I have had some correspondence from folks asking about the status of my Freedom of Information Act request for the passport issuance records of Stanley Ann Dunham. Let me tell everyone where that is.
I filed the request electronically at the US Department of State Freedom of Information Act web site the end January of 2009. In April I received a letter from the Department of State informing me that my request had been accepted for processing. A case number was assigned.
Curious about how long the request might take, I consulted various online sources. As best I can tell, the Department of State has not complied in recent years with the statutory reporting requirements to Congress as to their backlog and processing time. I have not been able to find any information on how long a request should take.1
Towards the end of summer I called the FOIA office at DoS and asked them how my request was coming. They told me that it was being processed by the passport query section. When I asked when I should receive the requested information, the person I spoke to said they did not know, but would query the passport section for an answer and that I should call back in a week.
I waited two weeks and called back. No reply from the passport section. The person I spoke to asked me for my phone number and said they would follow up and call me back. A month passed and no call back.
I called again and spoke to a different person, who said that the passport section still hadn’t responded. When I asked when I should expect a response to my query, I was told it could take up to a year.
So as the the new year dawned, I called again. I was told the same story: no response from the passport section and no idea when I should receive a response. I informed the person that I wished to invoke an administrative procedure to resolve their non responsiveness and asked to speak to Patrick D. Scholl, the FOIA liaison. I was told that he was not available but that he would call me. It’s been several days and he hasn’t called.
So that is the sorry tale of your tax dollars at work.
1According an a 2008 Attorney General Report, “…, any agency that had a backlog of FOIA requests or appeals as of the end of Fiscal Year 2007 was required to establish, and post on its Website, backlog reduction goals for Fiscal Years 2008, 2009, and 2010.” This the Department of State hasn’t done.