Freedom of Information Act Request Results in Expected Army Response from Fort Campbell
Two weeks after I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to Army officials at Fort Campbell, Ky., I received a response today that shows officials at the home of the vaunted 101st Airborne Division lived up to my negative expectations.
Shown above, the response letter from Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Officer Valerie M. Florez contained the following paragraph:
The US Army does not have jurisdiction and does not control prosecutions in Hopkinsville or Christian County, Kentucky Courts where [name of Major Martin’s accuser redacted] is facing charges. Perhaps Hopkinsville or Christian County courts may be able to assist you in contacting the correct party or [name of Major Martin’s accuser redacted]‘s attorneys. Any documents or correspondence from or between the military attorneys mentioned are part of an ongoing case involving Major Martin (US vs Martin). Any of this correspondence is exempt from release and would be withheld under Freedom of Information Act Exemption Five, attorney-work product and/or attorney-client privilege.
The letter from Ms. Florez — and particularly the paragraph above — runs 180 degrees counter to what I included in my Oct. 12 FOIA request, the “meat” of which appears below:
To Whom It May Concern:
In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (5 USC, and Public Law 106–554), I would like to request copies of the following documents from the Staff Judge Advocate at Fort Campbell, Ky:
Any and all print and/or electronic communications — including, but not limited to handwritten and computer-generated notes, letters, email messages and text messages — between any individual(s) assigned to the Staff Judge Advocate staff at Fort Campbell, Kentucky — including but not limited to Major Jacob D. Bashore, Captain James P. Garrett, Major Jenny S. Whyte-Schlack — and any civilian attorney(s) and/or their associates representing accused bigamist [name of Major Martin’s accuser redacted] in legal matters in Christian County, Ky.
Please do not attempt to avoid fulfillment of this request by contending that the items requested are not releasable because they concern ongoing legal matters and/or investigations. I know the U.S. Army has no standing or authority to intervene in Christian County’s civilian prosecution of Ms. [name of Major Martin’s accuser redacted].
Though I made no mention of Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin in my FOIA request, Ms. Florez avoided fulfillment of my request — just as I predicted she might in the third paragraph of my letter — by falsely claiming communications the Army attorneys had with a third party about a case completely unrelated to the prosecution of Major Martin is “exempt from release and would be withheld under Freedom of Information Act Exemption Five, attorney-work product and/or attorney-client privilege.”
In reality, Ms. Florez and her bosses realize that fulfillment of my request will expose the Army lawyers named in the same as having tampered with a civilian legal matter.
Stay tuned for updates on this case and other military justice cases I’m following. Likewise, thanks in advance for reading and sharing the articles above and those to follow. You can show your support and help keep these articles coming by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same. To learn how to order signed copies, click here.
FYI: Two envelopes, containing letters in which I call for Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley to straighten out this FOIA mess, are in the U.S. Postal Service system now.