Late last month, I found myself pleading with a U.S. Army FOIA specialist. How can you have no records for my request? My FOIA request for records of debarred contractor was three months old at this point, and my call to the FOIA Public Liaison (if that's really what he was) had succeeded in prompting some movement by the Army. But this wasn't what I was expecting.
On Aug. 25, I got a letter pronouncing the final word on my May 20 request. No records exist. How could that be possible, I wondered.
Two days later, before I had a chance to start hyperventilating again, I got an email from another branch of the U.S. Army Legal Services Agency. This time, it came with a 50-page PDF, with most names redacted, of course, but featuring enough information to piece together why this individual ended up on the federal government's list of individuals and companies barred from federal contracts.
It's hard to know whether this other office was working on my request the whole time, or whether they got going once I started going up the chain in the Army FOIA bureaucracy in July. Nevertheless, there's a story here, beyond my eventual FOIA success, and you can read it in my Full Disclosure column on Sunday. You'll be able to read the records here, too.