The FOIA Request That the CIA Didn’t Touch for Six Years
Get it together, CIA.
A version of this story originally appeared on Muckrock.com.
Back in 2011, MuckRock user Jason Smathers filed a FOIA with the CIA for all responses they had sent to requesters containing the term “record systems.” This was a reference to two earlier rejections he had received from the Agency, which cited the inability to preform a search in the system based on the terms Smathers had provided.
In response, the agency sent him partially redacted copies of those same two rejections.
Smathers immediately appealed, on grounds that it beggared belief that he had been the only requester to have ever had an exchange with the CIA that contained the words “record system.”
Six years goes by, and we hear nothing from the Agency regarding this request. Then, just this week, this letter arrives in the mail.
Which is worse? The casual admittance that they haven’t done anything for over half a decade, or unfathomable audacity of putting Smathers on deadline? And while two months sounds pretty generous, keep in mind that they’ve been sitting on this for 72 months - a mere 36 times what they’re giving him.
To give this some further context - Smathers’ request was assigned an internal MuckRock tracking number of 238. If you were to file a request today, you’d be given a number in the 31,000s.
To the CIA FOIA officer (not) reading this: There have been children born since this appeal was filed that you could have a conversation with. This is bad, and you should feel bad. Please don’t be bad, be good instead.
And get rid of that damn fax machine.
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