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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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Wed, 01/08/2014 - 23:54 | 4314201 Spanky
Spanky's picture

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

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 00:00 | 4314225 Fukushima Sam
Fukushima Sam's picture

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

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 00:12 | 4314259 Xibalba
Thu, 01/09/2014 - 00:44 | 4314339 dryam
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?

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 01:09 | 4314404 Popo
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"?

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 01:24 | 4314439 JohnnyBriefcase
JohnnyBriefcase's picture

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

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 01:48 | 4314478 PT
PT's picture

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

Just thought that might need clearing up. 

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 08:18 | 4314745 El Oregonian
El Oregonian's picture

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

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 09:29 | 4314894 Oldwood
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.

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 01:32 | 4314453 hidingfromhelis
hidingfromhelis's picture

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

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 08:28 | 4314758 El Oregonian
El Oregonian's picture

A classic "Uffda".

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 00:19 | 4314279 satoshi101
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.

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 00:47 | 4314353 Freddie
Freddie's picture

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

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 01:39 | 4314451 JohnnyBriefcase
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.

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 02:32 | 4314537 Xibalba
Xibalba's picture

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

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 00:48 | 4314354 object_orient
object_orient's picture

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

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 08:39 | 4314769 Al Gorerhythm
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.

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 18:36 | 4317226 MeelionDollerBogus
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 :-)

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 11:03 | 4315202 TeMpTeK
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!

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 00:10 | 4314243 Ranger_Will
Ranger_Will's picture


Thu, 01/09/2014 - 00:11 | 4314246 Ranger_Will
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.

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 01:57 | 4314495 o2sd
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.


Thu, 01/09/2014 - 05:50 | 4314672 Gazooks
Gazooks's picture

simple boating accident works here

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 07:00 | 4314701 Dugald
Dugald's picture


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


Thu, 01/09/2014 - 01:44 | 4314248 Ranger_Will
Ranger_Will's picture

A goddamn triple post? Sorry ZH folks...no matter how appropriate to the subject, I'll try and lay off the Salior Jerry next time while posting here.

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 18:32 | 4317215 MeelionDollerBogus
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.

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 06:32 | 4314686 Hobbleknee
Hobbleknee's picture

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

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 23:54 | 4314202 JackWills
JackWills's picture

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

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 23:59 | 4314212 JackWills
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

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 00:07 | 4314242 Zero Point
Zero Point's picture

Stray shell?

Surely you mean "gas explosion".



Thu, 01/09/2014 - 00:30 | 4314311 Overfed
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.

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 00:38 | 4314330 firstdivision
firstdivision's picture

Here's an even better question, did you do any verification of information? Google is start http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/12/three-charged-with-murder-...

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 00:45 | 4314348 Overfed
Overfed's picture

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

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 01:05 | 4314396 Zero Point
Zero Point's picture

Were their passports found in the rubble?

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 01:03 | 4314386 Zero Point
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.

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 01:14 | 4314417 Overfed
Overfed's picture

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

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 18:25 | 4317185 MeelionDollerBogus
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...

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 18:24 | 4317183 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture


you mean 3 (3rd not 110 stories but...).

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 23:55 | 4314204 DirkDiggler11
DirkDiggler11's picture

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

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 23:57 | 4314215 The Heart
The Heart's picture

Does "rigging the market" count as a Screw...up!



Thu, 01/09/2014 - 00:02 | 4314220 Ranger_Will
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.

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 00:10 | 4314244 Grande Tetons
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. 

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 00:18 | 4314274 starfcker
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

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 02:52 | 4314560 satoshi101
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.

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 05:53 | 4314674 Gazooks
Gazooks's picture

shit floats - 2014

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 03:57 | 4314600 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

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

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 18:08 | 4317134 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

This is a good one too: Chain of Obedience

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 07:45 | 4314736 blabam
blabam's picture

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

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 07:49 | 4314738 starfcker
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?

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 11:29 | 4315290 Iam_Silverman
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.

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