Trump Admin Hit With Lawsuit For Keeping Survey On FBI Morale Under Wraps

Former FBI Director James Comey testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on his past relationship with President Donald Trump, and his role in the Russian interference investigation, in the Senate Hart building on Capitol Hill, on Thursday, June 8, 2017. (Photo by Cheriss May) (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto)
Former FBI Director James Comey testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on his past relationship with President Donald Trump, and his role in the Russian interference investigation, in the Senate Har... Former FBI Director James Comey testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on his past relationship with President Donald Trump, and his role in the Russian interference investigation, in the Senate Hart building on Capitol Hill, on Thursday, June 8, 2017. (Photo by Cheriss May) (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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How have FBI staff fared since James Comey was fired as director last year? The Trump administration doesn’t want the public to know.

A new lawsuit is seeking to force the administration to release the results of the FBI’s February-March 2018 “climate survey,” an anonymous annual review that takes the temperature of worker morale at the agency.

Ben Wittes and Scott Anderson, Brookings Institution fellows and the editors of Lawfare, filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the document in April. (Wittes also is a close personal friend of Comey). On Friday, with the FBI having failed to produce the survey or give justification for the delay within the time period required by FOIA, Wittes and Anderson sued in federal court in Washington D.C.

The suit argues that the agency had released the climate surveys every year since 2013, and noted that the public has a high level of interest in how the chaos of the last year has affected the experience of the FBI’s rank and file. The bureau’s advocates have argued that the frequent attacks on the FBI from Trump and his allies risk undermining employee morale.

“The FBI faced many challenges over the past year, following President Trump’s decision to fire Director Comey,” it reads. “The President and his allies have accused specific FBI personnel of skewing investigative results, abusing surveillance authorities, and engaging in a vendetta against the President. The President has also repeatedly attacked the integrity of the FBI and its agents on Twitter.”

The lawsuit additionally argues that the public deserves to see the documents because the Trump administration’s past claims about FBI morale under Comey were disproven by the release of the 2017 climate survey.

Wittes and Anderson are represented by the Protect Democracy Project, a non-profit founded by former White House and administration lawyers.

Read the full complaint below:

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Notable Replies

  1. Is anyone keeping track of all the lawsuits and requests made of this maladministration that get ignored, shit-canned or mocked?

    It’s a blackhole for transparency requests.

  2. I’ll take a wild guess here and assume the non-release is based on the same “PR nightmare” proviso applied to the EPA report about unsafe chemicals in drinking water near military bases.

  3. I would like to read the comments on those surveys… must be filled with praise for Trump and Sessions…

  4. They are cheating history. Decisions are being made without decision records. Justifications for actions are not being published. Data from agency scientists are being supressed. The US Government is being transformed into an extension of the Trump Organization. I cited a commenter earlier who claimed that the US was a becoming a corporatocracy, but mispelled it as “coprotocracy”. If the shit fits,…

  5. Same thought, ProPublica perhaps? Probably Lawfare itself.

Continue the discussion at forums.talkingpointsmemo.com

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