FOIA Settlement with FBI ‘Underscores Public’s Right to Know’

The Commercial Appeal says they’ve reached a preliminary settlement with the FBI over a 2010 FOIA request that was answered with 348 heavily redacted documents relating to civil rights-era photographer Ernest Withers’ work as an informant for the agency.

From the Associated Press:

 About a year ago, the judge in the case said that documents confirmed that Withers, who died at 85 in 2007, secretly served as an informer for the FBI. Withers was known as “the civil rights photographer” for iconic images of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and others protesting for racial equality in the South.

In 2010, The Commercial Appeal reported that Withers was an informant who regularly tipped off authorities about civil rights leaders, many of whom trusted him so completely that he was allowed to sit in on their most sensitive meetings.

In an email to the AP, a lawyer for Memphis Publishing Co., which owns the Appeal, and the reporter involved, Marc Perrusquia, said his clients were “pleased with the agreement…tentatively reached with the FBI.”

“The process underscores the public’s right to know more about this troubling time in our government’s history,” attorney Charles D. Tobin wrote.