Main Menu

Strunk revisits the passport issue in a motion

Birther Report reports Chris Strunk’s latest 231 page motion to reargue Strunk et al v. United States Department of State et al (other named plaintiffs are the CIA, Eric Holder, the New York State Board of Elections, Barack Hussein Obama, II, US Copyright Office). The case was filed June 10, and dismissed June 16, 2014.

I left the following comment at Birther Report (assuming that they are correct in that somewhere in that massive filing is something about Ann Dunham’s passport records):

I find myself in the unusual position of having some sympathy with Chris Strunk on the passport question. I filed my own FOIA around the same time that Stunk filed his and was waiting for my results while his earlier lawsuit was ongoing. It appears that my response got delayed due to the lawsuit, and when I got a response, it was the same that Strunk got. I appealed and got a little more, but I still believe that there is a passport issuance card on microfilm that to date hasn’t been released. We know for a fact that Dunham had a passport that the State Department hasn’t released (either because they don’t have it or because they just haven’t released it).

GAO documents make it clear that routine passport applications were destroyed in the 1980’s to save storage space; however, the government’s argument for allowing the destruction was that a permanent record of the passports issued was retained on microfilm. There is a Dunham passport that SHOULD be on microfilm, but hasn’t been released.

I personally think that the birthers have so pissed off the State Department that any request in this area gets dumped into a black hole. They certainly gave me the runaround for over a year on a request that usually takes a couple of months at the most.

For the record, I have no reason to think that there is anything in this unreleased passport file (including the first passport issued to Ann Dunham) that helps the birthers. Indeed, I think it hurts the "born in Kenya" theory by showing that Dunham had no US Passport prior to her trip to Indonesia.

My first FOIA for Dunham’s passport records was in 2009, and I didn’t get a response until 2011. My follow-up request submitted in January of 2012 is still awaiting a response.

Print Friendly

, ,

16 Responses to Strunk revisits the passport issue in a motion

  1. avatar
    Ben P. July 2, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

    Is there some kind of statutory time limit on how long they *can* keep you waiting? I’ve always assumed Orly’s “fire the FOIA request with one hand and pull the trigger on the lawsuit 30 seconds later” was a bit much, but I can’t believe that a 2 1/2 year wait is within the bounds of the law’s letter and/or clear intent.

  2. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 2, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

    There is a statutory time limit for when they have to respond saying that they will do the search or not, but I don’t know that there is any time limit on a response. If you think it’s unreasonable, then you can sue.

    My experience was extremely frustrating. They said it went to “legal” but couldn’t say why, nor allow me to talk to anyone in “legal.” They it went here, and then it went back to legal. And after all that time, what they sent me was not responsive. I had to go through an appeal process that too many months itself. I finally got more, but I always felt that the response was weasel-worded and incomplete. And the appeals officer I talked to about the weasel-worded response seemed to tell me that I needed to resubmit the request. That’s what in did in 2012. I was so bummed out by the whole mess the first time around that I haven’t followed up on the latter.

    Ben P.: Is there some kind of statutory time limit on how long they *can* keep you waiting?

  3. avatar
    Slartibartfast July 2, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

    Assuming that President Obama was on that first passport (which I believe to be the most likely scenario), can they release it?

  4. avatar
    Joey July 2, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

    The folks over at Birther Report didn’t take too kindly to Doc C’s post!

  5. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 2, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

    I think they would be required to disclose that the document existed, and then say that it was being withheld. That’s what they usually say. They could excerpt or redact so that it didn’t mention the President. Curiously though, the infamous “Soebarkah” document is a passport application mentioning Barack Obama.

    Slartibartfast: Assuming that President Obama was on that first passport (which I believe to be the most likely scenario), can they release it?

  6. avatar
    Crustacean July 2, 2014 at 8:31 pm #

    Joey:
    The folks over at Birther Report didn’t take too kindly to Doc C’s post!

    Yeah, they really put him in his place. How shall poor Doc ever recover from the wounds inflicted by the ever-so-erudite charlesmountain, and the rapier wit of Gerbils R Us?

    I just typed up some comments there that are so full of expletives (hey, they deserve it!), that, if BR were to actually post them, I’d be embarrassed.

  7. avatar
    Dave July 2, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

    Every time Dr. C comments over there, he collects replies that have nothing to do with what he said. That the replies are negative is no surprise, but it’s striking how it doesn’t even occur to them that they could say something responsive.

    In fact, the majority of comments over there have nothing to do with the article, and in fact nothing to do with Obama’s eligibility. I am aware that I am no paragon of on-topicness myself, but BR doesn’t seem to care what people discuss over there as long as it’s some sort of wingnuttery.

    Joey:
    The folks over at Birther Report didn’t take too kindly to Doc C’s post!

  8. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 2, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

    I declare, some of those folks seem like the kind of people would defecate on the sidewalk with some regularity for fun.

    Joey: The folks over at Birther Report didn’t take too kindly to Doc C’s post!

  9. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 2, 2014 at 8:41 pm #

    The culture over there seems to be that discussions need not be relevant to the articles, which makes sense because their articles so often don’t say much. Plus,they don’t have an open threat thread.

    The really nasty and stupid responses I get are bizarre, and I decided that they aren’t worth answering. Take this one:

    “Your total existence is still based on complete falsehoods. ”

    Anybody with any sense knows that such a statement is facially false. They don’t need me to tell them that.

    Dave: In fact, the majority of comments over there have nothing to do with the article, and in fact nothing to do with Obama’s eligibility.

  10. avatar
    Joey July 2, 2014 at 9:32 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I declare, some of those folks seem like the kind of people would defecate on the sidewalk with some regularity for fun.

    As I’ve said before, I see myself as a “cyber-anthropolist/psychologist every time I venture over there. The denizens of Birther Report warrant dissertation level research.

  11. avatar
    CarlOrcas July 3, 2014 at 12:25 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I declare, some of those folks seem like the kind of people would defecate on the sidewalk with some regularity for fun.

    Their collective obsession with body parts and bodily functions is unlike anything I have ever seen anywhere…..including the playground in kindergarten.

  12. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG July 3, 2014 at 2:32 am #

    You gotta feel bad for the judges. At some point they should be allowed to respond to birther cases by simply glowering at the plaintiff until they leave the courtroom.

  13. avatar
    Ellen July 3, 2014 at 7:46 am #

    How about writing a nice letter to the Secretary of State, Kerry, asking him to put a little pressure on the FOI Act specialists?

    To be sure, he is very busy, but he has people on his staff who respond to letters, especially nice ones.

    I agree with you that the chance of Obama’s mother having a passport in 1961 is so absurdly low as to be laughable, but most of the birther theory is based on the assumption that she had one (other than the “two-parent” side of birtherdom, of course). So, solid proof that Obama’s mother did not have a passport until she went to Indonesia would be a step towards eliminating that part of the myth.

  14. avatar
    Bonsall Obot July 3, 2014 at 7:56 am #

    Ellen:

    So, solid proof that Obama’s mother did not have a passport until she went to Indonesia would be a step towards eliminating that part of the myth proving that The Conspiracy is just that much more vast.

    Birfed that for ya.

  15. avatar
    Rickey July 3, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    Ellen:

    I agree with you that the chance of Obama’s mother having a passport in 1961 is so absurdly low as to be laughable,

    Yes, indeed. When you consider that for most of 1961 she was 18 years old and had lived almost all of her life with her parents, and there is no evidence that her parents ever were outside of the United States after World War II (except possibly to Canada), it seems entirely implausible that she had any need for a passport prior to moving to Indonesia.

    The same birthers who claims that Obama couldn’t have afforded to go to Columbia nevertheless believe that his teenage mother could have afforded to pay to fly halfway around the world and back again in 1961.

  16. avatar
    Dave B. July 3, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

    Well, there is a lot to be said for regularity.

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I declare, some of those folks seem like the kind of people would defecate on the sidewalk with some regularity for fun.