DoD agreements with Whisper

Michael Morisy filed this request with the Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense of the United States of America.
Est. Completion None


From: Michael Morisy

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

A copy of any agreements, contracts, or memorandums of understanding between the Department of Defense and WhisperText, Inc., the company behind the app Whisper.

This agreement was widely reported on here:

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.


Michael Morisy

From: Council, Suzanne F CIV WHS ESD (US)

Mr. Michael Morisy
Dept MR 13859
Boston, MA 02205

Sent by electronic mail to:

This is in response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for Department of Defense records and contract with WhisperText, Inc., the company behind the app Whisper. Your request was received 17 Oct 2014 in this office and assigned FOIA case number 15-F-0178.

This office handles FOIA requests for the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff (OSD/JS) only. FOIA requests involving the search of offices outside of OSD/JS should be directed to the appropriate FOIA office. You may find links to the non-OSD/JS DoD FOIA requester services on our website at:

According to the FOIA's legislative history, a description would be sufficient if it enabled a professional employee of the agency who was familiar with the subject area of the request to locate the record with a reasonable amount of effort, and reasonably describes records if the agency is able to determine "precisely" what records are being requested.

Courts have identified at least three (3) ways in which a FOIA request can fail to reasonably describe the records sought:
1) the description may be too vague to allow the agency to determine precisely what records are being requested; an agency is not required to have clairvoyant capabilities to discover the requestor's need;
2) broad sweeping requests lacking specificity are insufficient; and,
3) even where a request sufficiently describes the records sought, an agency is not required to comply with a request so broad that it would impose an unreasonable burden upon the agency. An agency need not honor a request that requires an unreasonably burdensome search. The "reasonably describes" requirement exists because the FOIA was not intended to reduce government agencies to full-time investigators on behalf of requesters. As such, it is the requester's responsibility to frame requests with sufficient particularity to ensure the searches are not unreasonably burdensome, and to enable the searching agency to determine precisely what records are being requested.

We checked the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS)-NG), the current central repository of information on Federal contracting, and could not find a contract with WhisperText, Inc.

As you may or may not know, OSD/JS is not an intelligence agency. We suggest that you write to the National Security Agency, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and the Defense Information Systems Agency.

If you believe that OSD/JS holds records, please advise the office that holds the records within OSD and Joint Staff. If we do not hear from you by 24 Oct 14, we will believe you are no longer interested and close your request.

The action officer for this request, Mr. Curtis Gibbens, is copied on this email.

If you are not satisfied with this action, you may submit an administrative appeal to James Hogan, Defense Freedom of Information Policy Office, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1155. Your appeal should be postmarked within 60 calendar days of the date of this letter, should cite to case number 15-F-0178, and should be clearly marked "Freedom of Information Act Appeal."

Suzanne Council
Senior Advisor
Office of the Secretary of Defense and Joint Staff
Office of Freedom of Information
1155 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1155


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