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This is the Defense Security Service's (DSS's) response to's Freedom of Information Act request dated 10 June 2001 for all Department of Defense Polygraph Institute (DoDPI) materials describing the General Question Technique (GQT), whether on paper, videotape, computer media, or in any other format. DSS claims that DoDPI has probably discarded any information about this polygraph technique (a remarkable action for an ostensible research institute). For further reading on the GQT, see the message board thread, DoDPI General Question "Test."

ALEXANDRIA, VA 22314-1651

AUG 14 2001

Mr. George W. Maschke
Hart Nibbrigkade 22
2597 XV Den Haag

RE: FOIA #095-21(2)

Dear Mr. Maschke:

This is in reference to your facsimile received in this office June 10, 2001, requesting, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), access to a General Question Technique (GQT) document formerly utilized by the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute (DODPI). Specifically, your request was for all DODPI materials describing the GQT, whether on paper, videotape, computer media, or in any other format.

By letter dated May 21, 2001, (FOIA# 070-21 (2)), DSS advised you that a check of the available indices within DODPI revealed no records responsive to your request for a copy of the GQT. This is to advise you that DODPI conducted yet another search for the material in their available indices and was unable to locate the GQT, in any type format.

It is well established that an agency responding to a FOIA request must "conduct a search reasonably calculated to uncover all relevant documents." Weisberg v. United States Dep't of Justice, 745 F.2d 1476, 1485 (D.C. Cir. 1984), reh'g denied, 763 F.2d 1436 (D.C. Cir. 1985). The adequacy of the agency's search under the FOIA is evaluated under a "reasonableness" test. The search need only be reasonable, it does not have to be exhaustive. Miller v. Dep't of State, 779 F.2d 1378, 1383 (8th Cir. 1985).

Courts generally evaluate the reasonableness of a search by reviewing the agency's retrieval efforts in light of the parameters specified in the FOIA request. Although the reasonableness of the search varies on a case-by-case basis, the issue is not whether any document might conceivably exist, but rather, whether the Government's search for the responsive documents was adequate. Truitt v. Dep't of State, 897 F. 2d 540, 542 (D.C. Cir. 1990). Moreover, the adequacy and reasonableness of an agency's search is not undercut by the requestor's speculative claim that records "must exist." See Oglesby v. United States Dep't of the Army, 920 F. 2d 57 (D.C. Cir. 1990).

Please understand that the material you are seeking is no longer utilized by DODPI and has not been a part of their instruction for over four years. Therefore, it most likely has been discarded. Certainly a copy might conceivably exist, but if the DODPI staff can't reasonably ascertain its location, DSS/DODPI is not going to conduct a wide-ranging, "unreasonably burdensome" search for it.

In light of the above legal standards, DSS's search was reasonable. DODPI searched all available indices which are reasonably likely to be responsive to your FOIA request. However, no records responsive to your request were found. DSS's search for documents was adequate to satisfy its obligation under the FOIA.

Although no main records responsive to your FOIA request were located, we are required to inform you that you are entitled to file an administrative appeal if you so desire. Appeals should be directed in writing to the Director, DSS, Office of FOIA/PA, 1340 Braddock Place, Alexandria, VA 22314-1651, within 60 days from receipt of this letter. In any such appeal, you should also provide a copy of this letter, along with sufficient justification upon which the Director may base a decision.


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