The FBI is missing nearly a quarter of its files relating to investigations of recent leaks of classified information, reports the New York Sun. In response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the FBI identified 94 leak investigations since 2001, but said the investigative files in 22 of those cases “are missing” and cannot be located. “There is no physical slip of paper on the shelf which indicates that the file has been charged out to a particular FBI employee, so therefore there is no way of knowing where the file may actually be,” said an FBI official.
“That’s an amazing number,” said an academic who has studied the FBI, Athan Theoharis of Marquette University. “These are very sensitive investigations.” Theoharis said that in the 1960s the FBI used procedures known as “do not file” and “summary memoranda” to avoid placing files in the central records system. The bureau would tell judges or members of Congress that searches turned up no records, when files existed in a secondary system. “There’s no reason to think they’re not doing the same thing today,” Theoharis said. “I don’t want to sound conspiratorial but I don’t think one can discount this.”