Tuesday, November 1, 2016

8 October CG FOIA Update

I received an email yesterday from CG Civilian employee John Melchers, Chief of the Personal Property Accountability Division of the Office of Financial Policy, Reporting, and Property. This relates to the Coast Guard FOIA I submitted on Nov. 4, 2013, almost THREE FULL YEARS ago. The Coast Guard has finally completed another review of records requested for the handling of STORIS. They were reportedly put into the postal mail yesterday and are en route.

Now what will be in there and how many pages will there be? 

As you may recall, the Coast Guard sent information to me and called their effort complete. However, I pointed out in an appeal that I had documents in my possession that involved STORIS and the Coast Guard, documents that I had received from other government agencies and individuals. These records were not included in the materials released by the Coast Guard, so it was clear that the CG had withheld or otherwise overlooked records related to the ship. There was also the serious matter of claiming to have looked for records related to the ship in a location that we knew as a matter of procedure would have been purged of those records. This appeal process has gone on for about a year, with the CG making the release on 1 September 2015 and my response 13 November.

Once the materials arrive, I will review them as quickly as possible. Since they are being sent in hard copy, I will have to scan them, which will take time depending on how much material is sent. Past experience has demonstrated that the government agencies involved are not generous in sharing materials that reveal their complicity in this sordid affair.

As a related aside, EPA still owes us a response to my FOIA Appeal   filed 14 May 2014, almost a year and a half ago. I filed a FOIA request with the State Department on 15 January 2015 and only heard that my request for an expedited response was denied. An inquiry in February of 2016 indicated that State would be looking into it. Nothing since. State has been busy with other higher-profile FOIA and record-keeping issues these past few months...

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