James Holland

Hello; My name is Jim Holland. I filed a FOIA to Dept. of the Army. My request was for administrative case files for use of Yersinia pestis bacilli from December 1948 to January 1961. I requested administrative case files to get an idea what the Army has on this subject.

Per Jason Leopold 12-23-13: ” I always encourage requesters to file FOIAs for the “processing notes” and administrative case files related to their requests…”

I received a response asking me to “…narrow the scope of your request by reasonably describing the type administrative case files being sought.” I thought I was doing that by requesting administrative case files.

Note: The Army does have files on this. Some of the files have been sent to the National Archives. Some of the files were destroyed after the Army recalled them from the National Archives in 1956. The CIA, State Dept. and the Air Force are also implicated during the time frame I’m asking about. In addition, I have done searches for my topic on this web site, document cloud, and others.

The Public Record has recent news on this subject: http://pubrecord.org/world/11076/document-suggests-about-biological/

Question; How do I narrow my request down? I will be filing FOIA’s to the aforementioned agencies on this subject.

Thank you, -Jim

Shawn Musgrave

Hi Jim,

Is “administrative case files” the specific term for a report of file related to the use of plague species? When Jason Leopold suggested requesting administrative case files, he was referring to a particular type of file that records officers open as they process FOIA requests. 

FOIA requests must fulfill one of two conditions:

They can describe the specific document sought.


They can describe the circumstances that led to the creation of the documents sought.

The second is a better option for you if you’re unsure precisely how to describe the document you’re seeking.

Anyone else have experience with this?


James Holland

Hey Shawn:

“Is “administrative case files” the specific term for a report of file related to the use of plague species?” No.

I want any documents from 1948 to 1961 with the title “Yersinia pestis”, or “Yersinia pestis bacilli”.

I misinterpreted Jason Leopold’s comments about administrative case files’

Should I write a new request stating just that?


Shawn Musgrave

Hi Jim,

Sorry for the delay – I didn’t get a notice of followup question. 

Yes, I’d suggest withdrawing this request and submitting a new one with more detail.


James Holland

Hi Shawn; How do I withdraw my FOIA? Thank you, Jim

Ryan Carboni

just let it expire and submit a new one

or write to them that you’re withdrawing it

James Holland

Thank you ryaz.

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