department of defense
In June 1956, Lyndon B. Johnson caused a “hullabaloo” over the search search of a Senator’s office conducted by Department of Defense security officers who were looking for a potential listening device. Johnson caused such a stink that the Federal Bureau of Investigation decided to avoid helping the Senate with security issues lest they be subject to unnecessary scandal the way the DOD security officers were.
Earlier this year, Emma Best filed a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of the Department of Defense’s most recent declassification guide, with the goal of better understanding what the Pentagon believes can or can’t be released to the public. Just this week, the guide came in but with one notable omission: the entire section on what the Pentagon believes can or can’t be released to the public
Last year, the DEA earned no small amount of infamy for putting a $1.4 million price tag on on a Freedom of Information Act request - among the largest ever recorded. This week, the Department of Defense blew that out of the water with a fee estimate of $660 million, nearly 500 times the previous record.
As the Department of Defense’s Chief of FOIA Policy, Jim Hogan helps oversee the processes that manage the roughly 60,000 requests the DoD sees each year. For him, it all started 20 years ago when, as an active duty officer in the Air Force, he made the jump to processing FOIA requests.
Cultural anthropologist Michael Powell studies the impact of government secrecy on the citizenry. For this week’s Requester’s Voice, Powell compares transparency in the US to other countries and talks about a bizarre FOIA training video produced by the Pentagon in faux noir style.
Brian Sparks sent this request to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration of the United States of America
Ryan Carboni sent this request to the Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense of the United States of America