25 May 2013

USAF Cheats on FOIA Response - then USAF Demands Return of FOIA Response

What a comedy of errors! The C-123 Veterans Association submitted an FOIA in August 2012 for everything associated with the Air Force C-123 Consultative Letter. That letter was a messed-up analysis of the aircraft's contamination and twisted conclusion that veterans somehow were not exposed to Agent Orange.

The request was approved completely – documentation, correspondence, recordings, emails...everything was to be released within the required response time of 20 days. What we got, however, after waiting 347 days, was a CD loaded with a bunch of decades-old records and a single page related to the massive study - and not even a copy of that study! That's not good, because the Freedom of Information Act assures us that citizens have a right to this information, and the FOIA is an important cornerstone of American democracy, according to the Congress, the Supreme Court and the President. Hey, Air Force - its the law!

But apparently not an important enough law to the folks at Wright-Patterson AFB. They feel free to delay as they wish, and to withhold information as they wish, even about this 60-year-old warplane. Apparently, something in the issue embarrasses the Air Force in some way, or there is something which needs being covered up (from their perspective) and that (from their perspective) makes it perfectly okay to sneer at our rights.

But the joke - FOIA officials at Wright-Patterson AFB almost immediately demanded RETURN of their CD. Seems they inadvertently included a full page of civilian employees' Social Security numbers. The same error as I'd pointed out to them two years ago, but this time we'd posted the CD of information before we noticed their problem (and immediately informed the 88th FOIA officials, of course) so it was out for all the world to see, and now AF has to find those employees and do a big mea culpa.

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