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.
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:
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.
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.