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Officers Run Background Check On Obama


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Officers Run Background Check On Obama; Placed On Leave

Posted: 6:55 pm EDT July 29, 2009Updated: 7:22 pm EDT July 29, 2009

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- Two DeKalb County police officers have been placed on paid administrative leave after an investigation revealed they ran a background check on President Barack Obama.

A representative for the DeKalb County CEO’s office identified the officers as Ryan White and C.M. Route.

Officials said Obama’s name was typed into a computer inside a DeKalb County police car on July 20 and ran through the National Crime Information Center.

The secret service was immediately notified and contacted the DeKalb County Police Department.

A representative said both officers have been with the department less than five years.

A representative said one of the officers denied involvement.

An official investigation is being conducted by the DeKalb County Police Department’s Internal Affairs division.

It is unclear why the officers ran a check on the president.

Copyright 2009 by WSBTV.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

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Before anyone decides to chime in with FOIA, background checks are protected under Exemption 7. Even if it were not, they would be required to obtain these records through the DoJ.

If that were so, then why would Internal Affairs get involved?

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If that were so, then why would Internal Affairs get involved?

What I am saying is that the officers were not allowed to do this background check. This information is not available via the Freedom of Information Act; it is protected by Exmeption 7.

Are records of federal employment background investigations "investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes" under Exemption 7?

Yes. Background investigations are regularly conducted to determine whether an applicant for federal employment has "engaged in criminal activity or [is] otherwise unfit for government service." DeFina v. FAA, Civil No. 75-1526, slip op. at 16 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 26, 1976). The courts have regarded the records generated in connection with such investigations as satisfying the threshold requirement of Exemption 7. See, e.g., Block v. FBI, Civil No. 83-0813, slip op. at 14-15 (D.D.C. Nov. 19, 1984); Meeropol v. Smith, Civil No. 75-1121, slip op. at 78 (D.D.C. Feb. 29, 1984) (appeal pending); Koch v. Department of Justice, 376 F. Supp. 313, 315 (D.D.C. 1974); cf. Nagel v. HEW, 725 F.2d 1438, 1441 (D.C. Cir. 1984) (employer's determination concerning disciplining of federal employees constitutes "an authorized law enforcement activity" within meaning of subsection (e)(7) of Privacy Act of 1974).

A related issue is whether confidential sources mentioned in such records qualify for protection under both clauses of Exemption 7(D), the second of which has its own special threshold requirement. Whereas the first clause of that exemption (which protects source-identifying information) is widely applicable, the broader second clause (which protects all source-provided information) can be applied only to the records of "a criminal investigation, or . . . a lawful national security intelligence investigation." 5 U.S.C. § 552(B)(7)(D). Although no decision to date has specifically addressed this question, the legislative history of Exemption 7(D) suggests that a generalized background investigation triggers only the first clause of that exemption. See S. Conf. Rep. 1200, 93d Cong., 2d Sess. 12, reprinted in 1974 U.S. Code Cong. & Ad. News 6267, 6292. Accordingly, only identifying information regarding a source used in such an investigation may be protected. On the other hand, that same legislative history does specify that "background security investigations [conducted] by governmental units which have authority to conduct such functions" constitute "lawful national security intelligence investigation" within the meaning of the threshold requirement of Exemption 7(D)'s second clause. Id. at 6291. Thus, all information provided by sources in such security investigations can be withheld as exempt on that basis. See, e.g., Meeropol v. Smith, slip op. at 78.

Now, I'm sure that officers are allowed to do this check in certain situations with probable cause, or something along those lines. However, being these officers were in Dekalb county Georgia doing this, there was no reason other than curiosity.

Here is exemption 7 by the way:

http://www.usdoj.gov/oip/foia_guide07/exemption7.pdf

Also, If I am understanding this incorrectly, by all means, let me know.

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