Requesting Lou Reed’s FBI file

Lou Reed died today at 71. His music — especially the the four Velvet Underground records — have always been very important to me. (If you must know, not actually always, but starting from the time Liza at Camp Half Moon loaned me Loaded and I listened to it over and over on my Discman.)

When a person dies, the privacy exemptions to the FOIA [(b)(6) and (b)(7)(C)]  no longer apply. That means a federal agency like the FBI can produce records that might not have previously been available. Using Muckrock, I’ve requested Lou Reed’s FBI file, which must be filled in 4 weeks but may actually come sooner. When Rich Jones requested Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s FBI file, that came in a week (and just days before Christmas, too).

UPDATE: on November 1 I got a response from the FBI saying there were no responsive documents. I find that hard to believe, but have no choice… unless I want to start rumors that they were withheld according to 5 USC §552(c) because he was an informant or involved in ongoing crimes or something. Barring that—case closed.

Published by Parker Higgins

I'm the Director of Special Projects at the Freedom of the Press Foundation, and previously led copyright activism at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. I live and work in Brooklyn, New York. more »