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

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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

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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.

Author Needs Honest Answers From Speakers at Nation’s Largest Intelligence Gathering

Originally scheduled to take place six months ago but postponed due to the government shutdown, GEOINT 2013* Symposium is now set for April 14-17 in Tampa, Fla.  Touted as the largest intelligence event in the U.S., according to a news release issued by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation, this event stands as a target-rich environment for someone like me who needs some honest answers from a handful of the event’s keynote speakers.

GeoInt_2013Atop the list of speakers from whom I’d like answers is Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., the man whose name appears in the title of my second and most-recent nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO.  I’d like to ask DNI Clapper why, as Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence seven years ago, he issued a memo declaring the polygraph the only authorized credibility assessment tool for use by Department of Defense personnel when a newer, more reliable and more effective credibility assessment technology was — and still is — available to U.S. military and intelligence personnel.

Second on my list is Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn. I’d like to ask the Army three-star general why I’ve had to wait 632 days (so far) for DIA officials to fulfill my Freedom of Information Act request for unclassified information related to DoD purchases of portable polygraph equipment during the past 12 years.  Specifically, I asked for the following information in my 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.”

Unfortunately, DIA’s only fulfillment to date, a mail parcel that I received May 9, 2013, fell far short of expectations.  It contained only 12 pages of documentation dating back only as far as June 25, 2010 — not to Jan. 1, 2000, as requested.  Coincidentally, the date that appeared atop the letter, May 2, 2013, was the exact day THE CLAPPER MEMO, the book for which I was seeking the information, was released.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Of course, there are others on the list of keynoters with whom I’d like to speak.

I’d like to ask three flag officers — Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of U.S. Central Command, Adm. William H. McRaven, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, and Lt. Gen. Raymond P. Palumbo, Director for Defense Intelligence for Warfighter Support in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence how they can look in the mirror each day while knowing a tool proven more effective and reliable than the century-old polygraph is being kept out of the hands of their front-line warriors.

U.S. Rep. C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger (D-Md)

U.S. Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-Md)

Finally, I’d like to ask Maryland Congressman C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger why he, as Ranking Member of the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, hasn’t shown more interest in this topic.  He was, after all, among the several dozen members of Congress who received copies of my book in which I point fingers and name names.

Based on the findings of my exhaustive four-year investigation into the federal government’s use of so-called credibility assessment technologies, including the polygraph, THE CLAPPER MEMO has received rave reviews from people who know what it’s like to have a “dog in the fight.”

To learn more about the book, visit http://TheClapperMemo.com.  To order a copy, 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.

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.

DIA Officials Stonewall FOIA Request For More Than 600 Days

Over the weekend, a Freedom of Information Act request I submitted to the Defense Intelligence Agency turned 600 days old, and it seems even a sitting member of Congress has little influence over how officials inside the spy agency regard a citizen’s right to know unclassified details about government contracts related to the purchase of polygraph machines.

PolygraphTHE INITIAL FOIA REQUEST:  The unclassified information DIA officials are so reluctant to provide is 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.”

THE DIA RESPONSE & MY APPEAL:  In a piece May 24, 2013, I described how DIA’s response to my FOIA request 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:

In 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.

Click image above to download letter (PDF).

Click image above to download letter (PDF).

THE LATEST NEWS ABOUT THE APPEAL PROCESS:  Twenty-four days after my last update about this never-ending saga, I received a message from Erin Olson, a staffer in the office of U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.). She informed me that my representative in the House of Representatives had received a response to her Jan. 15 inquiry written on my behalf about my FOIA request. That response, from DIA Chief of Congressional Relations James L. Kaplan, was dated Feb. 28 and received in Representative Wagner’s office March 3. It began as follows:

Thank you for sharing your January 15, 2014, correspondence with Mr. Bob McCarty of St. Charles, MO and for your interest in the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) policies. DIA takes its open government obligations very seriously and attempts to provide a level of service that will satisfy the requester community. There are certainly instances where DIA is not able to provide service at a speed that satisfies the individual requester. It is common that DIA must assert exemptions under the FOIA that the requester does not agree with. In either situation, this Agency wants to provide the requester the fullest access possible at the greatest speed possible.

In two paragraphs that followed, the DIA official claimed I had not filed an appeal May 24, 2013, before stating that DIA FOIA officials “decided to treat the electronic mail correspondence from Mr. McCarty to the DIA Office of the General Counsel as authority to initiate this administrative appeal.” Soon after, he patronized the congresswoman some more:

That appeal is being reviewed by DIA, a process that involves the re-examination of the search for responsive records and the review of any records previously processed for release. This appellate procedure takes time to conclude, but I can certainly understand Mr. McCarty’s frustration with the length of time it has taken to resolve his request and his appeal.

I assure you that Mr. McCarty’s administrative appeal is being handled by DIA according to its established procedures, which must factor in the re-review of the matter and the processing of other appeals received prior to his. DIA will provide a response as soon as possible. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have further questions.

After 602 days of waiting, I think it’s time to change the procedures.

Want to know why I’m so interested in reading government contract documents related to the purchases of polygraph equipment? You an begin to understand by reading endorsements of my book. For an in-depth understanding, however, you’ll have to ORDER A COPY and read THE CLAPPER MEMO.

UPDATE 3/21/2014 at 11:43 a.m. Central: Today, I received a letter regarding my DIA FOIA request from the office of Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Dated March 11, it contained nothing of substance from the senator but pointed me, instead, to a copy of a letter from DIA’s Kaplan that appears identical to the one Representative Wagner received. Gotta love this transparency!

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 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.

Nation’s Top Intelligence Official Advised to ‘Look in the Mirror!’

Though I’d never label Edward Snowden a hero for his actions, I will offer some advice to Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. on the heels of his testimony Wednesday before members of the Senate Intelligence Committee:  “LOOK IN THE MIRROR!”

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. delivers his opening statement to members of the Senate Intelligence Committee Jan. 29.

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. delivers his opening statement to members of the Senate Intelligence Committee Jan. 29. CLICK TO WATCH VIDEO.

Speaking of Snowden and the damage the former National Security Agency contractor employee caused by leaking intelligence documents to which he had access, the nation’s top intelligence official said Snowden put lives of U.S. intelligence operatives at risk.  Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

DNI Clapper did the same thing seven years ago when, as Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, he issued a memo in which he declared the polygraph the only authorized credibility assessment tool for use by Department of Defense personnel.  After all, there was — and still is — a newer, more reliable and more effective credibility assessment technology available to U.S. military and intelligence personnel.

In my latest nonfiction book, THE CLAPPER MEMO, I expose details of Clapper’s memo and the impact it has had on our nation’s defense and intelligence capabilities.  I share interviews with people who’ve had their “boots on the ground” — in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Mexico and Qatar — as end users of the non-polygraph credibility assessment technology now locked out of the DoD marketplace.  In addition, I share never-before-published documents obtained from individuals who were in charge of the interrogation element at Guantanamo Bay during the early days of the so-called “Global War on Terror.”  And there’s more you’ll only find out about by reading the book!

Though it has yet to gain the kind of attention the Snowden/NSA scandal, THE CLAPPER MEMO has received glowing endorsements from several high-level individuals who appreciate its implications.  For example, a retired Navy SEALs training program commander described what I reveal inside the book as “an unconscionable cover-up.”

To learn more about what I reveal inside THE CLAPPER MEMO, you’ll have to order a copy of the book.  It’s available in paperback and ebook versions at Amazon.

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.