Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Responsive Records on 'Coast to Coast' Relevant to Pending Law Enforcement Proceedings: FBI

     Material responsive to a FOIA request on Coast to Coast AM is located in an investigative file, an August 2 FBI response to the request stated. The Bureau added the responsive records are law enforcement records. 

"[T]here is a pending or prospective law enforcement proceeding relevant to these responsive records," the Bureau continued in the response, "and release of the information could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings. Therefore, your request is being administratively closed."

The FOIA request sought records cross-referencing or pertaining to Coast to Coast AM, a late-night fringe talk show that typically explores paranormal topics and conspiracy theories. The request was submitted at the suggestion of researcher, archivist, and host of UFO Classified, Erica Lukes.

From the FBI response:

Coast to Coast is no stranger to controversy, hosted from 1988-2000 by the late Art Bell. It was during Bell's time at the mic that such sagas as Heaven's Gate, Art's Parts, and the Area 51 Caller were broadcast to millions of listeners. 

C2C's George Noory
In more recent years, Coast to Coast host George Noory increasingly provided a platform to controversial rightwing figures and their talking points. His counterpart George Knapp uncritically promoted Skinwalker Ranch lore and defended sensational tales told by defense officials claiming knowledge of paranormal activity and nonhuman intelligences.

It should be noted the responsive records may be nothing more than mentions of Coast to Coast, such as references to guests appearing on the show, or similar asides. The significance of the records, acknowledged by the FBI to exist, cannot be established without examining the material.

In its August 2 FOIA response, the FBI cited Exemption (b)(7)(a) for withholding the responsive records. The exemption states records compiled for law enforcement purposes are exempt from disclosure under the FOIA, but only to the extent producing the records could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings. 

An appeal was therefore submitted, requesting further review of the responsive records to ensure they are not part of a former investigation, or a once prospective investigation that is at this point not reasonably expected to proceed. Under such circumstances, as compared to an active investigation, the records may be subject to release. 

The appeal additionally presented for consideration that Coast to Coast AM attracts 2.75 million listeners per week across some 600 American radio stations plus international affiliates. The records therefore represent a potentially significant public interest. The appeal is in process as of this writing.

In other developments, the FBI executed a search warrant Monday at the Mar-A-Lago home of former President Donald Trump. The FBI reportedly spent the majority of the day at the location conducting a search related to the National Archives. National security analysts suspect the raid to be related to classified records Trump took with him from Washington to Florida after losing his 2020 re-election bid. More specifically, what he was doing with the information contained in those classified records may be more at issue than their unlawful removal.