking for.Of course, this leaves open how and with what deceptive tale other men may have put Oswald up to performing the murder, believing he would be celebrated by the communist world, and maybe that he would be rescued from the the scene by a driver afterwards (who of course never appeared). I have no real idea how Jack Ruby fit into the Oswald angle either, though it makes sense that he did but with short advance notice.In hindsight, it would have been pretty clear to determined organized killers’ masterminds that the Dallas police force and secret service of that time were disorganized to the point of near incompetency, and that some approach by Ruby would eventually have opened Oswald to him, just as it was apparent that some opportunity would eventually place Oswald close enough to have a reasonably good chance to shoot the President. Security in 1963 was pretty terrible compared to now, all an assassin needed was nerves of steel to pull something off, and the willingness to take major risks.Oswald probably amazed those who put him up to it by just walking away like he did, surviving after the shooting.The security forces charged with protecting a president were just not mentally prepared to ward off a high risk single shooter or a suicidal attempt on the president’s life, in those days.The mob had plenty of reasons to eliminate the Kennedy control of the USA at that time. Oswald was an unbalanced fool and social outcast with dreams of glory. We know that. We don’t know more and won’t ever be able to put those two facts together with actual evidence.
Should correspondence between the British royal family and ministers continue to be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act?Many other answers fail to realise exactly why the monarchy is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. The Queen and her family, while different in some respects from every other family, is now much more akin to a celebrity than a politician, as she can do little more than the Crown allows (which isn’t much).One of the prime concerns of Parliament as an institution is that the Crown does not belong within politics (bar Her Majesty’s signature). This has been the case almost exclusively since 1660 and the restoration of Charles II. It is only within the entity of the government so that it can be monitored and regulated.Many of the answers have stated that Her Majesty has enormous influence over not only British people, but an international crowd too. It’s often been joked that Americans care more about the royal family than most British. This is the exact reason why FOI does not apply to her, and why parliament will never change this.As soon as the Queen voices an opinion on something, she is influencing an untold number of British people. She is more effective than any politician we have in Parliament today. By allowing her exemption, the act ensures that her private opinions remain just that, and that she does not influence politics, social stances, the economy etc. Displaying the Queen’s opinions will be a big middle finger to democracy because she could say something along the lines of “I don’t like so and so.”Suddenly, so and so loses his or her credibility in a way that no satire has ever managed to do. Replace so and so with policy, measure, bill, and you begin to picture why she’s exempt.Naturally, correspondence must happen. She could influence as many people as she needs to privately, but as long as it remains private, there is little she can do. Of course, she doesn’t do this (besides to a small number of high government officials including the current Prime Minister). Aside from the privacy offered by the Crown, she is herself, a very private and forward thinking woman. It is unlikely that she has deliberately acted to influence any individual’s actions.The rest of family are exempt for much of the same reasons but also for practicality. The royal family is large, and you would encounter the issue of how far from the incumbent ruler should the FOI act go? There is no clear boundary for where the royal family stops being the royal family.As I said before, they are much more akin to celebrities. Celebrities can influence a large amount of people very easily, in much the same way she can. So why then, do we not impose FOI on all British celebrities?Certain answers say the FOI Act allows the Queen and her family to influence government affairs when the reality is, actually, quite the opposite.
The emails of legislators are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. How would the public hold you accountable if all your dealings are private?Exactly. I once did the same request for emails from my state legislators. Here is what the Attorney General wrote me:
What can I expect to see and happen if I request my FBI file through the Freedom of Information Act?The first time anybody heard of this law was under the Carter administration. There had been headlines about illegal activities by the FBI and CIA against domestic radicals. Every activist wanted to brag about the size of their FBI file. Some had grounds for legal action.In the 1980s I had a lawsuit against US Customs and LAX and my attorney decided to get ALL my government files. Every agency. At first some had the idea I should pay for this, and my attorney made it clear the content was in the public interest, as I intended to use the material in articles and lectures on abuse of power.How easy it has been to get your FBI file, how much is deleted, how long it takes, how much it costs has changed with each administration. Republicans, from Ford onward, wanted to repeal, ignore FOIA and make it as difficult as possible to get your files. Bush tried to reclassify information already released!In my case I found out that since giving a talk on how to build an atomic bomb ( I was a teenager reacting to billboards in Oak Ridge, Tenn in the 1960s about being careful what you said), several government agencies traded information regarding every trip abroad. Going for a photo-op of the Brandenburg Gate was " going behind the Iron Curtain". There were 2 FBI agents and 3 LAPD red squad (intelligence division) in my classes at Cal State-LA.Looking over my files with 10 agencies I got an impression they are reasonably honest, if somewhat literal minded. The exception was the USPS. Maybe because they did not delete anything I found 3 cases of blatant fake information or some attempt to set me up.One of the more interesting things you learn from FBI files is what other people have to say about you. Of course they delete names, but it makes no difference.
How do I place a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request?Many federal agencies have the FOIA request process documented on their web sites. You could enter a Google query like “FOIA site:state.gov” and it will take you to the Department of State’s FOIA page. The key points in filing a request are:Be specific about what you want and how they can find it. Include the time period for the document.Tell the agency why you think they have what you are looking forIndicate how much money (if any) you are willing to pay for the search. Most simple requests are free, but if it takes a person a year to gather 10,000 pages, they will ask you to pay for itBe aware that some documents are exempt from FOIA including internal communications in the White House and personal information on living persons. For example, I cannot get your social-security number from SSA through FOIA.Be prepared to wait a long time, depending on the agency.File a timely appeal if they tell you don’t have information you are reasonably sure they have.Document every communication you have with the government. Sometimes an agency (and I am ashamed to say it) will intentionally delay a politically sensitive request. While there are statutory limits on how long they can wait before they acknowledge your request and commit to starting the search, there is no limit on how long they can take provide the information. You need the documentation in case you decide to file a FOIA lawsuit.