Thursday, May 11, 2017

DoJ Responds to FOIA Appeal, Directs FBI to Search Further for Lash Files

A May 10 email from the Department of Justice stated my appeal for files on Jeffrey Alan Lash "has been processed with the following final disposition: completely reversed/remanded." The email was from the DoJ Office of Information Policy and addressed an appeal filed due to the FBI previously reporting requested records were unable to be identified. From the DoJ email:

Readers will recall my post on the Lash case summarized the 2015 story of a man found dead in a vehicle in the Los Angeles upscale community of Pacific Palisades. The bizarre saga involved a stash of millions of dollars in weapons and ammo, about a quarter of a million dollars in cash, and testimonies that the deceased had claimed to be an ET-human hybrid working with U.S. intelligence agencies, among other odd plot twists. The post went on to become my most viewed by far, and continues to consistently be among the most viewed per week in spite of having been posted two years ago.

Outside Pacific Palisades condo where Lash reportedly lived
in what an LA police captain called the worst case of
weapons hoarding she'd seen in her 27-year law enforcement career  

My initial FOIA request to the FBI for records on the Lash case was filed in 2016. I was subsequently informed by the Bureau in a letter dated Dec. 15, 2016, that records were unable to be identified, but it was added that the "response neither confirms nor denies the existence of your subject's name on any watch lists." It was also clarified to be a standard notification "and should not be taken as an indication that excluded records do, or do not, exist."

The letter further stated, "If you have additional information pertaining to the subject that you believe was of investigative interest to the Bureau, please provide us the details and we will conduct an additional search."

I subsequently wrote, in part, in an appeal dated Feb. 1, 2017:
I therefore point out 'The Guardian', in an article dated July 23, 2015, reported the late Mr. Lash believed he "was a secret government operative under constant surveillance by the CIA, the FBI or both." The article may be viewed at:
Similarly, 'The Washington Times' reported Lash identified himself to neighbors as "Bob Smith" and "claimed to have worked for either the FBI or CIA." The July 23, 2015, article may be viewed at:
'The Los Angeles Times' and many other media outlets reported similar circumstances. Files available for release are therefore requested on any investigations the Bureau may have conducted of Jeffrey Alan Lash, as well as any interest in or relationships with Lash.

Let's hope a further search for responsive records at the FBI turns up something interesting and available for release. For those of you following the political sword rattling taking place between the White House and FBI, it might be worth noting that the letter received in the May 10 email was actually contained in a pdf, and was dated March 23. For whatever reasons, the March letter was not emailed until the day after former Director James Comey was fired. I mention this because it might or might not indicate ripples of the political turbulence reach throughout the FOIA staff and process in some manner. 


View previous posts on the Jeffrey Alan Lash case and my related FOIA requests


  1. For what it's worth . . . I was a federal contractor for several years. As the Cabinet level Department I worked for saw it's budget continually cut, there were fewer and fewer resources available to handle such things as FOIA requests. It was thought that consolidating the handling of all requests Department-wide through two people in one office would solve the problem of no longer having enough people throughout the Department to respond. This consolidation was hardly efficient and it would take forever to respond to any request. Not only was there a two-person FOIA bottleneck, there also were fewer bodies available to determine what was the appropriate material to send and search for that material, even electronically.

    Granted my Department was pretty far removed from cloak and dagger operations and dealt with public welfare issues, but with every budget cut enacted by a parsimonious Congress, there were fewer and fewer resources available to respond to citizens.

    Americans don't want to pay taxes and they don't want the government to spend any money, yet they still expect a level of responsiveness and service that can't be provided under the current budget paradigm. This might or might not be the case with the FBI (I'm guessing not), but sometimes what goes on in Federal offices is just working stiffs who can't actually do all the tasks that got added to their job descriptions when they lost co-workers because of budget-mandated RIFs. Sometimes, they're just kicking the can down the road.

    Based on what I saw, submitting a FOIA request anywhere in the government now requires not only great patience but also incredible persistence.

    1. Makes sense to me. The FOIA process is terribly lacking in its current state. I'm under the impression at this point the denial and subsequent appeal should be virtually considered a part of the process. As a matter of fact, in another request in which the appeal is pending, one person I shared the initial denial with told me it was one of the most half-hearted responses they'd ever seen. I think it's unfortunately pretty par for the course, and we can hope it gets better, but, yeah, it can take years for a request to bear meaningful fruit.

  2. LOL! I'll save you the trouble of filing those FOIA requests: Lash WASN'T an alien hybrid OR a government agent. Aside from it being absurdity on wheels...why would a government agent need to horde guns OR be watched by the FBI or CIA? COME ON!

    1. Those of us that aren't as smart as you can think of a few more scenarios of potential interest.

    2. Hi Jack LoL missed all of this..I was just telling a friend on twitter how elements of the Seth Rich case resembled this withe dc police that had a gazillion cams on all the possible routes requested only i video and wont release it..while asking public help at same time..and rejecting foias for coroners was deja vu all over. the one witness to see him alive was a bar owner who has changed his story several times, had a vid cam and the police never asked for his..nor did he volunteer..worse he visited the wh 4 days before .
      Miss you at ucb..dont be a stranger..

    3. Hey, thanks, Manny! Within a couple days of posting this, I received yet another 'neither confirm nor deny' response from the FBI. I'm afraid the Lash case might be left to a future generation of researchers. LAPD could probably have been the most helpful but made it clear a court order would be required to obtain files on its investigation. I've got a few more FOIA lines out on other cases, but I've unfortunately developed the opinion that the public knows about as much as it's going to know about the circles of Jeffrey Alan Lash for a few years yet.

  3. That Realit Winner thing is another hoot.

    Ruling out the unlikely very remote possibility The NSA did a lousy job of Vetting Winner in an age even travelers are asked to hand over their facebook and reach the inescapable conclusion..She was just what the doctor ordered..:))
    Finding these people in same office building and twiiter talks was like finding that asst DA.

  4. just thought this was peculiar in timing in re Lash ..Seems the Gun Control meme runs strong still..Heirs of JL want the Guns Destroyed and off the street..
    “From Sandy Hook to Orlando to Dallas, and so many other places, these tragedies tear at our soul,” Clinton said in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on July 12. “And so do the incidents that don’t even dominate the headlines. Just this past Sunday, a young man, Seth Rich, who worked for the Democratic National Committee to expand voting rights, was shot and killed in his neighborhood in Washington. He was just 27 years old. … Surely we can agree that weapons of war have no place on the streets of America.”

    july 14, 2016
    They, like most citizens, are concerned about the mass killings that have taken place in our country over the last few years, in particular the recent tragedies in Orlando and San Bernardino," Brookman said.

    "More importantly, in the absence of our leaders doing something to cut down on the proliferation of automatic assault weapons, they feel that it's time for ordinary citizens to take a stand and set an example for their leaders," he said.
    Jeffrey lash father obit 1 person
    Seth Rich Obit
    1 person

    just coincidence..I'm sure..I wonder how Hillary knew it was a weapon of war? I usually don't hear handguns referred to like that..FBI also reported an SUV broken into that same day killed..and w hole lockbox removed..

    both cases stonewall of certificate..FOIAs and your FOIA..just boggles the mind!