December 2, 2012
Sometimes FOIA administrations due to the work load try to process FOIA requests as quickly as possible in order to reduce this load, by inconsistencies in the request or it is not specific enough for the FOIA managers and administrations to identify the OPR for the records being requested.
There are cases where someone may have a classified document or documents, which due to the nature of the document, the classification, the compartmentalisation and the sensitivity that an outright denial of the authenticity of the document is forthcoming, or cannot locate any records pertaining to the document to authentic it. Not because it isn’t genuine but the fact of what I have aforementioned. Also of course the document provided could be a fake if it is decided it isn’t consistent with the format, designations, type face, etc., then the official conclusion could be true, but then how can one absolutely know this for sure, well maybe it is down to experience.
Area 51 was denied for decades by the CIA, USAF and numerous other agencies, so protocols must have existed to allow the outright denial of this formerly classified site. SAPS do provide the caveat to allow this along with probably other classified instructions and security documents.
There is also the cannot confirm or deny response, which doesn’t as it stated provide any clear answer to a request. I file a request during the 1990s, I managed to identity the exact NRO (National Reconnaissance Office) Directive by designation it was at the time classified TOP SECRET, and I was provided the “cannot confirm or deny” response. Yet in other cases like the NSA, it sometimes is given for non existence documents, or so they claim. So you may have to rely on other factors to identify the authenticity of documents. It is often a response to an FOIA a “NO RECORD” response is given, it doesn’t mean no records exist but the fact they cannot locate any records within the given parameters provided by the requester, such as the number of hours searched, description of records, the age of the documents, and the fact that the documents still exist.
December 2, 2012
Let not forget also if records or information in any documents were obtain from foreign sources, any information from these documents if it was not open source, could be identified by the originating countries of that information, thus have ramification on the collection methods used, be it communications intelligence, or other methods, if they are made public. The fact admitting to a particular documents existence could compromise how the information was obtained not just for that specific document but for a host of others on unrelated matters.
These foreign sources could then provide counter measures once they know certain specific information, and where that information was collected from, thus cutting off a valuable route to obtain information on many levels. There are also the current climate is in the world and domestic circumstances has well have to be taken into consideration depending on the nature of the information you wish to obtain. So it is not so simple has people make out.