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Department of State FOIA delay

I have very little sympathy for what birthers do, and for what they are trying to prove. Nevertheless, there is one thing that I share with them, and that is frustration over government foot-dragging when it comes to FOIA and Obama.

In January of 2012, I submitted a very narrow FOIA request to the US Department of State for specific information from the microfilm passport issuance cards that are kept, according to published sources, by the Department. The request was for the records of a known deceased person, and there has never been the slightest objection to the request by the government. They just aren’t responding. Having waited 18 months for a reply, I decided to ask for status. I did this by email to a special status email address at the Department. I sent the question on July 4 and today, I got this response:

Thank you for inquiring on your assigned case number [redacted1].  I apologize for our delayed response.  The Statutory Compliance and Research Division initiated a search with the Central Foreign Policy Records (the principal records system of the Department of State) and the Office of Passport Services (PPT).  The both searches are pending.  I have asked for an estimated completion date (ECD) and the information may take a day or two (2) for a response.  You may contact our FOIA Hotline by telephone or e-mail us with-in 48hrs or I will send you an e-mail for our response.

Anybody want to bet me that the response won’t be either (a) not in a day or two, or (b) we cannot tell you when to expect a response, or  both?

1I redacted the FOIA case number just to prevent anyone else from using it to impersonate me while the request is ongoing. I’ll show it with the response if I’m still alive and blogging by then.

Teddy Roosevelt on dual nationality


On any list of America’s greatest Presidents one will invariably find Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

In 1915 during the First World War a man from New Orleans wrote the US Department of State with a question: He had been born in the United States in 1880 to a father of French nationality and had lived his entire life in the United States. Now he contemplated a trip to France on business, but was concerned that should he go there, he might be conscripted into the French Army. The Department of State considered the facts of his case, cited the 14th Amendment and the French Civil Code, and replied:

It thus appears that you were born with a dual nationality, and the Department cannot therefore give you any assurance that you would not be held liable for the performance of military service in France should you voluntarily place yourself within French jurisdiction.

This reply did not sit well with former President Theodore Roosevelt. It disturbed him to the extent he devoted an entire chapter of his book, Fear God and Take Your Own Part, to the State Department’s position in this case. Roosevelt concluded:

The United States cannot with self-respect permit its organic and fundamental law to be overridden by the laws of a foreign country. It cannot acknowledge any such theory as this of "a dual nationality"-which, incidentally, is a self-evident absurdity. (p 291)

Of special interest to us are the examples of US Presidents who would be born “dual citizens” under the conflicting laws of the United States and other countries. Despite claims from Leo Donofrio, parroted by birthers ever since, that President Chester A. Arthur’s dual-citizen birth was a great secret only discovered in 2008, President Roosevelt certainly knew about it, listing Arthur among the examples of prominent Americans would could in theory be conscripted into foreign armies:

Let me point out a few of the possible applications of the doctrines thus laid down by the Department of State. If Colonel Goethals went to Holland he would be liable to be shipped out for military service in Sumatra. If Admirals Osterhaus and Schroeder had gone to Germany they could have been forced to served under Admiral von Tirpitz in the Germany navy. If General Barry should visit England he could be seized and sent to the trenches in France. If my neighbor Messrs. Peter Dunne and Mark Sullivan, and my friends Judge O’Brien and James Conolly and Charles Conolly went to England they could be impressed into the British army for service in Flanders or Ireland. If the sons of Jacob Riis went to Denmark they could be retined in the Danish forces. If the son of the great war correspondent McCahan whose mother was a Russian lady, went to Russia, he could be sent to serve in the Carpatians. President Andrew Jackson on this theory could have been impressed for military service in the English army against which he fought at New Orleans if he had ever happened to visit England; and President Arthur would have been in the same plight.

Obama administration strikes out at Trump certificate?

The United States Department of State will tighten requirements for valid birth certificates used as primary proof of US citizenship for passport purposes effect April 1, 2011. [No, this is not an April Fool joke]

Beginning April 1, 2011, the U.S. Department of State will require the full names of the applicant’s parent(s) to be listed on all certified birth certificates to be considered as primary evidence of U.S. citizenship for all passport applicants, regardless of age.  Certified birth certificates missing this information will not be acceptable as evidence of citizenship.  This will not affect applications already in-process that have been submitted or accepted before the effective date.

Here is an example of a birth certificate that would NOT meet this requirement:

Donald Trump hospital certificate (Newsmax)

Is this new requirement a direct attack at the birth certificate released by Donald Trump?

Apparently not; while I don’t know exactly when the Department of State released its new requirement, I know that it was reported on March 24, 4 days before Trump posted his hospital souvenir. Continue Reading →

The Great Mother of All Natural Born Citizen Quotation Pages

Partial lists don’t carry the full impact of citations scattered here and there. This project is to collect everything accessible and to the point into one place If it takes much context or argument, a brief reference and a link is included. I promise you that the quotations will mean the same thing when you read them here than they mean if you read the larger context, and the larger context will be linked to the text. No tricks, no deception.

For additional citations, see The “Natural Born Citizenship” Clause (Updated) to whom this article is indebted for some of these citations. And for EVEN MORE citations see SCOTUS & “Natural Born Citizen” – A Compendium, Books on Google that define “Natural Born Citizen” and History of US citizenship laws.

Continue Reading →