The FBI has lost its attempt to protect information about its relationship with a confidential informant. Judge James Robertson of the District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled that the FBI must release information about the FBI's relationship with informant Manny Sanchez to requester Peter J. Hidalgo. Hidalgo was found guilty of various crimes, due in part, to information provided by Sanchez.
Hidalgo offered evidence that Sanchez had a shady past--and that the FBI assisted him in escaping his various scrapes with the law. The FBI released one page in part of a 3000 page file, claiming various exemptions to withhold the rest. However, Judge Robertson found that certain of the FBI's claims were not valid.
The FBI was ordered to release the amount of payments to Sanchez by the FBI. In making this finding the judge said that the declaration of David Hardy was insufficient to allow the material to be withheld pursuant to FOIA exemptions 2 and 7(E).
The FBI was next ordered to release information concerning its relationship with Sanchez. The information that should be released includes material reflecting any FBI misconduct in its relationship with Sanchez, its knowledge of his criminal record, its knowledge of administrative complaints regarding his work, and the FBI's intervention on Sanchez's behalf in criminal matters, including tax evasion.
Not all was lost for the FBI as its use of exemption 7(A) was affirmed by the Court for information provided by the source on the investigations he assisted on.