State Department Stalling Hardcore on FOIA Request
Hi folks - I just received a message saying that the estimated completion date for my FOIA request is October 2017. I filed the initial request in July 2016 and just received this message concerning the estimated date of completion a few days ago. I suppose my question is: apart from calling and saying that this is a bit absurd and effectively filing an administrative appeal, what’s the best move at this juncture? I was a student when I filed this request and am now working as a freelance journalist and don’t exactly have access to a whole legal team. Any advice on this matter would be appreciated.
Feel free to check out my MuckRock profile, but essentially in my request, I ask for:
(1) All emails and records of communication between the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan and Zablon Simintov, including all records pertaining to his assertion that one of his Torahs had been stolen by a member of the Taleban (who was taken at some juncture to GiTMO). In 2005, Zablon Simintov told a reporter of the Washington Post Foreign Service that he had been informed by the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan that the person who stole his Torah was being held in GiTMO (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A39702-2005Jan26.html).
(2) More broadly, emails or cables to, from or about: Zablon Simintov or Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior between January 1, 2000 and July 1, 2016 that mention (a) his missing Torah, (b) the Taleban member thought to have taken Zablon Simintov’s missing Torah, and/or (c) GiTMO.
They aren’t stalling, they are just really, really, really slow.
Yeah, yikes. Although, State has been good, so far, at actually processing the requests, it just takes them a very long time. I’ve never had issues with questionable redaction, fees, or other tactics used to stifle FOIA.