Navy Screws Up - Sends Reporter Details On Avoiding His FOIA Request

Tyler Durden's picture

Following a Washington reporter's request to the Navy to turn over documents related to the Navy Yard Shooting, a US Navy official mistakenly forwarded an internal email outlining instructions on exactly how to avoid his Freedom of Information request. As RT reports, hours after NBC's Scott Macfarlane's tweets on the matter went viral, the Navy "regretted the incident" and re-iterated its "commitment to transparency."


Via RT,

Scott MacFarlane, a news reporter for NBC 4 in Washington, DC, had filed a FOIA request with the Navy in an attempt to compel authorities to turn over documents related to the Navy Yard shooting in September. MacFarlane was seeking memos written by higher-ups at Naval Sea Systems Command from September, October, and November 2013--messages sent by the same officials in the hours directly after the shooting occurred, and images of building 197 at the Navy Yard, where the gunman killed 12 people and injured three others.


The Navy’s FOIA office confirmed that it had received MacFarlane’s request, but instead of sending him the relevant documents, they inadvertently sent an internal email containing instructions on how to avoid the reporter’s request. MacFarlane tweeted a screenshot of the message – which included the name of Robin Patterson, the Navy’s FOIA public liaison – accompanied by the phrase “EPIC FAILURE.”


“I think the appropriate response is ‘cameras are prohibited from the premises, with the exception of ‘official photos’ of specific events and assemblies, or ceremonies, such as retirements,” the email read, in part. “This request is too broad to tie to the specific event. If you discover that there is a ‘photo library,’ I would recommend negotiating with the requester..."




FOIA workers advised each other to avoid turning over information by telling MacFarlane his request was too broad and would constitute a “fishing expedition,” and that he should “narrow the scope of his request.”


“Again, another ‘fishing expedition,’” the screenshot shows. “[J]ust because they are media doesn’t mean the memos shed light on specific government activities.”


Officials also singled out one of MacFarlane’s requests in particular, noting “this one is specific enough that we may be able to deny it. However, I want to talk with the FBI as they may have ‘all the emails during that time, in their possession.’”



Just hours after MacFarlane’s tweets went viral, the Navy’s Twitter feed published a series of messages addressing the military’s respect for the FOIA process.

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Spanky's picture

Yes indeed, committed to transparancy. So turn over the documents and emails as requested. Now.

Fukushima Sam's picture

Probably the only conspiracy here is government workers trying to avoid work.

dryam's picture

It seems to always be a conspiracy theory until it's not.

Business as usual. When are people going to wake up?

Popo's picture

Why is it called a "FOIA request"? If the law is on the side of the public, shouldn't it be called a "FOIA demand"?

JohnnyBriefcase's picture

I fucking love it when shit like this happens. The aftertweets™ just make it that much more epic!

PT's picture

The twittee reads the post on twitter that was written by the twit.

Just thought that might need clearing up. 

El Oregonian's picture

Just a quick question: Who works for whom, exactly?

Oldwood's picture

We have hired a massive governmental system to specifically protect us from ourselves as "we know not what we do". Its like we have voluntarily committed ourselves to a mental institution because our "loved ones" and other very smart and caring people have told us its for our own protection. Of course they were not particularly forthcoming about the fact that we might be able to check out but we can never leave. It is amazing how they can be caught red handed at these things and then throw out a few tepid apologies and denials and then act like it never happened. As Hillary would say "What does it matter anyway!" She's right. We are fucked and we all know it.

hidingfromhelis's picture

They'll stick with the word request, because they'll also stick with "no" as a response.  

satoshi101's picture

NAVY: QUICK, CALL THE FBI, we got another nosy reporter who wants to see our videos from when our manchurian-candidate blew his fuse.

FBI: No problem, we'll take care

Conspiracy? If ant's can collectively move  40X their body weight in mass, humans call this 'magic'. If an orgnization of men conspire to meet in secret and collude, the PTB all this an impossibillty.

Why do when SUITS meet we call it 'conspiracy', but when ant's organize we think nothing of it? Go figure....

Move along.

Freddie's picture

Another "workplace" false flag.  A SWAT team was enroute and was told to stand down. 

JohnnyBriefcase's picture

SWAT teams are only used for breaking into citizen's homes in the middle of the night 'cuz they heard that they might have .5 grams of cocaine somewhere.

SWAT teams are most definitely not to be used to stop the government's perception management ops.

Xibalba's picture

Not if you're rich or White they don't.  

object_orient's picture

If you want to continue posting frequently, please learn the difference between plural and possessive nouns. Thank you.

Al Gorerhythm's picture

Lax public schooling. There's nothing rigorous about learning or teaching any longer, considering Equitable Outcomes and all. English in America is a dynamic second language, apparently.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

indeed. I don't even need a spell checker most of the time & no grammar checker's ever been accurate enough to be worth using.
It's actually one particular English teacher I can credit for my good spelling. Way, way back in the days of BBS's (which I'm sure is poorly pluralized but I don't give a fuck), I was corrected repeatedly on spelling & grammar.
Since that wasn't 'work' it was just a hobby it just goes to show how much one particular teacher cared. And in trolling form. I am an honorary graduate of spelling-trolling school :-)

TeMpTeK's picture

Lemme guess.... The administrations official position is, this reporter is a traitor and must turn himself in for releasing govt secrets........PFFFFFFT!

Ranger_Will's picture

We regret to inform you that your FOIA request cannot be fufilled due a MOST unfortunate series of events resulting in a complete database failure, fire, and tragic shreading accident.  However, the USN takes your requests very serious and will be happy to comply with any and all future requests.*

Thank you,

Admiral Boom

*Not all records may availble due to the accidents listed above.

o2sd's picture

We regret to further inform you that the records from investigation into the unfortunate database failure, fire and tragic shredding accident, have themselves been lost in an unfortunate explosion. The investigation into the subsequent explosion is ongoing.


Gazooks's picture

simple boating accident works here

Dugald's picture


Further accidental explosions have been planned and given file numbers and distributed to those departments needing such accidents in future


Ranger_Will's picture

A goddamn triple post? Sorry ZH matter how appropriate to the subject, I'll try and lay off the Salior Jerry next time while posting here.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

any network hiccup & zh does this.
I've got a temporary solution since I never  have this problem with any other site.
I prepare my comment, I save a small one once, and when I see it went through I re-open it.
Doesn't matter how many times the 'save' event is sent by accident, on an edit there's only one message, on a new post it would create a new one every time.
Once I got a quadruple post. That's embarassing.

Hobbleknee's picture

Hey, they tweeted a ten-word apology, so everything is okay now.

JackWills's picture

I thought the Navy just threw the request overboard like all the other annoying things.....

JackWills's picture

I hope this reporter drives a manual transmission car and not an automatic that may unexplicably accelerate into a tree thanks to computer controlled throtle and electric steering (drive by wire, die by fire).

Hey he should also make sure he is not close to shore where a stray shell accidentaly launched from a ship can take out his house at 2am

Overfed's picture

Here's the $64000 question: who was in those homes when they blew up? Fuel-air explosions can be very powerful. But consider the odds of two homes in the same place at the same time each having gas leaks that reach perfect stoichemtry before "accidentally" igniting. Pretty similar to the odds of two massive 110-story skyscrapers in the same place on the same day collapsing into their basements due to burning kerosene.

firstdivision's picture

Here's an even better question, did you do any verification of information? Google is start

Overfed's picture

Just as I implied. It was no accident. Hmmm....

Zero Point's picture

Were their passports found in the rubble?

Zero Point's picture

From the comments at that link:

John Dion Longworth

"Was a victim of the Indiana home explosions.

He was a genius and developed wireless electric plasma lights.
Plasma lights use a Radio Frequency power supply that converts Electrical power to Radio Frequency (RF) power.
Energy savings of up to 70%."


Many, many reasons a gifted researcher into those type of technologies might have a nasty accident.

Overfed's picture

I realize that correlation isn't necessarily causation, but that is certainly something to make one go "hmmm...."

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Let's also not forget the bloombox that can cut energy 50% for the same electrical output converting nat-gas directly without combustion.

Combine the two together...

DirkDiggler11's picture

Obumma's NSA henchmen have taught them well ...

Ranger_Will's picture

What is their new motto? "A Global Force of Good?"

More like "A Globalist Force for The Good of a Few Elite Banking Scum."

My Grandfather was a Chief Petty Officer in WWII and saw shit that haunted him until his passing...I can only imagine what he'd say if he was alive today.

Grande Tetons's picture

Your grandfather would likely be proud that he had a grandson that saw through the bullshit.  He might ask what the fuck is twerking...but that is another story. 

My grandfather was in the Air Force and NEVER spoke about a thing regarding the shit he must have seen. 

starfcker's picture

i'm always surprised in organizations as large as the navy, and as full of physically brave men as the navy, that there is less pushback to this kind of nonsense. not one person has the common sense to say 'i'm not going to do that.' i would think there would be thousands

satoshi101's picture

Loose lips sinks ships - 1942

Loose Lips don't get retirement checks - 2001


The frog has been boiled. A long time ago.

StychoKiller's picture

I suggest that you read "Obedience to Authority" by Dr. Stanley Milgram

blabam's picture

Doing what you are told to do is not my definition of "brave". 

starfcker's picture

Blabam, that is exactly my point. brave enough to risk life and limb, but not brave enough to do the right thing?

Iam_Silverman's picture

"not one person has the common sense to say 'i'm not going to do that.' "


Well, that would assume that the release of the internal e-mails was truly an accident.