In the the Gram Parsons song “One Hundred Years From Now,” the singer observes: “Nobody knows what kind of trouble we’re in.” Looking on the bright side, however, he doubts that one hundred years from now people will “still feel this way.”
That must be the theory behind the State Department’s approach to the Freedom of Information Act in a lawsuit brought against it by the RNC. CNN reports that State Department lawyers argued in a filing last week that gathering 450,000 pages of records requested for former Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Jacob Sullivan and top State Department official Patrick Kennedy would take three quarters of a century.
Come again? CNN quotes the State Department filing submitted by the Department of Justice on its behalf: “Given the Department’s current FOIA workload and the complexity of these documents, it can process about 500 pages a month, meaning it would take approximately 16-and-2/3 years to complete the review of the Mills documents, 33-and-1/3 years to finish the review of the Sullivan documents, and 25 years to wrap up the review of the Kennedy documents — or 75 years in total.”
The AP’s Matt Lee asked State Department spokesman Mark Toner about this at Monday’s briefing. I kid you not, he explained, though not exactly in those words. He conceded: “That is an incredible number.” But he justified the estimate because the RNC’s request is “very complex.”
He put it this way: “It’s a very broad range involving a number of people over a period of four years, and it’s not an outlandish estimation, believe it or not.”
Politico’s Josh Gerstein covered the filing submitted by the Department of Justice on behalf of the State Department in his story on it last week. Gerstein also posted the State Department filing itself, which Toner urges us to see with our own eyes so we can believe it. The State Department filing is posted here. Michael Sainato’s Observer column “Obama’s latest attempt to save Clinton from indictment” also takes up related matters.
Quotable quote (from the filing submitted on behalf of the State Department by the Department of Justice): “FOIA requests are not supposed to be labored over for generations.”
Video via Jack Heretic/Washington Free Beacon.