US Department of State
Several years ago I attempted to get information regarding the takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran in February of 1979 using FOIL to the US State Department. The request had to do with the location of the debriefing center for embassy staff, and specifically regarding my older brother who was in the embassy at the time of the takeover. He called me at home in 1979 claiming he was in Wiesbaden Germany after being freed and leaving the embassy but for the last 35 years has adamantly and very seriously claimed he never called me. The result that I received from State was that the target of the inquiry was still living and that information could not be provided to me. I wanted to find out if there is a way around this type of response from a FOIL request? I would love to some day show him documentation that he was in fact in Wiesbaden Germany and did call me from there. If there is anyway to attempt to retrieve this information I would very much appreciate it.<pre>
Note: The Embassy takeover that I mention in this note is not the one which took place in November of '79 after which the hostages were held for the 444 days, the one that I mention is nick named the Saint Valentine's Day Open House which occurred on Valentine's Day of 1979.</pre>
Was your brother staff, or did an agency publicly acknowledge he was there??
If so, you should be able to appeal that he was staff, and had no reasonable expectation of privacy in terms of public knowledge that he was there. You can appeal right from the site.
If not, you could ask him if he’d be willing to fill out a privacy waiver, and you could refile the request with the privacy waiver: http://foia.state.gov/_docs/DS-4240.pdf#
His title was Minister Counselor and I would suppose that he would be considered Staff. It would be totally impossible for him to sign anything related to his whereabouts after the Iranian take over of the embassy in February of 1979. He called from Wiesbaden Germany several days after he was freed from the captivity, only for several hours, by the students who climbed over the walls to get in the facility. When he called, he spoke to both my wife and myself, sounded sober and claimed that he was calling from Germany. He was a Lt in the Navy before his stint with the Dept. of State. He was stationed on the USS Iwo Jima in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Viet Nam war. He was the nuclear weapons officer onboard. Interesting because the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution stated that those weapons were banned from that location. From my internet research about where released hostages were debriefed, only military hostages went to Wiesbaden and other went to Frankfort or elsewhere. Here is a page from my own website regarding my brother and his involvement with the Navy and US State Department: http://citlink.net/~insider/my-brother-mike.html . I would really like to discover where he was sent after the February 14, 1979 take over of the US Embassy in Tehran. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Pat McLaughlin</pre>