FBI SAYS “NO RECORDS;” DOJ STATES OTHERWISE; MOST REQUESTS GO UNADDRESSED
by Sharon Rondeau
(Sep. 27, 2012) — Since the end of March, The Post & Email has been attempting to obtain documentation through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on the source of the order to deploy FBI agents and a large number of Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) agents, Tennessee Highway Patrol, local police officers, snipers, SWAT teams, and police canines into Madisonville, TN on April 20, 2010. On that day, Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III was scheduled to attend an assignment hearing on charges stemming from a citizen’s arrest of the former acting grand jury foreman, Gary Pettway.
We dealt primarily with the Office of Information Policy at the U.S. Department of Justice.
One William L. Bryan, who goes by the name of “Foggy” or “PJ Foggy,” claimed responsibility for contacting the FBI about an imminent threat to Madisonville on April 20. Bryan occasionally hosts an internet radio program favorable to Barack Hussein Obama. To public knowledge, Bryan has never been questioned about his false report to the FBI. There were no arrests that day, and reports of people “armed” near the courthouse did not materialize in any arrests, with the exception of Darren Wesley Huff, who had placed his firearms in the toolbox of his truck prior to attempting to attend Fitzpatrick’s hearing. Huff was therefore not armed in the area of the courthouse.
It also doesn’t bode well for the prosecution if it doesn’t pan out.
I think the better tack to take is not the militia standoff scenario that inarguably did not occur or even get near occurring, but the real and actual cost of what actually did happen in the conscientious and successful attempt to avert lawless action. Only after establishing the real effects of Huff’s attempt, such as the costs to law enforcement of having to heighten security drastically, drawing it away from other public safety concerns, should the specter of far more serious consequences be raised.
The fact is, the way Huff presented himself, the authorities simply had to take his threats seriously. However, the utterly cartoonish nature of this plot and the completely anticlimactic outcome make it frankly a huge stretch to argue anyone actually intended to produce assault rifles and storm the courthouse. I don’t think that’s believable. However, it is quite clear that Huff hoped to create a brouhaha of some sort, something that would probably fit the broad definition of a civil disorder. The fact that Huff’s expected huge mob of idiots turned into a couple dimwits instead doesn’t negate the attempt.
The reckless irresponsibility of throwing guns into the mix created the very real possibility that the situation would degenerate to the point someone got shot, even if it would probably have been Huff himself.
In other words, the buffoonish nature of the failed attempt should not distract from the fact that Huff’s conduct inflicted very real costs on society, and led to a situation where there was a substantial possibility of someone getting hurt, even if the “take over Madisonville” scenario is ludicrous on its face and clearly would never have actually happened. There was an actual civil disorder, even if it wasn’t at the grandiose level Huff wanted. Huff traveled interstate with guns to participate in this, hoping for something more. If a jury finds those things, they have to convict.
Overselling a thin case, IMO, doesn’t help the prosecution.
The Fogbow commenter is correct. Contrary to mainstream media reports, there was no “armed standoff” in Madisonville that day, and no arrests were made. Tennessee media has been known to toe the government line, avoiding any mention of the deprivation of civil and constitutional rights practiced daily by judges, prosecutors, court clerks, jury members, and long-standing grand jury foremen in violation of the aforementioned laws.
A citizen’s arrest is legal in Tennessee. While one county law enforcement officer in Tennessee told Fitzpatrick that a citizen’s arrest can be conducted only for alleged criminal activity, Fitzpatrick told The Post & Email that he had identified at least two felonies of which he accused Pettway of committing at the time. Pettway had been serving as the grand jury foreman for 28 consecutive years without an appointing order or any evidence that he had ever been sworn in.
Fitzpatrick has repeatedly stated that the Tennessee judiciary is “running their own government.” He is a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Navy and is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Paul D. Rush on a charge of “tampering with government records.” Fitzpatrick has stated that the records in question were left on a table with publicly-available information, and Rush, who is now under investigation for professional misconduct, has claimed that Fitzpatrick “purloined” the documents from the courtroom on December 7, 2011.
Fitzpatrick’s attorney, Van Irion of Knoxville, has stated that the charge against Fitzpatrick is “trumped up” and the prosecution “malicious.”
Fitzpatrick believes that local corrupt law enforcement worked with state and federal officers to prosecute Huff. Another Obama supporter stated, again during Huff’s trial:
You can bet the prosecution wants that stuff in, but it’s probably more prejudicial than probative. I can think of a couple ways it might get in, but this is one where I actually don’t want to help Huff. I’ll go into that more if it happens or if it can no longer happen.
Recent reports in The Chattanooga Times Free Press as well as reports dating back two and one-half years at The Post & Email have confirmed that there is misconduct within the Tenth Judicial District of Tennessee. Defendants are regularly jailed and sent to prison without due process, and grand jury members are unduly influenced by the long-serving grand jury foremen, who cannot be perceived to be objective in carrying out their duties when their “position” depends on a judge’s good favor.
Grand juries have been convened by each county in Tennessee for decades, but county grand juries are not found in the Tennessee constitution nor in state statutes. Rather, a set of laws passed in 1984 ordered the criminal courts to reorganize into districts, most of which were to contain three or four counties. The conclusions reached by Walter Fitzpatrick regarding the ramifications of the 1984 laws are supported by a well-known Tennessee attorney.
In 2008, a law was passed mandating that no juror could serve on any Tennessee jury again without a 24-month period between services, but jurors in Monroe County have been proven to have served on consecutive juries. While the law does not differentiate between the foreman and the other jurors, Tennessee judges have defied the law and maintained foremen who serve for years and sometimes decades. The Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts and Tennessee Supreme Court are aware of this practice and have taken no action to correct it. They have also been made aware of the laws passed almost three decades ago which ordered judicial districts to be formed and district grand juries to be convened at least twice a year.
On April 20, 2010, Darren Huff traveled to Madisonville to observe Fitzpatrick’s assignment hearing, although like many others, he was not allowed to enter the courtroom. While public officials contended that Huff had stated his intent to cause a “disturbance” in the town and “take over the courthouse,” Huff has denied making any such statements. He is now serving a four-year sentence for “carrying a firearm in interstate commerce with the intent to use it in a civil disorder.”
At least two of the government’s witnesses at Darren Huff’s trial are under investigation by the TBI, State Comptroller, and the Tennessee Attorney General. Monroe County Sheriff Bill Bivens, who also testified, has been known to lie and participated in a criminal plot to elicit a confession from an inmate by using another inmate as a “con man.”
Fitzpatrick had met Huff for the first time on April 1, the day of the citizen’s arrest. Fitzpatrick does not belong to a militia but has been characterized by TIME Magazine as promoting “armed confrontation with government.”
The Second Amendment contained within the Bill of Rights states:
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
In colonial days, able-bodied men were expected to be armed so that “a government could not arbitrarily force its dictatorial will on the people.” Town militias were organized and trained so as to be ready within a half-hour “for any service requirement.”
Perhaps in the 1780’s, the rise of a tyrant to a leadership position in the U.S. was a cause for concern. Today, in my opinion, the voters are much too sophisticated to elect a leader whose stated aims would be to suppress freedom or declare martial law. For the leader whose unstated aim it was to seize the nation, the task would be more than daunting — it would be next to impossible. The size and scope of the conspiracy needed, the cooperation of patriots who would see right through such a plan — it is unfathomable, the stuff of fiction. There are some who fear the rise in executive power under the second Bush presidency is just such a usurpation, and in some ways it may be. But similar usurpations of power by the Congress and the President, such as the Alien and Sedition Acts, the suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War, or the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, were all eventually overturned or struck down and then condemned by history. My hope is that history can be our guide this time, too.
The writer of the commentary is not identified. There have been many who have said that Obama’s ascendancy to the White House was part of a large conspiracy, including at least two investigators who will remain unnamed for the moment.
In training materials produced with taxpayer dollars from the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Fitzpatrick and Huff have been characterized as “Sovereign Citizens,” a group described as believing that they are exempt from state and federal statutes. A father and son team who murdered two police officers are described as “sovereign citizens” in the training program leaked to The Post & Email this past spring. Neither the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security nor the TBI will respond to our Tennessee Open Records Act requests about the program, which mentions this publication by name.
While the Tennessee DOS/DHS has a new “identity crimes unit,” the Sovereign Citizen program continues to state that anyone doubting the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate (the program is out of date and therefore shows the short-form certificate) is a potential domestic terrorist. Both of Obama’s birth certificates, his Social Security number and Selective Service registration card have been deemed fraudulent by experts. Several lawsuits are under litigation by Atty. Orly Taitz to obtain Obama’s original documentation. Taitz has stated that Obama is guilty of identity fraud, among other crimes.
Rather than being “transparent” as promised, the Obama regime has hidden information and documentation from the public about the operation of government and Obama’s personal documentation. The state of Hawaii has been named as complicit in a cover-up about Obama’s background and vital records. The head of Obama’s Justice Department, Eric Holder, has been held in both civil and criminal contempt of Congress.
On October 19, 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel reporter Jamie Satterfield was said to have tweeted the following in regard to Darren Huff’s trial:
Just cause u plot a takeover of a town that never occurs, r u a criminal? Latest on ‘birther, trial in 2morrow’s KNS
11 hours ago
If Satterfield made that remark, was she impartial? On June 14, Satterfield blocked The Post & Email from leaving comments about the statutes passed in 1984 during a live chat session in which she appeared to have positioned herself to be perceived as an expert on the law.
Defendant Michael Ellington was sent to prison for life last year without even a police report having been presented as evidence in Judge Amy Reedy‘s courtroom. Members of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, judiciary, and state agencies have routinely been caught lying to the public, including The Post & Email, and participating in proven criminal activity. An “unofficial” court transcript was released to a group of Obama supporters, while The Post & Email was kept waiting for a month after rendering payment for same. The transcript received from the court reporter was not identical to that which the Obama supporters posted online. The defendant, Fitzpatrick, never received a copy from the court.
Our initial request to David P. Sobonya of the U.S. Department of Justice reads:
I am writing to request the following records regarding an event which occurred in Monroe County, TN on April 20, 2010:
* Any and all notes of conversations between and among FBI agents, particularly in the Knoxville, TN office, about plans to assemble an extraordinary police presence in the above location on the above date because of an alleged report of “militia members” planning to “take over the courthouse and the town.” Media background information: http://www.timesnews.net/article/9037358
* Documentation revealing which member of the public called the authorities and when regarding the alleged planned “takeover.” One “William L. Bryan” has claimed responsibility:
For more background information: http://www.thepostemail.com/2010/11/14/eyewitness-report-from-the-monroe-county-jail/
* Any and all documentation possessed by the FBI regarding instructions given to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department about the alleged “takeover,” including who ordered the turnout of more than 100 law enforcement officers and when.
* Information on who dispatched SWAT teams, snipers, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Sweetwater Police, Monroe County Sheriff’s Department deputies, Tennessee Bureau of Invesitation officers, and FBI agents to Madisonville (county seat of Monroe County) for April 20, 2010, on which no arrests were made and no one attempted to “take over the courthouse.”
I am willing to pay reasonable costs for copying and postage for the documentation.
Thank you very much.
Sharon Rondeau, Editor
The Post & Email
P.O. Box 195
Stafford Springs, CT 06076
Mr. Sobonya’s email response reads as follows:
Dear Ms. Rondeau,
The FBI has received your Freedom of Information Act/Privacy (FOI/PA) request and it will be forwarded to the Work Process Unit or a Single Station Disclosure Team for review. Your request will be processed under the provisions of FOI/PA and a response will be mailed to you at a later date.
Requests for fee waivers and expedited processing will be addressed once your request has been assigned an FOI/PA request number. You will receive written notification of the FBI’s decision.
Information regarding the Freedom of Information Act/Privacy is available at http://www.fbi.gov/or http://www.fbi.gov/foia/. Upon receipt of an FOI/PA Request Number, you can check the status of your request online at: http://www.fbi.gov/foia/, and by clicking on the ‘Check Status of Your FOI/PA Request link under the Records Available Now section. If you require additional assistance please contact the Public Information Officer.
David P. Sobonya
Public Information Officer/Legal Admin. Specialist
Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS)
FBI-Records Management Division
170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
Direct: (540) 868-4286
PIO Number: (540) 868-4593
Fax: (540) 868-4391/4997
The FBI states on its website that “The FBI—along with every other government agency—creates or obtains records as it carries out its responsibilities. In the Bureau, these records are generally organized into case files. Our common records include investigative files and personnel files.”
At the end of April, The Post & Email received an initial response to our FOIA request stating that “Based on the information you provided, we conducted a search of the Central Records System. We were unable to identify main file records responsive to the FOIA” and that we could file an appeal, which we did on May 1, 2012.
On May 15, we received an acknowledgement letter from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Information Policy stating that “We will notify you of the decision on your appeal as soon as we can.” A contact telephone number was provided, although several messages left over the ensuing months were not returned.
Ultimately, we sent a letter to the contact person, Priscilla Jones, and her supervisor, Melanie Pustay, requesting a response on the appeal. On September 26, we received a letter which stated, part:
You appealed from the action of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on your request for access to records concerning the attempted take over [sic] of the courthouse in Monroe County, TN.
After carefully considering your appeal, I am affirming, on modified grounds, the FBI’s action on your request. Without consent, proof of death, official acknowledgment of an investigation, or an overriding public interest, disclosure of law enforcement records concerning an individual could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy…
The FBI had never given The Post & Email a disposition as to why we could not obtain access to the records sought; rather, it said that they “were unable to identify main file records responsive to the FOIA.”
The appeal respondent then said:
Because any records responsive to your request would be categorically exempt from disclosure, the FBI properly asserted Exemption 7(C) and was not required to conduct a search for the requested records…
referencing “named third parties.”
The FBI never invoked any exemption; it said that it had no “records responsive to the FOIA.” The only reason for non-disclosure given was 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(7)(C), which states:
(C) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy,
Most of the documentation we requested did not involve a “named third party,” but rather, documentation generated by public officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Those requests were not addressed in the September 21 letter signed by a party for an “Anne D. Work, Senior Counsel, Administrative Appeals Staff.”
Why were the other requests for documentation not addressed? Were there orders for FBI agents to deploy on April 20, 2010, or were there not?
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.