Milley-Pelosi comms on nuclear launch codes

Matthew Petti filed this request with the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States of America.
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Multi Request Milley-Pelosi comms on nuclear launch codes


From: Matthew Petti

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

Any correspondence sent to and/or received from the office of Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi soliciting, arranging for and/or discussing the January 8, 2020 conversation between Speaker Pelosi and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley; and
Any talking points prepared and/or circulated by the office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in preparation for the January 8, 2020 conversation between Secretary Pelosi and Chairman Milley.

On January 8, 2020, Speaker Pelosi wrote in a letter to colleagues that she "spoke to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike" that morning. The letter was also published by her office online:

Chairman Milley assured Speaker Pelosi that military commanders could refuse an order to launch a nuclear strike on the advice of lawyers, Speaker Pelosi told colleagues in Congress, according to an Associated Press report published later that day:

If any part of the responsive emails contain attachments, please include those files as well. If any potentially-responsive documents are exempt from disclosure, please remember to include all reasonably-segregable portions of the documents, as the FOIA requires.

I am seeking expedited processing of my request pursuant to 5 U.S.C.§ 552(a)(6)(E) because there is an urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity in a matter of current exigency to the American public.

Note that federal courts have recognized the public's interest in breaking news, which "conveys information the public wants quickly,” “would lose value if it were delayed" (Am. Civil Liberties Union of N. Cal., 2006 WL 1469418 at *6.), and may have an "impact" on the public's political decision-making (Id. at *7). The subject matter is of obvious relevance to the public's decision-making; Speaker Pelosi's letter concerns the military chain of command, calls for presidential impeachment, and comes in the wake of the January 6, 2020 violence at the United States Capitol amidst a contentious presidential transition. As such, it has been covered by numerous news outlets, including the Associated Press.

As a reporter at Responsible Statecraft, I am a person primarily engaged in disseminating information, and request that you properly classify me as a media requester. I have written numerous articles on topics of public interest for the Daily Beast, the Asia Times, Responsible Statecraft, the National Interest, Reason Magazine, America Magazine and the Armenian Weekly, and I am requesting these documents in an editorial capacity. Please contact me if you have any questions about my media status.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, 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.


Matthew Petti

From: Joint Chiefs of Staff

Dear Matthew Petti,
The status of your FOIA request #21-F-0414 has been updated to the following status 'Received'. To log into the PAL Application click on the Application URL below.

OSD/JS FOIA Requester Service Center

From: Joint Chiefs of Staff

Dear Matthew Petti,

Case Number 21-F-0414 has been assigned to the request you submitted. In all future correspondence regarding this request please reference case number 21-F-0414.
OSD/JS FOIA Requester Service Center

From: Joint Chiefs of Staff

Good Afternoon Mr. Petti,

Please see the attached Freedom of Information Act request, assigned case number 21-F-0414, and the associated record.

Very Respectfully,

Laura Pintar
Government Information Specialist
For Richard Strong, on behalf of
Stephanie L. Carr
Chief, Office of Freedom of Information
OSD/JS FOIA Requester Service Center
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