Three days after publishing an update about the status of a Freedom of Information Act request I submitted to officials at the Defense Intelligence Agency almost 19 months ago, I received another letter from the DIA. In short, I was told I’ll have to keep waiting for DIA officials to come clean by providing copies of the unclassified polygraph contracts-related documents I requested.
“This is an interim response to your December 16, 2013, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Appeal request, appealing the denial of information in your FOIA request, identified as case number FOIA-0329-2012,” wrote Alesia Y. Williams, chief of the DIA’s FOIA Office staff. “Based on your conversation with DIA’s General Counsel, we are going to treat your e-mail as the appeal.”
What Williams ignored in the opening salvo of her letter is the fact that I followed all of the steps required to appeal the outcome of my original FOIA request July 16, 2012. Further, the December email she mentioned was sent as a follow-up to an appeal I had submitted Oct. 22, 2013. Receipt of my appeal was acknowledged the same day by Jim Hogan, the top official at the Defense Freedom of Information Policy Office and ten days later by an official at the Office of Government Information Services at the National Archives and Records Administration.
“We will be unable to respond to your request within the FOIA’s 20 day statutory time period due to unusual circumstances,” Williams’ letter continued. “These unusual circumstances could be: (a) the need to search for and collect records from a facility geographically separated from this office; (b) the potential volume of records responsive to your request; and (c) the need for consultation with one or more other agencies which have substantial interest in either the determination or the subject matter of the records. For these reasons, 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 210 requests.”
Williams’ recent response was similar to the one she sent me in an interim response 10 days after I submitted my original FOIA request. One difference, however, can be seen in her description of her office’s “current administrative workload.” It’s down to a backlog of only 210 requests, many fewer than the 1,352 in July 26, 2012.
Since it took more than nine months to process my request was one of 1,352, I suppose it should take about six weeks to process my appeal is one of only 210 requests. But I’m not going to hold my breath as I wait to receive the unclassified information described below as it appeared in my FOIA request:
“…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 any 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.”
To find out why DIA officials — and their top boss, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. — don’t want me to see these documents, read THE CLAPPER MEMO.
Based on the findings of my exhaustive four-year investigation into the federal government’s use of credibility assessment technologies, including the polygraph, THE CLAPPER MEMO has received high praise from several individuals who appreciate its implications; among them, a retired Navy SEALs training program commander who described the scandal I share in my second nonfiction book “an unconscionable cover-up.”
Order a copy of THE CLAPPER MEMO, and see if you agree.