|Submitted||Aug. 28, 2016|
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To Whom It May Concern:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:
All records of communications, including but not limited to memoranda, emails, notes/records of phone conversations, minutes/transcripts/notes of meetings, and any other record of communications between Secretary of the Army Thomas E. White and the individuals named below on the subject of Iraq or Saddam Hussein between April 1, 2002 and April 1, 2003:
1) President George W. Bush
2) Vice President Richard "Dick" Cheney
3) National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice
4) Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley
5) Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet
6) Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
7) Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz
8) Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki
9) Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith
10) Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs: William Luti
11) Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs: Peter Rodman
I request a waiver of all fees associated with this request as it serves a compelling public interest in better understanding the causes and conduct of the Iraq War. This request is made for the purposes of research into the functioning of the Department of Defense in planning and executing the war in Iraq. I hold a PhD in political science, focused on international security and U.S. foreign policy and am well-positioned to use responsive documents to advance public understanding of the operations of the U.S. government (I have carried out such research using declassified documents in the past - see my website, davidalindsey.com for details). I will disseminate conclusions derived from responsive documents through papers, publications, and a book manuscript currently in progress. The addition to public understanding is likely to be significant given that the public has a limited understanding of Secretary White's contribution to planning for the Iraq War (and the Army's transformation as necessary for this conflict) despite Secretary White's subsequent emergence as a significant critic of administration policy. The public has little understanding of whether Secretary White voiced such criticisms while he was still serving, whether his comments were heard, and whether they shaped policy. If further clarification is needed on any of these points to grant a waiver of fees, please let me know and I would be happy to provide it.
Finally, if a waiver of fees is not available, I request classification as an educational institution requester. I am a post-doctoral research fellow in the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and this request is made under the auspices of Princeton University solely for the purposes of academic research.
Good morning, after careful review of your FOIA request, we determined that your request is too broad in scope, did not specifically identify the records which you are seeking, or only posed questions to the Army. Records must be described in reasonably sufficient detail to enable government employees who are familiar with the subject area to locate records without placing an unreasonable burden upon the Army.
We are asking you to be more specific on your request and require that you describe the records you are seeking with as much information as possible to ensure that our search can locate them with a reasonable amount of effort. "A request to narrow the scope of a search is entirely permissible under the act" by a government agency. Rugiero v. U.S. Dep't of Justice, 257 F.3d 534, 548 (6th Cir. 2001).
If we do not hear from you within 10 days from the date of this email, we will assume you are no longer interested in this FOIA request, and the case will be administratively closed. If you have any question please contact us at 703-428-6238.
Please be advised that this letter is not a denial of your request and will not preclude you from filing other requests in the future
Records Management and Declassification Agency / Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army
Thank you for your prompt response. I am a bit confused by your response, however. You state that "we determined that your request is too broad in scope, did not specifically identify the records which you are seeking, or only posed questions to the Army." I note that my request posed no questions and identified specific records; therefore, I assume that your response is based on the assertion that my request is "too broad in scope." It would be helpful, however, if you could specifically state your issues with my request. If the Department of the Army has specific concerns about the request, I would be happy to work with you to address them.
I note, however, that the request is narrowly tailored and that fulfilling it should not impose any substantial burden on the Army. I have requested records of communications from specific individuals on a specific topic. While you are obviously more aware of the nature of your filing than I am, Secretary White's correspondence should be filed in a centralized way within the Office of the Secretary of the Army and is likely already categorized based on the sender/recipient of each communication. As such, it should be trivial for the Army to locate Secretary White's correspondence with the individuals named. It would be straightforward to conduct a simple keyword search for the word "Iraq" to identify the documents responsive to this request. If, for whatever reason, this is infeasible, I would be happy to discuss the matter further if you could state your specific concerns.
Once again, I am happy to discuss this further. If the information above is not sufficient to address your concerns, then please let me know in what way the Army views the request as burdensome.
Our office would be more than happy to explain we can be reached at 703-428-6206. What is a good number for us to contact you?
Records Management and Declassification Agency /
Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army
To Whom It May Concern:
I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Aug. 28, 2016. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.
Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.
Good morning, our office have already spoke to Mr. Lindsey directly on the phone and provided our final response to him directly. No further action is required from this office. Thank you.
There are no files associated with this request.