CAUS

CAUS Commentary

CAUS v. Department of Defense: "This is a joke, right?"

By Peter A. Gersten

"Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate substantial doubt regarding the
reasonableness of the search." --Judge McNamee in his Memorandum
of Opinion and Order dated March 30, 2000, granting the government's
Motion for Summary Judgment and dismissing the CAUS lawsuit.

In support of its request to dismiss the CAUS lawsuit, the Department of Defense (DoD) submitted affidavits from key personnel within two of its components, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (OJCS), the two departments most likely to have information about the triangular aerial objects. According to the affidavits, the DARPA search was by e-mail sent to its 200 employees while the OJCS search was computerized using keywords and unique identifiers. Neither search produced any responsive records. Based upon these affidavits, which were accorded "good faith" since I could not show "substantial doubt", Judge McNamee concluded that the DoD had conducted a reasonable search (all that is required under the law) and dismissed the CAUS lawsuit.

Since none of the responses from DARPA employees or the results of the OJCS's computerized search contained any relevant information about the triangular aerial craft, the DoD had provided none. Despite the judge's ruling, I still believed that the DoD had not conducted a reasonable search and that the results of those two searches might confirm my suspicions. So on April 26, 2000 I submitted a new Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the DoD for all responses, whether relevant to the original lawsuit or not. On September 22, 2000 I received the DARPA responses. My cynicism was justified. Out of the 200 DARPA employees, only 9 (less than 5%) responded, and 6 of those 9 did not take the request seriously.

THE DARPA E-MAIL:

On September 21, 1998 at 5:25 PM, Tricia Rohrkemper, FOIA Officer OGC/DARPA, sent the following e-mail to DARPA employees (DARPA-DIST):

ALL,

I HAVE A Freedom of Information Act Appeal in which Mr. A. H. Passarella, Director, Directorate for Freedom of Information and Security Review, DOD, has directed that we conduct a search in our Agency for any of the following documents/information:

(Quote from the requestor) 'I swear this craft just appeared over my head. I can say for certain I saw lights at each one of the three corners of the craft and at least one on each of the sides. I did see what appeared to be either a large light or a window directly in the center of the triangle. The eerie part was the silence for a craft hovering so close. It disappeared just as suddenly as it appeared and was gone again without any visible movement. It was pretty creepy.'

Any Documents that respond to the Description of the craft:

'delta, boomerang, triangular or v-shaped; ranging in size from a house to a football field; moving very slowly or apparently floating; little or no sound; and with many lights including, on occasion, either a red trailing light or a light centered underneath the craft.'

If you know of any program in DARPA (past, present) which fits this description, please notify me immediately: I have a Xerox copy of the photos and sketches of the craft if you need to see them.

The DARPA suspense for response is October 9, 1998. Thanks.

THE DARPA RESPONSES:

On Monday, September 21, 1998 at 8:37 PM "ssaydjari" replies to Tricia Rohrkemper "trohrkemper":

"This is a joke, right?"

On Tuesday, September 22, 1998 at 7:23 AM Riva Meade "meade" replies to Tricia Rohrkemper "trohrkemper":

"DSO has no information on this type of craft."

On Tuesday, September 22, 1998 at 7:30 AM "mmarakowits" replies to Tricia Rohrkemper "trohrkemper":

"Do you think it may be a 'UFO'?"

On Tuesday, September 22, 1998 at 8:00 AM Jim Fargo "jfargo" replies to Tricia Rohrkemper "trohrkemper":

"Are you sure this craft didn't appear 'in' his head and not above it."

On Tuesday, September 22, 1998 at 8:10 AM "dthompson" replies to Tricia Rohrkemper "trohrkemper":

"How DID you send this with a straight face?

On Tuesday, September 22, 1998 at 8:28 AM "jking" replies to Tricia Rohrkemper "trohrkemper":

"yea, sure that's what we use to carpool into work..."

On Tuesday, September 22, 1998 at 4:12 PM Kevin L. Mills "kmills" replies to Tricia Rohrkemper "trohrkemper":

"While I did not receive an electronic copy of the subject request (for some unexplained reason since I am typically a DARPA-DIST email recipient), Ron Larsen shared a paper copy with me. In order to address this request, I would like to get the '...Xerox copy of the photos and sketches of the craft...' mentioned in your note. If I am not available, then please see that my assistant, Nancy Evans gets the Xerox copy."

On Wednesday, September 23, 1998 at 9:35 AM Tricia Rohrkemper "trohrkemper" responds to Kevin L. Mills "kmills":

"Now you are really scaring me! This is not the response I wanted. Are you serious? If you are, Nancy can pick up a copy in my office Rm. 913. If we have such a craft I want a ride on it!"

On Wednesday, September 23, 1998 at 8:50 AM Lee Buchanan "lbuchanan" replies to Tricia Rohrkemper "trohrkemper":

"Where else could you get paid to have so much fun?"

On Tuesday, September 29, 1998 at 9:47 AM Tricia Rohrkemper "trohrkemper" sends Kevin L. Mills "kmills" the following e-mail:

"Please provide a response ASAP. I am required to respond to OSD/FOIA as quickly as possible. Appeal processes are mandated by law.

On Tuesday, September 29, 1998 at 9:47 AM Kevin L. Mills "kmills" sends Tricia Rohrkemper the following e-mail:

"I have reviewed the FOIA request and can safely say I know nothing about the craft discussed in the request.

On Tuesday, September 29, 1998 at 11:00 AM Fred Koethe "fkoether(contr-asbd)" replies to Tricia Rohrkemper "trohrkemper":

"I know of no ARPA/DARPA involvement, past or present, in the subject expressed in the appeal."

Here is a summary of the DARPA responses and their times (The Rohrkemper request was sent on Monday at 5:25 PM, which would appear to be after business hours):

1. Monday at 8:37 PM - "This is a joke, right?"

2. Tuesday at 7:23 AM - "DSO has no information on this type of craft.'

3. Tuesday at 7:30 AM - "Do you think it may be a 'UFO'?"

4. Tuesday at 8:00 AM - "Are you sure this craft didn't appear 'in' his head and not above it."

5. Tuesday at 8:10 AM - "How DID you send this with a straight face?

6. Tuesday at 8:28 PM - "yea, sure that's what we use to carpool into work..."

7. Wednesday at 8:50 AM - "Where else could you get paid to have so much fun?"

8. Tuesday (week later) at 9:47 AM - "I have reviewed the FOIA request and can safely say I know nothing about the craft discussed in the request.

9. Tuesday (week later) at 11:00 AM - "I know of no ARPA/DARPA involvement, past or present, in the subject expressed in the appeal."

It would also appear that Trisha Rohrkemper's response when Kevin L. Mills asked to see the photos and sketches is indicative of the attitude within DARPA:

"Now you are really scaring me! This is not the response I wanted. Are you serious? If you are, Nancy can pick up a copy in my office Rm. 913. If we have such a craft I want a ride on it!"

Further, the relatively quick response from the DARPA employees who did not take the request seriously would also indicate a failure to conduct any type of search, let alone a reasonable one.

Richard L. Dunn, General Counsel, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, stated in his declaration dated July 12, 1999 and submitted in support of the DoD's Motion for Summary Judgment:

"DARPA employees have been trained on their obligation to search

for agency records pursuant to a FOIA request. All incoming program

managers are individually briefed on their obligations to cooperate with the

FOIA Officer in searching for requested agency records."

Obviously something is not right here. Either Mr. Dunn misled the Court or Mr. Dunn was misled by Ms. Rohrkemper, or both. But the bottom line is that it really doesn't matter who misled whom. It can now be reasonably inferred that the 6 DARPA employees who did respond, but who regarded the CAUS request as a joke, are indicative of the 191 DARPA employees who did not even have the professionalism to respond.

Though the case is still on appeal, I now believe I can establish the "substantial doubt" in the reasonableness of the DoD's search and I am preparing a new request to Judge McNamee, based upon the DARPA responses, to set aside the dismissal and reinstate the CAUS lawsuit.

In the meantime, I am still waiting for the computerized search responses from the OJCS. Strange that it would take them this long to provide me with something they had already found pursuant to the original lawsuit.



HOME | SUPPORT CAUS | CONTACT CAUS | MAILING LIST

The PAG Network
Box
2443
Sedona, AZ 86339

Phone: 520-203-0567
e-Mail: ufolawyer1@aol.com

The PAG Network 2001.  All Rights Reserved.
Portions Copyright CAUS 2001.   All Rights Reserved

Send CAUS Comments and Reports to: CAUS@CAUS.ORG

 
Webmaster