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FBI says it lost 'missing files' on the white nationalist hate site Stormfront: report

FBI says it lost 'missing files' on the white nationalist hate site Stormfront: report
Image via Shutterstock.

The FBI told reporter Emma Best that has lost or could not find its records on the white nationalist hate site Stormfront, MuckRock reported this week.

Best had requested the records through the Freedom of Information Act, but the bureau only returned 104 pages of files. It believed there were more records to find:

For your information. a search of the indices of our Central Records System reflected there were additional records potentially responsive for your Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts (FOIA) request. We have attempted to obtain this material so it could be reviewed to determine whether it was responsive to your request. We were advised that the potentially responsive records were not In their expected location and could not be located after a reasonable search. Following a reasonable waiting period. another attempt was made to obtain this material. This search for the missing records also met with unsuccessful results.

It's not clear how extensive a "reasonable search" has to be, so it's difficult to assess if the materials are truly lost or just inconveniently stored.

"FBI claims to have lost the file on the neo-nazi group Stormfront. Sure, Jan," Best said. Best added that they didn't think the bureau was acting unusually deceptive, noting that the FBI claims it can't find records frequently.

"My implication wasn't that they lost it on purpose, just that they either didn't look very hard or have an organizational system that would have Hoover spinning in his grave," they explained.

Forward reported that some of the members on Stormfront were "gleeful" in response, suspecting that an ally in the bureau buried the files. But a review of the forum showed that many of the hate site users seemed shocked that the bureau would have any interest in Stormfront at all. Some suspected that the failure to release the files may even be an attempt to hide the extent to which the bureau is monitoring the site.

Combating white supremacy has long been a part of the FBI's mission, even while it also targeted civil rights leaders in the past. Director Christopher Wray recently said it poses a "persistent, pervasive threat" to the United States, and the bureau has recently found an increase in the white supremacist domestic terrorism. But critics have said that President Donald Trump's administration, it has become more difficult to fight the danger this ideology poses.

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