December 2, 2012
North American Aerospace Defense Command, has Canada, United States and Alaska under it's Aero of Responsibility (AOR). As such it is described as a bi-national organisation. It's status is a curious one, since neither the US Freedom of Information Act not the Canadian Access to Information Act is applicable to this organisation, so accessing NORAD records from a legal point of view is very difficult.
A far as I am aware nothing for the last 18-20 years has been released regarding its activities nor any documentation describing their activities, including Tracks of Interest and Unknown Tracks, let alone the methods employed to identify such tracks.
NORAD say's they do follow the spirit of both the ATIA and the FOIA, yet each is a different law with different parameters thus it is an uneasy balance favouring one country over the other. Apparently according to NORAD some systems are under Canadian authority and thus the information on those systems are only accessible to Canadian citizens (potential) via the ATIA and not the US FOIA. So this dilemma has seemly place a Canadian citizen in a better position to access (potentially) all records in all systems in NORAD than an US/Alaskan citizen. So much for the bi-national organisation, a seemly unbalance affair. Also are not all systems under ultimately NORAD operational jurisdiction?
It begs the question if the ATIA and FOIA are not applicable to NORAD why invoke them in the first place? Maybe it is another tactic to restrict access to NORAD records by using both acts to charge outlandish fees and other legal methods which is solely in the interests of NORAD.
If these matters are not clarified I intent to contact both Senators in the state of Colorado to see if anything can be done on the political level to level out this bias state of affairs. Further I will also contact local news and national news organisations to see if they can provide any further insight into the matter of access NORAD records.
December 2, 2012
I have attempted many times over the last several months to get answers to specific questions from NORAD public affairs. Many of the officers and other answering the phone have no idea about how to access their records or to whom one has to file a request to. I had to file a request to USNORTHCOM to obtain two joint instructions which gives some details on how to access their records, both are mandatory. Yet many of those, if not all are not aware of these instructions. Further it does not provide a specific reference as to whom to file requests to.
The records I request are on what USNORTHCOM and NORAD have described as a "Canadian system" yet the component of NJ3 Operations Directorate is under the purview of that directorate and it is a NORAD entity according to a mission directive. There are seemly three ways to access information from NORAD, FOIA (USNORTHCOM (and only if it is on a USG system or duel systems), ATIA (only if your a Canadian citizen and is under the control of the Canadian authorities) and what the instructions have stated are requests "out side" FOIA channels. It begs the question why are incidents over Alaska and the United States on a foreign system? Also the ATIA only is applicable to those institutes under the control of a Canadian authority. NORAD is bi national and neither the FOIA nor ATIA is applicable. I have been told a few times to file a ATIA request yet it may only yield records of incidents over Canada and may not apply to US or Alaskan regions since that information is from a foreign power. It is no wonder virtual nothing has come out of NORAD is near 20 years and very little on Unknown Tracks and other tracks detected by their systems. So the game continues.