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On 20 September 2002, this essay regarding the Defense Security Service's disturbing response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request was submitted to The author is an independent journalist. (Click here to download his request and DSS's response as a 1.1 mb PDF file.) For discussion of this matter, see the message board thread, Destruction of Records at the DoDPI Library.

Destruction of Records and Personal Attack on Journalist by Defense Security Service

Recently, the President and CEO of the news organization I work for received a letter from the Defense Security Service (DSS), responding to a recent FOIA request I had filed with DSS, along with 12 pages of records responsive to the request. I work as a full time employee for American Lawyer Media in the Washington, DC offices of Legal Times, our DC-based legal news weekly publication.

I have been with ALM for two years. The letter to our CEO from the DSS said, in part, "This Directorate considers all FOIA requests by Mr. Ravnitzky to DSS on American Lawyer Media (ALM) letterhead to be the property of ALM and not that of Mr. Ravnitzky. Accordingly, DSS will send our responses directly to ALM." It is inappropriate for a government agency to send a response to a FOIA request to the President and CEO of a large news media organization, rather than directly to the reporters and/or editors identified in the request. In fact, it appears that such a response is intended as an intimidating tactic designed to preclude further records requests.

What was the subject of the underlying request? It was e-mail mentioning myself or my news organization within the DSS FOIA Office, specifically a request we placed with DSS earlier this year for a few videotapes at DSS and the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute (DoDPI) concerning polygraphy. There is currently a significant amount of litigation concerning the legitimacy of the polygraph technique -- the titles of the list of films they had sent me appear to indicate that polygraphy was really more of a "persuasive art" than a science.

In 2000, I requested some DSS videotapes under FOIA while I was working for my previous employer, who is now out of business. DSS cancelled the request because the previous employer was out of business -- I didn't find this out until long afterward. Soon thereafter, a DSS employee instructed the librarians at DSS and DoDPI to destroy most of their videotapes. After I resubmitted a request from American Lawyer Media on June 20, 2002 by fax, I was informed in the response that most of the films had been destroyed under their records retention policy. Naturally, I was skeptical about this, particularly as there was a touch of glee in the voice of the DSS employee who told me.

The e-mail I got, dated June 27, 2002, said: "After consultation with Les [Leslie Blake, FOIA Manager], it was determined that it may be in the best interest of all involved if those tapes that are no longer utilized by DoDPI for any reason [that last phrase emphasized in boldface], be destroyed in accordance with the DoDPI or DSS records retention regulations." The e-mail continues: "Further, for those tapes that are reviewed and deemed releasable to the public, multiple copies would be made and a listing of only the releasable tapes would be placed on the DSS public website specifically stating that these are the only tapes available for release to the public, and should the requester wish to receive a copy, to contact DoDPI directly. This would sway many requesters if they actually saw first hand what is releasable without actually having to file a direct FOIA request. In the longrun it would mean less work and headaches for everyone involved." Source: e-mail dated June 27, 2002 from Tanya Layne to Beth Kraus, Genni Arledge and William F. Norris, Leslie Blake and Jay P. Fraude. Ms. Layne is the FOIA Officer. Mr. Blake is the FOIA Manager. Mr. Fraude is the DSS General Counsel. Ms. Arledge is the Librarian at DoDPI. Mr. Norris is the Director of the DoD Polygraph Institute.

That e-mail was sent after my FOIA request, in violation of federal law. While it is true that some of the films had been destroyed earlier, after my earlier pending request was cancelled without my knowledge, there was a clear intent here to "clean house" of potentially troublesome materials a week after my request had been received by fax. Please let me know if you would like to receive the source documents (about 12 pages) by fax. [Note: Alternatively, you may download these documents in PDF format.] If you are concerned about this activity, feel free to contact:

Willard J. Isaacs, Inspector General
Defense Security Service
1340 Braddock Place
Alexandria, VA 22314-1651

tel: 703-325-5318
fax: 703-325-5341


Karen L. Cook
Public Affairs Office
1340 Braddock Place
Alexandria, VA 22314-1651


The FOIA Office at DSS is:

Defense Security Service
Les Blake Chief, Office of FOIA and Privacy, GCF
1340 Braddock Place
Alexandria, VA 22314-1651

telephone number: (703) 325-9450
fax number: (703) 325-5341

The main Defense Department FOIA Office, which oversees the implementation of FOIA at DSS and DoDPI is:

Department of Defense
Will Kammer
Directorate for Freedom of Information and Security Review
Room 2C757
1155 Defense Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301-1155

telephone number: (703) 697-1160
fax number: (703) 693-7341

The following is a list of unclassified DoDPI videotapes obtained prior to DSS's instruction that DoDPI destroy tapes that are "no longer utilized."

VT 014 Courtroom Testimony (David Raskin)
VT 034 The American Chemical Soldier, ETV Branch, TASC, 1987
VT 041 Briefing on Research Project: Multiple Issue Testing v. Single, 1988
VT 054 The LaFayette Polygraph, 1988
VT 059 Break of Tension Demonstration
VT 068 Refresher Course, Nov. - Dec. 1989 (part 3 of 3)
VT 069 Refresher Course, Nov. - Dec. 1989 (part 2 of 3)
VT 070 Refresher Course, Nov. - Dec. 1989 (part 1 of 3)
VT 086 Satanic Rituals, (Mr. Tribble?)
VT 089 Hostage Negotiation
VT 090 Post-test Interview (Gordon H. Barland)
VT 098 Countermeasures in polygraph (Charles R. Honts)
VT 099 Colloquium: Detection and Deception in Psychopathic Criminals
VT 103 Hostage Negotiation, 1987 (Robert P. Cole)
VT 104 Research/Instrumentation Technique (Norman Ansley), 1986
VT 107 ...computerized interpretation of Polygraph Charts (Charles R. Honts)
VT 110A Introduction to Abnormal Psychology, Parts 1-3
VT 110B Introduction to Abnormal Psychology, Parts 4-5
VT 111A Neurotic and Psychotic Reactions, Parts 6-7
VT 111B Neurotic and Psychotic Reactions, Part 8
VT 114 Psychophysiology and Psychopharmacology (Michael Crowe)
VT 118 Murray Kleiner of Israeli Nat'l Police Conducting a Demo Polygraph Exam
VT 120 Use of the Polygraph in Courts-Martial, 1988, F. Lee Baily, Maxwell AFB
VT 121 PET Graduation, Mr. Ronald E. Decker speaking, 1989
VT 123 Physiology as it relates to Polygraph (Shirley Sturm), 1987
VT 124 Results of Raskin Seminar (Tommy Adkins)
VT 129 Child Sexual Abuse Seminar #1, (Scott Manners and Mary Perry)
VT 140 Response: Child Sexual Abuse - The Clinical Interview (Kee MacFarlane)
VT 141 USSR Speech (polygraphy in the USSR - Mark Tobias)
VT 150 Polygraph Oversight Committee Meeting, 1990
VT 151 Computerizing the Polygraph, EVT Branch, June 1991
VT 152 Espionage Alert, 1990, DoD
VT 153 Espionage 2000, 1989, DoD
VT 156 Espionage & Counterintelligence, William E. De Genaro, 1991
VT 157 Presentation on Listen/Answer Technique
VT 165 The Use of the Polygraph in Criminal Investigation, ETV Branch, 1992
VT 221 China Trip (briefing on polygraphy in China by John Joseph Palmatier), 1991
VT 225 Child Sexual Abuse Course: Inmate Panel, 1990
VT 226 Child Sexual Abuse Course: Inmate Panel, 1990
VT 227 Ethics, 1992
VT 228 GKT as a scientific technique, (John J. Furedy) 1991
VT 231 OPSEC & Counternarcotics: Who's Watching Who, Interagency OPSEC Support Staff
VT 232 Guilty Knowledge Technique Study, , ETV Branch, 1992
VT 261 Instruction on the Arther Polygraph Technique, Richard O. Arther, 1990
VT 265 Ethics Training, 1993
VT 266 Lynn Marcy Orientation , 1991
VT 267 Yankee Technique, William J. Yankee, 1991
VT 285 Protecting Critical Defense Information, Office of the Deputy Ass't Secr. of Def.
VT 287A,B,C Cleve Backster presentation (parts 1-3)
VT 288 Aspects of Psychology of Abnormal Behavior, 1994
VT 290 Countermeasures (Gordon H. Barland), 1995
VT 291 Post Test Interrogation in Child Sex Abuse Cases, Warren Holmes, 1989
VT 293 PDD Basic Periodic Disclosure Sex Offender Testing (Vergil Williams & Charles Slupski)
VT 294 Reported Rape Victim Testing, 1994 (Charles Slupski)
VT 295 Sexual Disorder Class, part 1, Charles Slupski
VT 296 Sexual Disorder Class, part 2, Charles Slupski
VT 297 Sexual Disorder Class, Part 3, Donald Pettit and Charles Slupski
VT 298 Child Sexual Abuse, 1989 (Kenneth V. Lanning)
VT 299 False Allegations, Charles P. McDowell
VT 303 Electrodermal Activity in Polygraphy (Wolfram Boucsein), 1988
VT 307 Use of the Polygraph in Israel, 1994 (Eitan Elaad)
VT 308 Countering Espionage - You can make a difference
VT 312 ?CQT/example of pretest
VT 315 Interrogation Techniques (Warren Holmes)
VT 316 CSP Prebriefing (Bob Rivera)
VT 319 Application of neural networks to complex signal processing, Bryan Coffey, 1994
VT 320 Possible Pharmacologic Strategies to Alter Reactivity during the psychophysiological detection of deception (Harris R. Leiberman)
VT 321 Polygraph Exam of Sexual Assault Suspect
VT 330 Demonstration of the Coffey-Lieberman Activity Monitor (Bryan Coffey), 1994
VT 331 Sex offender treatment program/inmate panel, 1992
VT 342 Use of polygraph in Russia/INEX polygraph, 1994 (Eugene _archenkov)
VT 344 House Infrared Oculomotor tracking system with Pupillography, 1994 (Ronald Waldorf
VT 345 Interrogation (parts 1 and 2), 1978 (Arthur Roberts)
VT 346 Interrogation (parts 3 and 4), 1978 (Arthur Roberts)
VT 354 Psychology (Scott Manners), 1994
VT 356 Nomenclature, Calibration and Setup of Lafayette Polygraph
VT 357 P-3 Brain Wave, J. Peter Rosenfeld
VT 358 Post-test interviews/interrogations
VT 361 Pre-test interview procedures (Lynn Marcy), 1995
VT 362 Non-verbals and countermeasures (Lynn Marcy), 1995
VT 362 Non-verbals and Countermeasures, 1995
VT 367 Seminar on Sex Offenders, 1991
VT 372 Voice Stress Analyzer Demonstration, 1992
VT 377 A Brief Interview of Seven Polygraph/Physiological Measuring Devices
VT 378 Goals and Objectives of DODPI (William J. Yankee), 1990
VT 380 Stephanie K. Hale Polygraph Examination, part 1, 1993 (David Raskin)
VT 381 Stephanie K. Hale Polygraph Examination, part 2, 1993 (David Raskin)
VT 385 [Smith?] Cheating Incident at DODPI, 1990
VT 386, 387, 388, 389, 390: 1988 Oversight Committee Meeting
VT 391, 392, 393 DODPI Staff and Faculty meeting (1987)
VT 395 DODPI Staff and Faculty meeting (1994)
VT 399 Lecture on Research Methods (Donald Pettit)
VT 401 STrategies for building rapport (Scott Manners)
VT 405 Question and Answer Session with Ronald Decker), 1995
VT 435 Our Time Has Come (the Polygraph video), August 2, 1995
VT 443 Russia Trip (Gordon Barland), July 7, 1994
VT 485 Interrogation of Child Sex Offenders (Warren Holmes), 1989
VT 487 Post Test (Warren Holmes), 1989
VT 492 Polygraph as an investigation aid (Ed Sneed), 1997
VT 494 Staff Meeting with DISS Director, 1998
VT 495 Discussion of U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in U.S. v. Scheffer, 1998 (Barland)
VT 496 Sex Offenders
VT 497 Sex Offenders, Third Visit
VT 498 Psycholinguistics, Part 1, 1997
VT 499 Psycholinguistics, Part 2?, 1997
VT 500 Legal Aspects of Child Sexual Abuse, Nov. 27, 1989
VT 501 Investigative Considerations II: Sexual Abuse, Nov. 1989
VT 502 Sexual Abuse
VT 503 Sexual Abuse
VT 504 Sexual Abuse
VT 505 Postal Inspection Service child sexual abuse seminar Home Page > Reading Room