After MuckRock called attention to its terminally inoperable fax machine, the Office of the Secretary of Defense has managed to find a replacement. Call off the crowdfunding hounds!
In initial communications with MuckRock, the OSD FOIA chief had indicated that the fax machine could be down until early November, as it would "will likely need to procure (purchase) a new fax machine" and that this "purchase will not occur until the start of the new fiscal year (at the earliest)." He went into further detail about the delay, and seemed in no particular hurry to speed up the process:
Our users and half the Internet were understandably puzzled by OSD's apparent inability to find funds for a quick fix on this. Some suggested floating the office some cash.
But today, MuckRock is happy to announce that OSD has managed to find a fax machine, without even a single cent of crowdfunding (save the millions it receives in taxpayer funds each year). While the office remains impervious to emailed FOIA requests, we the people now have the option of faxing our FOIAs to OSD once again, as an alternative to submitting requests by mail or the rather clunky (in our experience) online portal.
We've confirmed the resurrection via phone call as well as a couple of test faxes.
Before OSD pulled off this miracle, MuckRock had already mailed off a number of requests to dig into its technical difficulties. We asked for OSD's FOIA logs with a breakdown by receipt method, their office equipment inventory and annual budgetfor good measure). We'll be sure to switch any followups over to fax.
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