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Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Because no one
is above the law!


Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

New: Secret FBI Records on Hunter Biden!

Documents Show Biden Justice Department’s Unprecedented Targeting of January 6 Protestors

FBI Says it Won’t Produce Records on Intervention to Help Hunter Biden on Missing Gun Due to ‘Ongoing Criminal Investigation,’ Federal Judge Orders Sept. 6 Hearing on Records Dispute

Pfizer Records Reveal 23-Person Study of COVID Vaccine Booster Safety and Effectiveness before Approval

Years after Judicial Watch Exposes ISIS/ Cartel Ties, Media Finally Reports It


Documents Show Biden Justice Department’s Unprecedented Targeting of January 6 Protestors

When the government decides to investigate ordinary citizens, it can wield enormous, intrusive power. Such was the case after January 6.

This is confirmed in 90 pages of records from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, a component of the Department of Justice, that we recently obtained in our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.

These documents detail a troubling and unprecedented deployment of federal resources to prosecute Americans caught up in the January 6 disturbance. The documents seem to describe a massive political and spy operation masquerading as a law enforcement operation.

We filed our lawsuit against the Justice Department and FBI for records related to the death of Ashli Babbitt (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:21-cv-02462)).

Here are the details of what we learned.

A January 25, 2021, confidential draft chart indicates staff assignments. Several “Lead AUSAs” (assistant U.S. attorneys) are listed. One is assigned to “White Nationalist Militias.” Two others are assigned to “Proud Boys.” Another is assigned to “Oath Keepers.”

The chart identifies “Branch 2: Priority Incidents and Subjects.” Its tasks are to investigate “specific incidents comprising the Capitol attack. Branch investigations are staffed by Criminal Division sections with designated lead prosecutors reporting up to their section supervisors:”

To identify and prosecute the individuals and organizations responsible for planting pipe bombs at the DNC and RNC.

To identify and prosecute rioting activity in the “Speaker’s Lobby,” and in particular to determine whether there is civilian criminal culpability for the death of Ashli Babbitt.

To identify and prosecute rioters responsible for the death of USCP Brian Sicknick.

To review force allegations against USCP and MPD officers, including the officer-involved shooting of Ashli Babbitt….

The chart lists “Branch 3: Intake, Assignment and Rapid Indictment” as: “Branch 3 intakes proposed prosecutions against individual rioters and assigns them for horizontal prosecutors; it also may channel individual defendants to Branches 1 and 2 based on those branches’ responsibilities. Branch 3 is the fulcrum of our reactive prosecutorial effort.”

The chart then describes a process for the “rapid indictment” of January 6 defendants:

Phase 1: Command Center (FMC): Co-located prosecutors and law enforcement agents in the command center screen referrals and assign them to Phase 2 or refer them/push up intelligence to Branches 1 and 2.

Phase 2: Complaints (FMC/Details): Cases referred from Phase 1 are assigned to AUSAs, a CTS [likely Civil Trial Section] attorney, and a WFO [FBI Washington Field Office] team who work in coordination with AUSOs/FBI field offices throughout the country to obtain criminal complaints and appropriate process.

Phase 3: Rapid Indictment (FMC): Cases charged out of Branch 3 are funneled to this unit, which will rapidly indict them. Only priority cases and Branch 2 and 3 cases are indicted by vertically organized AUSAs.

Phase 4: Indicted Prosecutions (Criminal Division): Indicted cases are returned/assigned for prosecution. Cases are centrally tracked with ticklers for Speedy Trial Act, discovery, intelligence gathering.

The chart describes “Branch 4: Advance Litigation Support” as “Branch 4 is a litigation, coordination and technology branch that provides support to all three investigative branches. Branch 4 has both litigation and technological responsibilities.”

The chart lists five roles for personnel to carry out:

Mass Data Collection (Process/Litigation): This team will coordinate and handle sensitive search warrants and other process directed at collecting large scale data (e.g., Geofence/Ad Tech).

Media Issues (Process/Litigation): This team will coordinate evidence collection from the media under the Justice Manual and develop litigation strategy for media-related defenses.

Filter (Support/Litigation): This team will develop filter protocols, staff filter reviews, and support filter-related litigation.”

Discovery (Planning/Litigation): This team will coordinate discovery, including protocols, Giglio, and litigation, focused on addressing “One Government” issues.

Litigation Technology (Support/Analysis): This team will stand up and maintain the apparatus tailored to store, process, analyze, and produce the unprecedented amount of data.

“Investigation and Litigation Technology Support Apparatus” lays out the array of technological sources to be use against January 6 defendants. The chart lists “Categories of data” which includes “cell phone records and device location data, cell phone data dumps, ad tech company locational data, financial locational data, social media accounts, email accounts, cloud storage accounts, financial records, flight travel records, and others.”

“Technological needs” listed in the chart include “devoted cloud storage, processing capacity to upload data to analytical and review platforms, analytical tools (e.g., Palantir), devoted review platform accessible across multiple DOJ and law enforcement components, and integration capacity – for purposes of analysis and discovery.”

“Complicating issues” related to the “Investigation and Litigation Technology Support Apparatus” include “unprecedented volume, high number of prosecutors, agents, analysts and support staff involved, data collected by multiple FBI field offices, trial prosecutions,” and others.

previous review of records from this lawsuit highlighted the prosecution declination memorandum justifying the decision not to prosecute U.S. Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd for the shooting death of Babbitt.

We are engaged in a comprehensive, independent investigation into the January 6 disturbance:

  • January 2023: documentsfrom the Department of the Air Force, Joint Base Andrews, MD, showe U.S. Capitol Police Lieutenant Michael Byrd was housed at taxpayer expense at Joint Base Andrews after he shot and killed U.S. Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt inside the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
  • August 2023: A hearingwas held in federal court in our lawsuit against the U.S. Capitol Police seeking videos and emails concerning the protest at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
  • Through its police department, Congress arguesthat the videos and emails are not public records, there is no public interest in their release, and that “sovereign immunity” prevents citizens from suing for their release.
  • November 2021: we releasedmultiple audiovisual and photo records from the DC Metropolitan Police Department about the shooting death of Babbitt on January 6, 2021, in the U.S. Capitol Building. The records included a cell phone video of the shooting and an audio of a brief police interview of the shooter, Byrd.
  • October 2021, United States Park Police recordsrelated to the January 6, 2021, demonstrations at the U.S. Capitol showed that on the day before the January 6 rally featuring President Trump, U.S. Park Police expected a “large portion” of the attendees to march to the U.S. Capitol and that the FBI was monitoring the January 6 demonstrations, including travel to the events by “subjects of interest.”

Our investigations continue on the January 6 overreach, and you can expect additional, important litigation on this topic!

FBI Says it Won’t Produce Records on Intervention to Help Hunter Biden on Missing Gun Due to ‘Ongoing Criminal Investigation,’ Federal Judge Orders Sept. 6 Hearing on Records Dispute

A federal court just scheduled a hearing for next week in our lawsuit for records regarding the gun owned by Hunter Biden that reportedly was thrown in a trash can behind a Delaware grocery store. In a joint status report to the court, the FBI stated it would not produce records about the incident due to an “ongoing criminal investigation.”

The video hearing was set by DC U.S. District Court Judge Jia M. Cobb for September 6, 2023, at 10:00 a.m.

We filed the lawsuit after the FBI withheld records in response to a January 30, 2023, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:23-cv-00920)). We are asking for:

All records, including investigative reports, telephone logs, witness statements, memoranda, and firearms purchase documentation, related to the reported purchase, possession, and disposal of a firearm owned by Hunter Biden discarded in a Delaware trash receptacle circa October 2018.

All records of communications of FBI officials regarding the reported purchase, possession, and disposal of the firearm.

The FBI claims it has completed a search for records responsive to our FOIA request but alleges an unspecified number are exempt from disclosure due to an “ongoing criminal investigation:”

FBI has completed a search for records responsive to [Judicial Watch’s] request and is currently processing those records. FBI’s position is that the number of potentially responsive records is exempt from disclosure under FOIA exemption 7(A), as this case relates to an ongoing criminal investigation. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(7)(A) (FOIA does not apply to information where disclosure “could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings”); see also U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Delaware, Tax and Firearm Charges Filed Against Robert Hunter Biden, U.S. Department of Justice (June 20, 2023), . An ongoing investigation creates the need for increased internal review, including in this case review by the Special Counsel.

We argue Biden’s FBI is withholding information about the number of documents they are hiding and whether any records will ultimately be released:

This is case is indisputably of significant public interest. It is also time sensitive. [Judicial Watch] has asked and Defendant has refused to provide the number of potentially responsive records that needs to be processed in this case. Without this number, Plaintiff cannot evaluate – let alone agree to – a processing time of 120 days … Because this case could proceed down several different paths, [Judicial Watch] believes this case may benefit from a status conference at this juncture.

This is nothing but a continuing stonewall on the FBI’s reported clean-up operation to shield Hunter Biden from facing the criminal consequences of his gun scandal – this time using the compromised special counsel ‘investigation’ of Hunter as a new excuse to hide records that we asked for back in January.

In February 2023, from a separate lawsuit, we released records from the United States Secret Service that implicate the FBI in the unusual action to help Hunter Biden.

In response to a February 24, 2021, email inquiry from Politico reporter Ben Schreckinger regarding the Secret Service’s involvement in the investigation of the Hunter Biden gun incident, the Communications Department asks for “more information or documentation.” Schreckinger responds: “Sure thing. Agents visited StarQuest Shooters & Survival Supply and asked to take possession of the paperwork Hunter had filled out to purchase a gun there. The FBI also had some involvement in the investigation.”

In October 2020, The Blaze reported that in October 2018, Hunter Biden’s handgun was taken by Hallie Biden, the widow of then-presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son Beau. In 2021, Politico reported:

Hallie took Hunter’s gun and threw it in a trash can behind a grocery store, only to return later to find it gone.

Delaware police began investigating, concerned that the trash can was across from a high school and that the missing gun could be used in a crime, according to law enforcement officials and a copy of the police report obtained by POLITICO.

But a curious thing happened at the time: Secret Service agents approached the owner of the store where Hunter bought the gun and asked to take the paperwork involving the sale, according to two people, one of whom has firsthand knowledge of the episode and the other was briefed by a Secret Service agent after the fact.

We have at least 10 federal lawsuits focused on Biden family corruption.

In June 2023, we sued the CIA for all communications of the spy agency’s Prepublication Classification Review Board (PCRB) regarding an October 19, 2020, email request to review and “clear” a letter signed by 51 former intelligence community officials characterizing the Hunter Biden laptop story as having “all the earmarks of a Russian disinformation campaign.”

In July, we sued the DOJ for records from the Office of the Attorney General and Office of the Deputy Attorney General regarding the Internal Revenue Service investigation of Hunter Biden.

In June 2023, we filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice for a copy of the FBI FD-1023 form that describes “an alleged criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Biden and a foreign national relating to the exchange of money for policy decisions.” We also asked for communications about the FD-1023.

In May 2023, we filed a FOIA lawsuit against the National Archives for Biden family records and communications regarding travel and finance transactions, as well as communications between the Bidens and several known business associates.

On October 14, 2022, we sued the DOJ for all records in the possession of FBI Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Brian Auten regarding an August 6, 2020, briefing provided to members of the U.S. Senate. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) raised concerns that the briefing was intended to undermine the senators’ investigation of Hunter Biden.

We filed a lawsuit against the U.S. State Department on April 20, 2022, for messages sent through the SMART (State Messaging and Archive Retrieval Toolkit) system that mention Hunter Biden.

In December 2020, State Department records obtained through our FOIA lawsuit showed that former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch had specifically warned in 2017 about corruption allegations against Burisma Holdings.

In October 2020, we forced the release of State Department records that included a briefing checklist of a February 22, 2019, meeting in Kyiv between then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and Sally Painter, co-founder and chief operating officer of Blue Star Strategies, a Democratic lobbying firm which was hired by Burisma Holdings to combat corruption allegations. At the time of the meeting, Hunter Biden was serving on the board of directors for Burisma Holdings.

I’ll be sure to keep you updated, as events warrant, on all our Biden corruption investigations and litigation!

Pfizer Records Reveal 23-Person Study of COVID Vaccine Booster Safety and Effectiveness before Approval

Now that COVID chatter has returned, and President Biden is talking about a vaccine, we are learning how skimpy a 2021 study used to justify the Pfizer booster was.

We uncovered 58 pages of records from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) showing that a Pfizer study surveyed 23 people in 2021 to gauge reactions to its COVID vaccine booster before asking the FDA to approve it. The FDA indicated that this production of records “represents our complete response to your request; no additional productions are anticipated.”

Judicial Watch forced the release of the records through a March 2022 lawsuit filed after the Department of Health and Human Services failed to respond to an August 2021 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records “submitted by Pfizer and BioNTech to the FDA, including BARDA, relating to ‘booster’ vaccinations for the SARS-CoV-2 virus” (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (No. 1:22-cv-00730)).

Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, BARDA, has been heavily involved with the development of the COVID-19 vaccine. According to its website:

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) provides an integrated, systematic approach to the development of the necessary vaccines, drugs, therapies, and diagnostic tools for public health medical emergencies such as chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) accidents, incidents and attacks; pandemic influenza (PI), and emerging infectious diseases (EID).

BioNTech is a German pharmaceutical company that partnered with Pfizer in developing the original vaccine.

The records include a July study titled “Phase 1 Booster Safety and Immunogenicity Data up to 1 Month Post-Dose 3 of BNT162b2 30 µg [micrograms] in Study C4591001” provided “preliminary safety and immunogenicity data” for a group that had received two vaccine shots and, seven to nine months later, a third (booster) shot:

This submission includes preliminary findings from a subset of younger (18 to 55 years of age) and older (65 to 85 years of age) participants in the Phase 1 part of Study C4591001 who completed the initial two-dose series of BNT162b2 30 µg, given approximately 3 weeks apart, and then received a third dose (booster) of BNT162b2 30 µg approximately 7 to 9 months after the second dose. Data were collected through the cutoff date of 13 May 2021.

The participants were evaluated for symptoms up to one month after the booster shot. The booster’s immunogenicity, or how well a vaccine works over time, was evaluated seven days and one month after the booster:

SARS-CoV-2 50% neutralization titers were assessed in sera drawn before BNT162b2 Dose 1 (on Day 1); 7 days and 1 month after BNT162b2 Dose 2; before Dose 3; and 7 days and 1 month after Dose 3.

The participants included 11 people aged 18 to 55 and 12 people aged 65 to 85. Of the younger group, there were nine females and two males; eight of whom were white, one was black and two were Asian. Of the older group six were female, six were males, and all were white.

The study reports that a booster dose increases the breadth of neutralizing response against SARS-CoV-2 variants and that the data suggests that a third dose could prolong protection and further increase the breadth of protection:

[T]he durability of protection from vaccination and the required frequency of booster doses are unknown at this time. To date, results from the global Phase 1/2/3 study of BNT162b2 indicate robust protection lasting at least 6 months, despite modest waning of immunity over time. Booster doses have the potential to keep protection high if immunity continues to decline over time.

This Pfizer study was sent to Marion Gruber, PhD, director of the Office of Vaccines Research and Review.

An August 13, 2021, FDA-CBER (Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research) report is titled “Phase 1 Booster (Dose 3) Immunogenicity at 1 Month Post-Dose 3 in Study C4591001: SARS-CoV-2 Wild-Type and Delta Variant Neutralization Data.”

On August 24, 2021, the White House stated it was moving “aggressively” to roll out booster shots despite not yet receiving clearance from the FDA to give everyone third doses.

Shortly thereafter, it was reported that Gruber and her deputy, Phil Krause, were leaving the agency because they were frustrated with Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Biden White House interference in vaccine decisions. Gruber and Krause were among a group of resigning doctors who agreed that “Available evidence doesn’t yet indicate a need for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots among the general population …”

On September 21, 2021, just over a month after Pfizer’s second submission, the FDA approved a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those over 65, for those 18 to 64 at a high risk of severe Covid-19, and for those whose frequent institutional or occupational exposure puts them at high risk of serious complications of COVID-19.

The FDA said it based its decision on the documents presented by Pfizer, as well as input from the CDC, the Israeli Ministry of Health and the University of Bristol in the UK.

Three weeks after approval, about 8.9 million boosters had been administered.

With the planned push for new boosters by the Biden administration, the public would do well to examine these troubling documents about the shotgun approval of prior COVID boosters.


Years after Judicial Watch Exposes ISIS/ Cartel Ties, Media Finally Reports It

As they say, you heard it here first. Our reporting on the southern border has been second to none, especially regarding dangerous elements exploiting the lack of security there. Our Corruption Chronicles blog gives an update on the national security risks of open borders:

Nearly a decade after Judicial Watch exposed that Mexican drug cartels and Islamic terrorists have teamed up to smuggle foreigners into the United States through the southern border, the mainstream media is finally reporting it and the government has been forced to acknowledge it. A national news outlet revealed this week that a smuggler with ties to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) helped more than a dozen nationals from the Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan, a former Soviet republic, enter the U.S. via Mexico. Under the Biden administration’s catastrophic open border policies, the Uzbek’s asked for asylum and to remain in the country.

Now the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is probing the matter, according to the news report, which says that multiple sources confirmed a “scramble set off when US intelligence officials found that the migrants traveled with the help of a smuggler with ties to ISIS.” The incident was so serious that an urgent classified intelligence report was circulated to the president’s top cabinet officials in their morning briefing book and a flurry of urgent meetings among top national security and administration officials were initiated, the article states. Counterterrorism officials say the breach shows that the U.S. is “deeply vulnerable to the possibility that terrorists could sneak across the southern border.” That has already occurred as Judicial Watch reported years ago. Back in 2016, we uncovered an operation in which Mexican drug traffickers help Islamic terrorists stationed in Mexico cross into the U.S. to explore targets for future attacks. Among the jihadists that have traveled back and forth through the porous southwest border is a Kuwaiti named Shaykh Mahmood Omar Khabir, an ISIS operative who lives in the Mexican state of Chihuahua not far from El Paso, Texas.

All these years later a Biden administration spokeswoman from the National Security Council is quoted in this week’s news story trying to downplay the severity of the most recent security lapse, though other unidentified government officials reveal the migrants from Uzbekistan are still under FBI scrutiny as possible criminal threats. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) took the event seriously enough to begin detaining, vetting, and expediting the removal of other migrants who also used the same ISIS-connected network. The government should properly screen every foreign national upon entering the U.S. rather than wait until a red flag arises once they are inside the country. Why does it take the involvement of an ISIS smuggler for federal authorities to go back and double check illegal aliens already disbursed into unsuspecting communities throughout the nation?

The chilling reality is that Islamic terrorists have taken advantage of this lax security system for many years. Back in the spring of 2015 Judicial Watch reported about an ISIS camp operating just a few miles from El Paso, Texas in an area known as “Anapra” just west of Ciudad Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. At the time sources, including a Mexican Army field grade officer and a Mexican Federal Police Inspector, confirmed that “coyotes” engaged in human smuggling—and working for the Juárez Cartel—help move ISIS terrorists through the desert and across the border between Santa Teresa and Sunland Park, New Mexico. To the east of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, cartel-backed “coyotes” also smuggle ISIS terrorists through the porous border between Acala and Fort Hancock, Texas. The specific areas are exploited by ISIS because of their understaffed municipal and county police forces, and the safe havens they provide for the unchecked large-scale drug smuggling that was already ongoing.

The problem is almost certain to get worse as illegal immigration skyrockets under the Biden administration and its reckless open border policies facilitate the business model of Mexican drug cartels, also known as Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCO). Under Biden, the sophisticated criminal enterprises have seized unprecedented control of the southwest border, according to congressional testimony delivered recently by federal sources in counterterrorism, intelligence and drug enforcement.


Until next week,


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