The FBI Claims MIT PhD Candidate, Ryan Shapiro’s FOIA Research will “Irreparably Damage National Security”
Ryan Shapiro | Photo, Stephanie Crumley

The FBI Claims MIT PhD Candidate, Ryan Shapiro’s FOIA Research will “Irreparably Damage National Security”

[CAMBRIDGE, MA]  The Federal Bureau of Investigation is claiming the dissertation research of Ryan Shapiro, a PhD candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will “irreparably damage national security.” Radical and unprecedented in nature, the FBI’s efforts in this case stand to change the landscape of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) as we know it.

In an exclusive report for Mother Jones, Will Potter, author of Green is The New Red, breaks down the chilling implications of the FBI’s pending challenge to Shapiro’s research.  In part the FBI is claiming the following:

1.) The FBI is arguing in court that an MIT PhD candidate’s prolific Freedom of Information Act research about FBI investigations of animal rights activists is a threat to national security.

2.) The FBI is employing radical and at times unprecedented measures to exempt itself from compliance with the Freedom of Information Act in this case. These measures include a radical new application of a Cold War-era FOIA doctrine, a radical new application of the FOIA “nuclear option,” and submission of a secret declaration from the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division to the judge about the alleged threat posed by the MIT student’s dissertation research.

3.) The FBI’s efforts to exempt itself from the Freedom of Information Act in this case are so extreme and sweeping that, if the judge rules for the FBI, it could have a devastating impact on other FOIA requestors’ ability to obtain any records from the FBI and government agencies more broadly.

“I wish I could say I’m surprised the FBI is labeling my academic research a threat to national security,” said Shapiro.  “I wish I could say I’m surprised the FBI is attempting to circumvent the Freedom of Information Act by invoking national security. I wish I could say I’m surprised the FBI refuses to make public its justification for attempting the above, again on the grounds of national security. But I can’t. Since its earliest days, the FBI has viewed political dissent as a security threat. And since the passage of the Freedom of Information Act, the FBI has viewed efforts to force Bureau compliance with the law in the same light.”

You can read & share Will Potter’s complete report for Mother Jones  HERE
You can follow Ryan Shapiro on twitter at @_rshapiro





  1. In my opinion, allowing the FBI to be exempt from the FOIA is a threat to national security! There needs to be accountability with such powerful organizations.

  2. Baron Samedi gets it… the NSA and FBI are just Obama’s bitches[DELETED SEXIST EXPLETIVE], trolling the United States for too long.

    • Using a misogynistic epithet to score partisan political points drains any credibility you might have had before you bothered to type in your short and misguided diatribe.

      • misogynistic?…what century do you live in?…getting caught up in antics of language and arguing amongst ourselves about non- issues like sexism ,abortion, racism is exactly what the people that are concerned with real power would like us to waste our time doing…

  3. I have to say, I am so disappointed by our gov’t.
    I shouldn’t be, I know but, I am such a stupid
    idealist. Oh..George Orwell, how could you have
    been so right. I hope Ryan Shapiro gets to write
    his dissertation.

  4. Whatever happened to ‘1940 Statement on Academic Freedom and Tenure”

  5. You think this is bad? Check this abuse of federal powers that has had far reaching effects of tyranny across the US.

  6. Did the FBI investigate this guy and how he was chosen to interview on 9/11?

    On 9/11 How did the news media pick this guy to immediate give his account of planes hitting the towers. LISTEN TO HOW HE TALKS, DO YOU AGREE THIS NOT NORMAL TALKING???
    Who is this man? 9-11 official story started minutes after. LINK

  7. No, FBI, you have irreparably damaged national security.

  8. put those beareau dogs on a leash! the world doesn’t need more mindless zealots and it sure as hell doesn’t need such profound social control

  9. Go after Chris Swecker to work with you HIM on this matter Chris was the second in charge at the FBI…..and will not stand for corruption at any level…seriously Contact Attorney Chris Swecker…..see google on Chris

  10. You are my HERO!!!! Thank you 😉

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