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Document Friday: Requester’s Own FOIA Request Letter Redacted

September 14, 2012

Here on “Unredacted” we often write about over-classification, and give pretty heinous examples of over-classification. Here is another one that might take top prize:

On December 13, 2010, I sent a request to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) regarding two specific incidents of arrests of Mexican drug cartel members. The DIA located a National Security Agency (NSA) document and forwarded it to the NSA to review. The NSA responded to me, telling me that they are withholding the document in full (not surprising). However, and here is the kicker, in their correspondence with me, they provided me a copy of my own original FOIA request to the DIA…a redacted copy.

Yes folks, a copy of the very exact FOIA request I sent to the DIA was sent back to my by the NSA with my own name, and portions of my request language blacked out. Have a look for yourself:

Image of my FOIA request to the Defense Intelligence Agency…redacted

See full PDF here.

And here is the unredacted version of my request:

Unredacted copy of my original FOIA request to the Defense Intelligence Agency

See full PDF here.

  1. Kristin G. Sekerci permalink
    September 14, 2012 12:30 pm

    Has a redaction of an actual FOIA request ever happened before? And why would they redact your name? So bizarre!

    • September 15, 2012 4:47 am

      That happens all the time, sometimes for good reasons, often not. Good reason #1: You are requesting someone else’s request letter and their address, phone number, etc. are redacted for privacy reasons. Good reason #2: The requester included information in the request letter that is itself properly exempt. E.g., the letter includes a classified file number, or a device number protected by (b)(4).


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