Monday, March 6, 2017

FOIA Rundown

In the post below I'll summarize the contents and status of some of my requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). I'll also share some links I hope you'll find useful.

Joint Security Control

I submitted a rather lengthy and detailed request on Joint Security Control (JSC) records from 1946-47 pertaining to deception operations, among other items. The request was filed Sep. 6, 2016, to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), which quickly issued a negative response Sep. 27. An appeal is currently pending. 

At his blog Anachronism, James Carrion made a series of posts in August and September of 2016 in which he explored the JSC and its implementation of deception operations during the 1946-47 time frame. The era was of course a boom for what became high profile UFO cases.

James called on researchers to join his attempts to further understand details of circumstances surrounding the JSC. I deemed it a worthy request, given the existence of declassified documents establishing that the U.S. intelligence community explored the topic of UFOs as a psychological propaganda and warfare tool. 

Along with JSC records of 1946-47 deception operations, my Sep. 6 FOIA submission also included similar such files of the Plans and Operations Division of the War Department. NARA Archivist Mr. R.E. Cookson wrote in part in his Sep. 27 response:
[Y]our request consists of topics rather than describing specific documents, and therefore is not reasonably specific enough for us to be in a position to easily locate documents responsive to your request. A preliminary search of the finding aids that are available to us reveals that your request could contain information in any one of 4 record groups. 
I appealed the response, citing the existence of documents already establishing the purposes in creating the JSC included the design and implementation of deception operations. That being the case, I requested further consideration be given to how a researcher might otherwise learn about such established operations than request their files. The appeal was submitted in October and I am awaiting a response.

Here's how you can help: Submit FOIA requests on the JSC.

For example, the May, 1947, revised JSC charter could be cited. As James Carrion wrote:
In May of 1947, JSC received a revised charter, one that authorized it to continue its deception mission not just under wartime conditions but also during times of peace. JSC was tasked with preventing important military information from falling into the hands of the enemy, to control classified information through proper security classification, to correlate, maintain and disseminate all of the information furnished to JSC by the War and Navy Department Bureau of Public Relations, and finally the very important mission of cover and deception planning and implementation.
Several additional docs establishing JSC involvement in deception operations may be found in posts by James. I encourage you to cite such documents, and request files on the specific operations referenced therein.

Requests of this nature might best be submitted to the National Archives and Records Administration due to the age of the records. You may file via email at specialaccess_foia@nara.gov and learn more here. For those unfamiliar with the process, a sample FOIA letter is provided at the bottom of the page linked.

Whatever the JSC operations may have involved, I see no good reasons researchers should avert from further study. Even those who suspect the government intentionally covered up an ET presence and/or UFO-related data should seek supporting evidence in files of the JSC, a high level unit specifically tasked with controlling and classifying important information.

I encourage you to submit requests and seek answers. Let us know how it goes!

Jeffrey Alan Lash

As many readers are aware, I've submitted a number of information requests to various agencies about the Jeffrey Alan Lash case. The latest correspondence comes from an exchange with the CIA. On Feb. 21, Acting Information and Privacy Coordinator Allison Fong wrote in part:
After conducting a search reasonably calculated to uncover all relevant documents, we did not locate any responsive records that would reveal an openly acknowledged CIA affiliation with the subject.
To the extent that your request also seeks records that would reveal a classified association between the CIA and the subject, if any exist, we can neither confirm nor deny having such records... If a classified association between the subject and this organization were to exist, records revealing such a relationship would be properly classified and require continued safeguards against unauthorized disclosure. You may consider this finding a denial of this portion of your request... 
I think that's a reasonable ruling, all things considered. Much more so than the response to the original FOIA request in which CIA Information and Privacy Coordinator Michael Lavergne indicated it could be difficult for him to identify files on who I was asking about. 

Of all the agencies, I'm probably most disappointed in the LAPD lack of transparency in its investigation of the case. I find it particularly concerning when we can't count on police departments to help clarify actuality. The Loveland (Colorado) Police Department, for example, was very helpful in 2014 when I requested files on Stan Romanek's claims of being assaulted. In relatively short order I was provided records indicating detectives strongly suspected Romanek staged the scene of the alleged assault. 

The last line out at this point on Lash is to the FBI. The Bureau is yet to rule on my appeal of its initial response of having no files on Jeffrey Alan Lash.

Gulf Breeze Six

I've so far filed a total of six FOIA requests on the Gulf Breeze Six, four in February and two more in March. Two were sent to the NSA and Army Office of the Inspector General. I requested a Mandatory Declassification Review of the file referenced by Philip Coppens. The late writer and researcher explained how 1400 of the file's 1600 pages were originally withheld, so I'm hoping more of it will now be declassified and released. 

Requests were also submitted to the CIA and FBI in the hopes relevant records will be declassified. Both agencies were reported by newspapers to have been involved in the detention and interrogation of the six. I invited consideration the group became public figures, as such status may in some cases result in making more information available. All of the requests included supporting materials.

The FBI is the only agency to respond as of yet. It declined to release any records, suggesting more evidence of public notoriety was required. I replied, offering copies of web pages that establish Vance Davis (of the GB6) wrote a book about the ordeal, spoke publicly at conferences, conducted written and live interviews, and that the saga was widely covered by the media, among other citations provided. I'm awaiting a ruling on the appeal.

The final two FOIA requests were inspired by a discussion at Above Top Secret and submitted to the NSA and Army IG. I requested copies of the original mysterious message and accompanying photos sent to the Army and media outlets as reported in a story published in the Aug. 16, 1990, edition of the Gulf Breeze Sentinel and titled, Did mysterious note influence release of Gulf Breeze Six?

As Gordon Miller explained in a 1994 published email:
From the Gulf Breeze SENTINEL, August 16, 1990.
Brief article entitle [sic] "Did mysterious note influence release of Gulf Breeze Six?"
In full:
An interesting piece of the puzzle of the six army deserters who
showed up in Gulf Breeze, were arrested by the FBI, were taken to Fort Benning and Fort Knox, and then were released with General Discharges, has here-to-for not been shared with the general public.
That puzzle piece came in the form of of an unsigned typewritten
note presumbably [sic] sent to the US Army and all the major TV networks and wire services demanding the release of "The Gulf Breeze Six."
The note was accompanied by two photographs [Ed. note: of circular objects in the air that some people might refer to as "UFOs", which I cannot repreoduce. (sic)] and threatened the release of "500+ photos and plans you want back... unless they are released.."
The note ended "Answer code AUGSBB3CM"
Mark Curtis at WEAR Channel 3 first shared this intriguing note with
The Sentinel two days before the announcement that the Gulf Breeze Six were discharged from the Army and released.
The photos shown here [Ed. note: Well...*there* anyway.] are courtesy of Les Sinclair at WALA TV 10 and appear to be the same ones sent to WEAR.
The article concludes with an apparent photocopy of the note in question which reads, in its entirety:
ABC, NBC, CBS, AP, UPI
U.S. Army:
Free the Gulf Breeze Six.
We have the missing plans, the box of 500+ photos and the plans you want back.
Here is proof with close-ups cut out.
Next we send the closeups and then everything unless they are released.
Answer code AUGSBB3CM
You may submit FOIA requests online to the NSA. Requests to the Army IG may be submitted via email, and you can learn more at the website

Let us know how your FOIA efforts go, if you bear any results, and related thoughts. Happy hunting!  

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