Coincidence or not? Today, I received a letter from Alesia Y. Williams, chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Freedom of Information Office. She informed me that her letter constituted DIA’s official response to my FOIA request July 16, 2012. Did I mention that her letter was dated May 2, the day I released my second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, for which I sought the information. It’s true.
In my FOIA request to Williams’ agency almost 10 months ago, I requested “copies of any and all initial and follow-up contracts (i.e., solicitations, contracts, statements of work and task orders) related to the Portable Credibility Assessment Screening System (PCASS) or Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System (PCASS) that have been awarded by and Department of Defense Agency to Lafayette Instrument Company of Lafayette, Indiana, and any other contractors, academic institutions, laboratories and subcontractors from January 1, 2000, to present.”
As I reported in a piece July 27, 2012, I received an “interim” response to my aforementioned FOIA request:
“We will be unable to respond to your request within the FOIA’s 20 day statutory time period due to unusual circumstances… your request has been placed in our queue and will be worked in the order the request was received. Our current administrative workload is in excess of 1,352 requests.”
Three days later, after I reminded her that the law requires she provide me with a specific date by which I should expect a reply, she told me I should not expect a reply earlier than nine months from today — or April 30, 2013. She was off by
nine two days.
Now, back to the letter I received today and the 12 pages of heavily-redacted documents accompanying it: The documents date back only as far as April 2010 and contain very little useful information pertinent to the contracts.
Here’s the kicker:
“Please remit to this office a check or money order made payable to the Treasurer of the United States in the amount of $155.80,” Williams wrote. “This fee is for professional search and review time of 3.5 hours at $44.00 per hour, reproduction and release costs of 12 pages at 15 cents per page. Please write on your payment the case number assigned to your request.”
Of course, she added a paragraph at the end of her letter in which she stated that I have 60 days to appeal the charges. I think I will.
Do I think it’s a coincidence that the response came in a letter bearing the date I published THE CLAPPER MEMO? When you read the book, and you’ll understand how I reached that conclusion.