The National Law Journal covered the hearing in the Memphis Commericial Appeal's case against the FBI for informant records pertaining to photographer Ernest Withers who released records have indicated was an FBI informant. According to the story, United States District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson wants a top representative from the Department of Justice's Civil Division at the next scheduled hearing in the matter to discuss whether the records meet the law enforcemnt threshhold. In other words, was the investigation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. actually done for law enforcement purposes.
The answer to that has wide implications. If the records were not created for law enforcement purposes then none of the Exemption 7 subparts can be used to withhold any of the material in the King file. It is a serious issue and the remarks by Judge Berman Jackson indicate she is taking a long hard look at this, especially in light of the age of the documents and the fact that, in her opinion, the records do not impact any current law enforcement activities.
[Ed. note] I handled the administrative appeal in the case but am not involved in the litigation.