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FBI FOIA OFFICE TOLD TO START GOOGLING WASHINGTON � Anyone who’s dealt with federal agencies’ Freedom of Information Act offices know they can be somewhat less responsive than D.C.’s infamous Department of Motor Vehicles. Last week, Judge Merrick Garland of the D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals flung a dart at the FBI’s FOIA office in its long-running dispute with author John Davis. A leading proponent of the Mafia-killed-JFK school of assassination research, Davis has fought a two-decade legal battle with the FBI over access to audiotapes of recorded conversations from a corruption probe in Louisiana conducted more than a quarter-century ago. At issue are five tapes of conversations between a “prominent individual” and an undercover informant. The FBI has refused to turn over the tapes, citing the privacy concerns of those recorded, but says it cannot determine whether the people on the tapes are living or dead. The FBI refused to search a Social Security database to determine whether those on the tapes are alive, saying it couldn’t do so because the speakers didn’t mention their Social Security numbers or birth dates during the conversations. In remanding the case, Garland helpfully told the FBI that it might try checking its own files for the Social Security numbers of the chatters. Alternatively, Garland suggested, the FBI also might try a useful tool known as the Internet. “The Bureau does not appear to have contemplated other ways of determining whether the speakers are dead, such as Googling them,” Garland wrote.

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