There is a common saying attributed to the FBI; “When in doubt, cross it out”. In response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, and subsequent lawsuit, the Federal Bureau of Investigation finally forwarded requested records; however, they redacted a reporter’s name, thus proving the Bureau’s strict policy of protecting identities is still very much in effect, even if it is fictional.
In response to a request for records about a play written for the Church of Scientology, in what appeared to be efforts to discredit a former member, the FBI redacted the name of an ace reporter from “The Daily Planet”, fictional newspaper for the City of Metropolis in the DC Comic universe.
Information released to Emma Best, the journalist who eventually had to file a lawsuit to obtain the Church of Scientology records, clearly shows the name of reporter, Clark Kent, redacted, while photojournalist, Jimmy Olsen’s name is left visible. The FBI relied upon both the b(6) and b(7)(c) privacy exemptions to justify its redactions, and protect Mr Kent’s privacy. It was confirmed to be Kent’s identity they were attempting to protect, because “Mr” was not marked out, thus eliminating the possibility it could have been star reporter, Lois Lane.
No explanation has been forthcoming on how such an oversight, or laughable mistake, could have happened in the FBI. It is difficult to understand how the FBI’s FOIA staff would not know “The Daily Planet” was fictional, and that Clark Kent is actually Superman. In the meantime, the public can rest assured the highest investigative agency in the land is diligently working with their Sharpies in hand, maintaining the Man Of Steel’s secret identity, so he can go on in his dual life as reporter and crime buster, extraordinaire.