Main Menu

New hope for the Doc’s FOIA

Christopher Strunk filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for passport applications of President Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham. He received his results and they were, to say the least, disappointing. One side wants to see that she had a passport in 1961 that would have enabled her to travel to Africa for the birth of Barack Obama, and the other side wants to see that she had none, and couldn’t have made the trip. The Department of State says that passport applications for 1925 to 1965  have been destroyed as part of a cost cutting move. All we got was a reference to an application from 1965, but not the application itself.

I have speculated here that my FOIA, which like Strunk’s asked for Stanley Ann Dunham’s passport records, may yield different results because while Strunk asked for “passport applications”, I asked for “passports issued.” I reasoned that surely the Department of State keeps records of passports issued distinct from the applications.

Apparently I was right. While researching the background of the destruction of the passport applications, and the “pressure” (according to a State Department internal memo released to Strunk) to reduce storage costs, I came across a GAO report from August 6, 1981 titled Management of the Department of State Office of Passport Services Needs To Be Improved.

Chapter 4 of the report deals with the costs of record retention and the argument made by the Department of State for longer retention periods. State argued that a passport application might provide proof of the citizenship of the parent of a child born overseas (and hence evidence of the child’s citizenship). The GAO countered that persons born after 1925 could obtain birth certificates from state and local sources, and that in any case:

Should the Department need to verify if a parent was ever issued a passport, old passport issue cards have been microfilmed and can be referenced by the Department.

Document page 30, PDF page 44

That is, in the year immediately prior to the commencement of the passport application destruction project in 1982, there existed a card file of passports issued, on microfilm, for records from 1925 on.

I think the background in this 1981 GAO report should lay to rest any questions about the passport destruction project for old passport applications. There remains the fact that the records disposition forms for the passport application destruction have not been located in the national archives so far. However, the statute in force in 1981 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 33, § 3303) made the Administrator of the GAO responsible for approving record destruction (changed in 1984 to the National Archivist) and clearly the GAO was all for it. The National Archivist agreed, saying:

…passport application file records except for federally issued vital records ‘* * * are disposable because they do not have sufficient value for purposes of historical or other research, functional documentation or protection of individual rights to warrant permanent retention by the Federal Government.”

The GAO report recommended that the Secretary of State:

  • initiate a project to separate permanent records from disposable passport records,
  • adjust the retention schedule from 100 years to 15 years for disposable passport records originating from 1925 to the first half of 1978, and
  • adjust the retention schedule for disposable passport records that have been microfilmed from 15 years to the validity period of a passport.

36 Responses to New hope for the Doc’s FOIA

  1. avatar
    NbC September 7, 2010 at 3:33 am #

    Nice research Doc!!!

  2. avatar
    Bernard Sussman September 7, 2010 at 8:21 am #

    If Stanley Ann Dunham didn’t have a passport until 1965, when the future President was already four years old, it seems to follow logically that, on 4 August 1961, she was still inside the United States.

    Biology was never my best subject, but I do think that if the mother was here then her baby was not born elsewhere.

    Maybe this is the silver bullet that will put an end to the birfer mythology.

  3. avatar
    Bovril September 7, 2010 at 9:05 am #

    Alas Bernard, there is no real silver bullet for Birfers…..8-(

    Their general hatred for the current President and Admistration means that they not only move the goal posts, they put the damn things on skids and it’s currently leaving the stadium……..

  4. avatar
    Lupin September 7, 2010 at 9:13 am #

    I think we’re all well aware that the #1 postulate of the birther cult is that Obama cannot possibly be president legitimately.

    Any fact that might contradict that postulate has to be either fraudulent, or explained away through tortured and increasingly lunatic conspiracy schemes.

  5. avatar
    Dr Kenneth Noisewater (Bob Ross) September 7, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    Bernard Sussman: If Stanley Ann Dunham didn’t have a passport until 1965, when the future President was already four years old, it seems to follow logically that, on 4 August 1961, she was still inside the United States.Biology was never my best subject, but I do think that if the mother was here then her baby was not born elsewhere.Maybe this is the silver bullet that will put an end to the birfer mythology.

    No Bernard because now they’ll just claim that both Obama and Stanley Ann Dunham lied about when Obama was born. They’ll just claim he’s younger than he claims.

  6. avatar
    Rickey September 7, 2010 at 10:42 am #

    Bernard Sussman: If Stanley Ann Dunham didn’t have a passport until 1965, when the future President was already four years old, it seems to follow logically that, on 4 August 1961, she was still inside the United States.

    Logic has never been a strong suit of the birfers. How do we know that when she was six months pregnant Stanley Ann didn’t stow away on a tramp steamer and make her way to Kenya? She then had the baby, and her mother took advantage of Hawaii’s shoddy birth registration process to obtain a fraudulent birth certificate Of course, this assumes that Stanley Ann really was Obama’s mother and that he really was born on August 4, 1961. How do we know that he isn’t really Rosemary’s Baby?

  7. avatar
    Ellid September 7, 2010 at 12:14 pm #

    Rickey:
    Logic has never been a strong suit of the birfers. How do we know that when she was six months pregnant Stanley Ann didn’t stow away on a tramp steamer and make her way to Kenya? She then had the baby, and her mother took advantage of Hawaii’s shoddy birth registration process to obtain a fraudulent birth certificate Of course, this assumes that Stanley Ann really was Obama’s mother and that he really was born on August 4, 1961. How do we know that he isn’t really Rosemary’s Baby?

    A whole bunch of birthers already think he’s the Antichrist.

    Then again, we *are* talking people who think those execrable Left Behind books are literature.

  8. avatar
    misha September 7, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    Bernard Sussman: If Stanley Ann Dunham didn’t have a passport until 1965, when the future President was already four years old, it seems to follow logically that, on 4 August 1961, she was still inside the United States.Maybe this is the silver bullet that will put an end to the birfer mythology.

    Bernard, hard core birthers are not swayed by logic:
    http://newyorkleftist.blogspot.com/2010/03/obama-born-in-kenya-no.html

    You should see some of the e-mails I get.

  9. avatar
    aarrgghh September 7, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

    Lupin: I think we’re all well aware that the #1 postulate of the birther cult is that Obama cannot possibly be president legitimately.
    Any fact that might contradict that postulate has to be either fraudulent, or explained away through tortured and increasingly lunatic conspiracy schemes.

    yes, in the birfer universe, the truth of obama’s ineligibility is like the speed of light — it is the one constant to which every other value must yield.

    it is the sum to which every tally must resolve and the conclusion to which every proof must lead. in fact, it is both the premise and the conclusion …

  10. avatar
    john September 7, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

    http://www.thepostemail.com/2010/09/05/exclusive-lucas-daniel-smith-speaks-with-the-post-email/

    Lucas Daniel Smith has just completed a mailing to each member of Congress a copy of a document which he stated is a certified copy of the original birth certificate of Barack Hussein Obama II showing that Obama was born in Kenya, Africa. Each birth certificate copy was sent with a seven-page, individually-notarized letter by certified mail. The project was completed on August 31, 2010.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/36935783/Part-1-of-8-Lucas-Daniel-Smith-4th-of-July-Letter-to-Congress

  11. avatar
    Rickey September 7, 2010 at 2:28 pm #

    john: Lucas Daniel Smith has just completed a mailing to each member of Congress a copy of a document which he stated is a certified copy of the original birth certificate of Barack Hussein Obama II showing that Obama was born in Kenya, Africa.

    I am sure that the members of Congress will be impressed by the “evidence” provided by the convicted forger and swindler, Lucas Daniel Smith.

  12. avatar
    Kbell September 7, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    john: http://www.thepostemail.com/2010/09/05/exclusive-lucas-daniel-smith-speaks-with-the-post-email/Lucas Daniel Smith has just completed a mailing to each member of Congress a copy of a document which he stated is a certified copy of the original birth certificate of Barack Hussein Obama II showing that Obama was born in Kenya, Africa. Each birth certificate copy was sent with a seven-page, individually-notarized letter by certified mail. The project was completed on August 31, 2010.http://www.scribd.com/doc/36935783/Part-1-of-8-Lucas-Daniel-Smith-4th-of-July-Letter-to-Congress

    The real shocker is in the comments field. Scam man lucas is really taking a beating from a small number of P&Eck readers. They seem to smell Lucas’s BS.

  13. avatar
    Majority Will September 7, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    Rickey:
    I am sure that the members of Congress will be impressed by the “evidence” provided by the convicted forger and swindler, Lucas Daniel Smith.

    I liked the part where he admits to bribing Kenyan officials. I hope they recycle the paper from their shredders.

    Isn’t this the same forgery he tried to sell on eBay that snopes.com thoroughly debunked?
    http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/birthers/kenyacert.asp

  14. avatar
    Expelliarmus September 7, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    john: Each birth certificate copy was sent with a seven-page, individually-notarized letter by certified mail. The project was completed on August 31, 2010.

    You do know that the only significance of the notarization is to verify that it is, indeed, Lucas Smith’s signature on the bottom of his letter?

    It in no way validates the photocopy of the sham birth certificate containing the mis-spelled name of the not-yet-appointed, future director of a Mombasa hospital.

  15. avatar
    Majority Will September 7, 2010 at 3:11 pm #

    Rickey:
    I am sure that the members of Congress will be impressed by the “evidence” provided by the convicted forger and swindler, Lucas Daniel Smith.

    At least one member might look into a “Save the Okapi” campaign.

  16. avatar
    Black Lion September 7, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

    Majority Will: At least one member might look into a “Save the Okapi” campaign.

    I actually had posted this info earlier on the other thread…As many people that do smell the BS that Smith is cooking, there are so many there that hate Obama so much that they would prefer to believe in a convicted forger over the fact that President Obama is a natural born citizen. It is amazing. However Smith can’t help himself so he posts on the comments section of his articles basically disparaging anyone that dares to point out the inconsistincies in his stories…Really amusing stuff….Worth a read for nothing else than the pur entertainment value….And James/John is just doing his job as the convict Lucas Smith’s enabler….You should read how Lucas defends selling his kidney…

  17. avatar
    Arthur September 7, 2010 at 3:40 pm #

    john: http://www.thepostemail.com/2010/09/05/exclusive-lucas-daniel-smith-speaks-with-the-post-email/ Lucas Daniel Smith has just completed a mailing to each member of Congress . . .

    Dear John,

    That’s wonderful news! Please pass on my thanks to Mr. Smith for helping to keep the United States Post Office in business.

  18. avatar
    FUTTHESHUCKUP September 7, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

    Lupin: I think we’re all well aware that the #1 postulate of the birther cult is that Obama cannot possibly be president legitimately.
    Any fact that might contradict that postulate has to be either fraudulent, or explained away through tortured and increasingly lunatic conspiracy schemes.

    That is the birthers’ false premise through which ALL information on the matter is filtered through. information that fails to support that premise is filtered out; information that supports that premise is able to make it past the filter. They hear only what they want to hear and then only know what they’ve heard.

  19. avatar
    Gorefan September 7, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

    john: The project was completed on August 31, 2010.

    The project was dumped in the trash on Sept. 7, 2010.

  20. avatar
    SluggoJD September 7, 2010 at 8:54 pm #

    Dr. C,

    Since you already know how to make these FOIA requests, how about making a request for passport information on Lucas Daniel Smith.

  21. avatar
    misha September 7, 2010 at 8:58 pm #

    SluggoJD: Dr. C,Since you already know how to make these FOIA requests, how about making a request for passport information on Lucas Daniel Smith.

    I doubt it. Lucas is alive, and all they might confirm, is if he has a passport. I don’t think destinations are recorded.

  22. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 7, 2010 at 9:20 pm #

    Ellid: Then again, we *are* talking people who think those execrable Left Behind books are literature.

    I started Left Behind, but after Captain Steele and his daughter accepted Jesus, there wasn’t much more of interest left in the story. I guess they just couldn’t have a hero in a book who wasn’t a Christian.

  23. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 7, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

    SluggoJD: Since you already know how to make these FOIA requests, how about making a request for passport information on Lucas Daniel Smith.

    No can do. Smith and Barack Obama are in a special protected class of persons exempt from FOIA requests: living.

  24. avatar
    Majority Will September 7, 2010 at 10:04 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    No can do. Smith and Barack Obama are in a special protected classof persons exempt from FOIA requests: living.

    Even if Smith is probably brain dead?

  25. avatar
    katahdin September 8, 2010 at 5:18 am #

    Ellid: A whole bunch of birthers already think he’s the Antichrist.

    I must be getting old. I can remember when Bill Clinton was the Antichrist.

  26. avatar
    AnotherBird September 8, 2010 at 5:52 am #

    john:

    Lucas Daniel Smith has just completed a mailing to each member of Congress a copy of a document which he stated is a certified copy of the original birth certificate of Barack Hussein Obama II showing that Obama was born in Kenya, Africa. Each birth certificate copy was sent with a seven-page, individually-notarized letter by certified mail.The project was completed on August 31, 2010.

    All that work just to be thrown in the trash with all the other junk mail. However, it is funny that birthers are gleeful that a document that was designated as a poor forgery was included in Smiths junk mail.

  27. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 8, 2010 at 6:24 am #

    katahdin: I must be getting old. I can remember when Bill Clinton was the Antichrist.

    Jerry Falwell was the antichrist. I saw it in a vision.

  28. avatar
    Jerry Reed September 8, 2010 at 8:46 am #

    Re Lucas Smith: More decades ago than I care to admit, I took an undergraduate course titled jurisprudence. I’ll never forget the prof — a lawyer and a Ph.D — would often say, when pointing out a matter of law that was so obvious no controversy could exist: “You don’t hire a convicted sex offender to hand out towels in the girls locker room.” Having a convicted creator of fraudulent documents verify the authenticity of a document is a perfect analogy.

  29. avatar
    Gordon September 8, 2010 at 10:18 am #

    I sometimes wonder how this Birther thing would have played out if Stanley Ann Dunham were still alive. Maybe not at all.

  30. avatar
    natural born citizen party September 8, 2010 at 10:29 am #

    I sometimes wonder how this Birther thing would have played out if Madelyn Dunham were still alive. Maybe not at all.

  31. avatar
    Majority Will September 8, 2010 at 11:35 am #

    Gordon: I sometimes wonder how this Birther thing would have played out if Stanley Ann Dunham were still alive. Maybe not at all.

    It wouldn’t matter who was still alive. The truth has never been the motive for these deranged conspiracy theorists. Hiding behind the Constitution is a ruse and a pretty vile one at that.

    Birthers are driven by hatred. They would have harassed and attempted to humiliate Madelyn, Stanley Armour and Ann Dunham and especially Obama, Sr. as they do now when they can’t defend themselves.

    Imagine the repulsive smear campaigns against them or the delivery doctor or nurses and their families on Whirled Nut Daily or the Pest and eFail.

    This has never been about Presidential eligibility. That’s a thin, ridiculous smokescreen.

  32. avatar
    Black Lion September 8, 2010 at 12:15 pm #

    The inmates over at the Post and Fail were up in arms that Free Republic would not allow post or threads regarding Lucas Smith…I guess he had been outed as a fraud and lashed out at some of his accusers. Anyway one of the people that had questioned his so called kenyan BC posted the reason why he felt it was a forgery. Here is his post….

    To: Tex-Con-Man; SatinDoll; LucyT
    Against my better judgement, let me chime in here. Long story…
    1. Someone (I won’t name the offender) posted the footprints with the logo of a ‘baby’ website.

    2. As there was only ONE footprint on the Lucas document, and the two footprints the offender posted WERE IDENTICAL IN MIRROR IMAGE I smelled a huge RAT.

    3. Why? Because no child is born with IDENTICAL LEFT AND RIGHT FOOTPRINTS!

    4. When I questioned the poster, the image with the logo combined in the same URL was immediately removed. No explanation.

    5. I then posted the image I had downloaded into my image saving account…to illustrate my point.

    6. AND WAS SUBSEQUENTLY ACCUSED OF CREATING THE OFFENDING IMAGE.

    7. At no time did that image of the two little footprints appear on that ‘baby’ site. The image of the two blue footprints came from the ONE footprint on the Lucas document.

    HERE IT AGAIN:

    just setting the record straight. I am still so disgusted at this behaviour, I have no wish to discuss the matter further.

    143 posted on Tuesday, September 07, 2010 7:28:46 PM by Fred Nerks (clinic!)

    …..

    The site was at “Baby Guide, A Mother’s Guide to New Babies”….The poster’s point was well taken. How could 2 footprints be exactly the same? I guess Lucas could never answer that question. Interesting….You know it is bad when the Freepers do due diligence and debunk your so called evidence….

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2584691/posts?q=1&;page=101

  33. avatar
    sfjeff September 8, 2010 at 12:16 pm #

    Well the lawyers can say whether I am correct or now but I think neither Ann Dunham or Madelyn Dunham would have been considered ‘public’ personalities, so I think that some of the people making the ugliest of claims against them now, would have hesitated if they thought they could be held accountable by being sued for libel.

  34. avatar
    Obsolete September 10, 2010 at 11:59 am #

    Among some of the sicker things the birthers at Free Republic have done are post nudie pictures of a woman they claim is Obama’s mom with nothing but Sven-level evidence.

  35. avatar
    Black Lion September 10, 2010 at 12:08 pm #

    Obsolete: Among some of the sicker things the birthers at Free Republic have done are post nudie pictures of a woman they claim is Obama’s mom with nothing but Sven-level evidence.

    Yet when the banned Lucas Smith and any references to him or his fake Kenyan BC, then they have crossed the line according to the birther crowd….Hilarious…