Posted 08-31-2017 at 15:30:04 [URL] [DELETE]
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Re: We'll look forward
If it gets that far I doubt they will need my opinion. The basics are quite well established by precedent but I am sure a determined petitoner could get a hearing. The bar is pretty high however:
Factoring in the Public Interest
Once it has been determined that a personal privacy interest is threatened by a requested disclosure, the second step in the balancing process comes into play; this stage of the analysis requires an assessment of the public interest in disclosure. (119) The burden of establishing that disclosure would serve the public interest is on the requester. (120) And any asserted "public interest" in resolving mere allegations of wrongdoing cannot outweigh an individual's privacy interest in avoiding unwarranted association with such allegations. (142)
Indeed, in Favish, the Supreme Court firmly held that mere allegations of wrongdoing are "insufficient" to satisfy the "public interest" standard required under the FOIA. (143) The Court observed that if "bare allegations" could be sufficient to satisfy the public interest requirement, then the exemption would be "transformed . . . into nothing more than a rule of pleading." (144) Indeed, if mere allegations were all that were necessary to override a personal privacy interest, then that privacy interest would become worthless. (145)
Moreover, even when the existence of an investigation of misconduct has become publicly known, the accused individual ordinarily has an overriding privacy interest in not having the further details of the matter disclosed. (146) And even where misconduct actually is found, the agency is not necessarily required to disclose every piece of information pertaining to the investigation. (147)
The response from Ty Clevanger, a lawyer experienced in dealing with FOIA requests and privacy issues, is laughable...
“Frankly, I am stunned I should have to explain why my request pertains to a matter of public interest,” Clevenger wrote in an Aug. 11 letter to the FBI.