Why Can’t Elected Officials Force DIA to Comply With the Law?

I stand amazed at how much the responses I’ve received from Sen. Roy Blunt, Sen. Claire McCaskill and U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner have varied since Jan. 13 when I contacted the offices of these people who purport to represent me and my fellow citizens in the Show-Me State in the U.S. Congress and asked for help in dealing with officials at the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Ann Wagner FB Screen shot 2014-01-13 at 8.22.07 AM

Click image above to read article.

Congresswoman Wagner’s staff has been most responsive.  In fact, I received a phone call the same day I sent her both an email message and a message via Facebook.  Since then, I’ve exchanged multiple email messages with members of her staff.

Sadly, the congresswoman’s staffers have, so far, been able to generate only a cursory reply letter (dated Feb. 28 and received March 3) from James L. Kaplan, DIA’s Chief of Congressional Relations.

Senator Blunt’s staffers, on the other hand, have been a bit less responsive than Congresswoman Wagner’s, but not the worst among the Missouri delegation.  My correspondence with them began when I used the senator’s online communication tool to submit the following message:

Eighteen months ago, I filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Defense Intelligence Agency.  In it, I requested copies of unclassified documents related to polygraph contracts.  To date, I have been thoroughly stonewalled.  Now, I need Senator Blunt’s help to find out why.

Beyond that, I included a link to an article in which I had outlined my experience to date with the DIA.  Senator Blunt’s staffers responded — via snail mail letter dated Feb. 12, not the much-quicker email — by sending me a Privacy Act Release Statement which I had to complete and return by snail mail.

Blunt-Blunt-McCaskill-LtrsIn an auto-signed letter dated March 11 and received a few days later, Senator Blunt informed me that he made contact with DIA officials and that they had responded to his inquiry.  Attached to it was a letter from Kaplan that was virtually identical to the one Congresswoman Wagner had received from Kaplan 11 days earlier.

639 Days (so far)

Click on image above to read about my DIA FOIA saga.

Dragging up the rear in this race to serve their constituent are members of Senator McCaskill’s staff.  Despite the fact I had reached out to “Claire Bear” on the same day and in the exact same manner as I had Senator Blunt, it took her staff 92 days — or 34 days longer — to reply with a letter (dated April 9) almost identical to the initial reply received from her Republican counterpart.

So, what is all of the fuss about?  As of today, I’ve waited exactly 21 months for DIA officials to comply with requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and fulfill my request for copies of unclassified documents related to Department of Defense purchases of polygraph equipment since Jan. 1, 2000.

And why have DIA officials worked so hard to keep this information out of my hands? Read my book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, and you’ll begin to understand their reluctance.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

DIA Continues to Stonewall Freedom of Information Act Request — 639 Days (So Far)

Unless something unexpected happens during the next two days, a Freedom of Information Act request I submitted to the Defense Intelligence Agency will turn 639 days old Wednesday, and a citizen’s access to unclassified details about government purchases of polygraph machines will continue to be squelched.

James R. Clapper Jr.

James R. Clapper Jr.

I don’t expect a response sooner than Friday since DIA officials will be in Tampa until Thursday, attending GEOINT, the nation’s largest intelligence gathering that was originally set to take place six months ago but was postponed due to the government shutdown. Truth be told, I don’t anticipate a response at all after almost two years of waiting. DIA officials don’t want to make their top boss, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., look any worse than he already does after lying to Congress and allowing things like the Edward Snowden scandal to occur on his watch. But I can dream, can’t I?

What unclassified information do I want so badly that DIA officials do not want me to have? It’s described below as it appeared in my FOIA request July 16, 2012:

“…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.”

Don’t get me wrong. DIA officials did respond to my initial request. In a piece May 24, 2013, I described how their response fell far short of expectations by providing only 12 pages of documentation dating back only as far as June 25, 2010 — not Jan. 1, 2000, as requested — and how, coincidentally or not, the agency’s response arrived one week after the release of my second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, for which I was seeking the information. In addition, I highlighted a portion (below) of the appeal letter I mailed the same day:

PolygraphIn responding to my request, you included only 12 pages of documentation dating back as far as June 25, 2010. That, by any stretch of the imagination, is UNSATISFACTORY; therefore, I must contest the $155.80 assessment for “professional search and review time of 3.5 hours at $44.00 per hour, reproduction and release costs of 12 pages at 15¢ per page.” Until such time as a genuine effort is made on behalf of your agency to provide the requested documentation, I shall not remit payment as requested.

In a letter dated Feb. 28 and received March 3, DIA Chief of Congressional Relations James L. Kaplan even had the nerve to stonewall my Congressional representative, U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner.

While I could wax poetic about my frustration related to this stonewalling, I won’t. Instead, I’ll point you to my second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, and recommend you read it if you truly want to understand why I’m so interested in the documents being withheld from me and why so many high-profile people have endorsed my book.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Top Intelligence Community Lawyer Made Me Laugh

I laughed today after reading a Secrecy News post in which appeared the following words, said to have been spoken five days ago by Robert Litt, general counsel in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence:

Robert Litt, ODNI General Counsel

Robert Litt, ODNI General Counsel

“There is no question that overclassification of information is a genuine problem.”

I found Litt’s words especially humorous in light of the fact that (1) he uttered them at a Freedom of Information Day program at American University Washington College of Law and (2) I’ve waited 616 days, so far, for officials at the Defense Intelligence Agency to fulfill my Freedom of Information Act request for copies of unclassified contract documents related to Pentagon polygraph equipment purchases dating back to Jan. 1, 2000, and continuing through July 16, 2012, the day I filed the FOIA request.

I understand Litt doesn’t work for DIA, but the three-letter intelligence agency is one of 17 such agencies that full under the purview of Litt’s boss, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr.; therefore, I have to believe Litt and Clapper might wield some influence over DIA officials who have turned FOIA stonewalling into something of an art form.

DNI James R. Clapper Jr.

DNI James R. Clapper Jr.

In related news, officials at George Washington University’s National Security Archive named DNI Clapper the 2013 recipient of the Rosemary Award. Named for President Richard M. Nixon’s secretary, Rose Mary Woods, whose spectacular stretch allegedly erased 18 1/2 minutes of a Watergate tape, the (dis)honor recognizes the worst open-government performance by a government officials.

If you’re curious as to why DIA officials might not want to fulfill my FOIA request, you’ll be able to hazard a pretty good guess after reading my second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.

To learn more about it, visit http://TheClapperMemo.com. To order a copy of the book, click here or on the graphic below.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Federal Agencies Seem to Lack Transparency When It Comes to Freedom of Information Act

If you think my Freedom of Information Act experience — you know, the one during which I’ve waited 612 days (so far) for Defense Intelligence Agency officials to fulfill my request for unclassified information — is unique, think again. In reality, federal government agencies seem to lack transparency when it comes to fulfilling FOIA requests.

FOIA 600 Days

Click image above to read more about Bob’s DIA FOIA request.

While visiting the website of former CBS News reporter Sharyl Atkisson Wednesday evening, I came across a link to a Jan. 9 article on the NBCWashington.com. There, I read about how a Navy FOIA officer had mistakenly sent to a reporter a memo in which he detailed a strategy via which the reporter’s FOIA requests for documents related to the DC Navy Yard Shootings could be rejected or, at a minimum, stymied.

After reading the article and the memo, I can’t help but wonder if similar communications were exchanged between DIA officials seeking to reject or stymie my FOIA request for copies of contract documents related to the federal government’s purchases of polygraph equipment since Jan. 1, 2000.

To learn more about the subject matter for which I was seeking information via FOIA, order a copy of my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO. It comes highly recommended.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Author Receives New DIA Letter as Freedom of Information Act Request Turns 19 Months Old

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.

DIA FOIA Ltr Recd 2-8-14

The image above is from a letter I received from DIA Feb. 8, 2014.

“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.

DIA Ltr July 2012

The image above is from a letter I received from DIA early in my FOIA process.

“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:

Click image above to order.

Click image above to order.

“…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.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

SEE ALSO:

Coincidence or DIA Cover-Up? Timing of Response to FOIA Request Raises Questions; and

DIA Fulfillment of FOIA Request Falls Far Short of Expectations.

DIA Freedom of Information Act Request Remains Unfulfilled After Five-Hundred-Sixty-Nine Days

Five-hundred an sixty-nine days ago, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Defense Intelligence Agency for copies of unclassified contract documents related to Department of Defense purchases of polygraph equipment. Following an appeal process that began last fall, I’m still waiting for it to be fulfilled.

The image above is from a letter I received from the DIA early in my FOIA process.

The image above is from a letter I received from the DIA early in my FOIA process.

It’s not as if I haven’t communicated with anyone at DIA, one of the 17 intelligence agencies under the purview of Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. Since filing the original request July 16, 2012, I’ve sent and received plenty of correspondence. Most recently, however, I’ve been dealing with Brentin V. Evitt, the agency’s deputy general counsel for Mission Services. Unfortunately, he’s been long on promises and short on delivery.

Though some of the details of my communication with Evitt appear in a January 13 piece on the same subject, I thought I’d share more today as I approach the 19-month anniversary of my FOIA request.

The image above shows the email I received from a DIA lawyer Oct. 25, 2013.

The image above shows the email I received from a DIA lawyer Oct. 25, 2013.

Clearly explained in the second sentence of a two-sentence message (above) I received Oct. 25, 2013, is Evitt’s promise to be back in touch with me as soon as he knows more information. I must say, he did deliver on his promise — albeit it in the most miniscule manner possible — in a follow-up message I received at 10:27 a.m. Nov. 8, 2013 (below).

The image above shows the email I received from a DIA lawyer Nov. 8, 2013.

The image above shows the email I received from a DIA lawyer Nov. 8, 2013.

Understandably perturbed, I replied to Evitt at 10:39 a.m. and copied Kirsten Mitchell, a facilitator with the National Archives and Records Administration’s Office of Government Information Services, who informed me via email Nov. 6, 2013, that she had been assigned to work on my FOIA case.

I sent the message above to DIA's Brentin V. Evitt at 10:39 a.m. Nov. 8, 2013. Plus, I copied Kirsten Mitchell at the National Archives.

I sent the message above to DIA’s Brentin V. Evitt at 10:39 a.m. Nov. 8, 2013. Plus, I copied Kirsten Mitchell at the National Archives.

Surely, Evitt’s learned more by now, but he has not replied to repeated email and phone messages left during the past six weeks.

Meanwhile, staffers I’ve reached out to on the payrolls of U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) have told me they will try to get to the bottom of this matter. Now, all I can do is hope they do.

To find out why DIA is stonewalling my FOIA effort, order a copy of my second nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.

UPDATE 2/08/2014 at 11:08 p.m. Central:  This afternoon, I received another letter from the DIA about the now-572-day-old FOIA request described above.  Details coming soon.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Transparency Non-Existent at Defense Intelligence Agency

Unless something happens during the next 72 hours, a Freedom of Information Act request I submitted to the Defense Intelligence Agency July 16, 2012, will turn 18 months old. And it remains unfulfilled. Why?

PolygraphIt’s not as if I asked for the keys to Fort Knox. In fact, I asked only for unclassified documents related to government contracts to purchase polygraph equipment. Specifically, I requested the following:

“…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.”

Likewise, it’s not as if DIA officials totally stonewalled me. In fact, they did offer a minimal response to my request 10 months after it was submitted. Eight months ago — and less than two weeks after the release of my book, THE CLAPPER MEMO — I received a large DIA-marked envelope in the mail. It contained only 12 pages of documentation dating back as far as June 25, 2010 — far short of expectations.

DIA Return Address on EnvelopeAdding insult to injury, it contained an invoice of sorts that said I owed the agency $155.80 for “professional search and review time of 3.5 hours at $44.00 per hour, reproduction and release costs of 12 pages at 15¢ per page.” I have not paid.

The first anniversary of my FOIA request came and went without actual fulfillment, and DIA officials continued to drag their feet.

Several more months passed until I decided to ask readers of this website to call Brentin V. Evitt and ask the DIA attorney why his agency is stonewalling me. That was almost four weeks ago.

Now, I’m asking my members of Congress to get involved. I would appreciate you doing the same.

If you’re not sure why this is important, read THE CLAPPER MEMO, and you’ll understand.

UPDATE 1/15/2014 at 4:56 p.m. Central:  After making several phone calls to the offices of my elected officials and to the DIA Office of the General Counsel, I received a message a short while ago from U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.).  She informed me that she has “initiated an inquiry with the Defense Intelligence Agency” on my behalf.  Now, we wait a bit.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct '11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May '13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August (Oct ’11) and THE CLAPPER MEMO (May ’13). To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.