Congressman José E. Serrano
Representing the Sixteenth District of New York
Serrano to FBI: Destroying Records is Counterproductive to Gov’t Openness
Washington, DC – August 22, 2006- Congressman José E. Serrano sent the following letter to the FBI late last week in response to recent revelations that the Puerto Rico field office destroyed certain records in the past. Serrano asked that the Bureau immediately suspend any further destruction of records. In 2000, Serrano and then-director Louis Freeh initiated a years-long effort to promote openness and accountability by the FBI in Puerto Rico.
August 17, 2006
Robert S. Mueller, III, Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
Dear Director Mueller:
As you know, I and other members of the Puerto Rican community have been grateful for your continued cooperation in the initiative by your predecessor, Louis Freeh, to disclose files related to the Bureau’s actions against supporters of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement. These files have been invaluable in building the historical record of this dark period in our nation’s history, and it is my ongoing interest in this subject that inspires this letter.
It has been brought to my attention that the San Juan field office destroyed certain records on the independence movement in February of 1989. This information came to light as the result of a Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act request by Jan Susler of the People’s Law Office.
I write to request that, notwithstanding any standard procedure, you suspend any further destruction of records concerning organizations and individuals related to the Puerto Rican Independence Movement. I would also like to request documentation of the destruction of any such records to date, and their former locations before they were destroyed.
Given the fact that the recent release of the Inspector General’s report on the Ojeda Ríos incident has done little to allay concerns about the Bureau’s modus operandi in Puerto Rico, I believe that the your continued commitment to the preservation and disclosure of these files will be essential to improving the Bureau’s image on the island.
Thank you for your attention to these concerns. I look forward to continuing our cooperation on this matter.
José E. Serrano
Member of Congress
Congressman José E. Serrano has represented the Bronx in Congress since 1990. He is the longest serving Member of Puerto Rican descent.