According to MuckRock.com, the OSD’s lone fax machine has been out of service for a few weeks and it may not be back up and running until October or November, because apparently no one knows there are more than 30 Staples locations within 20 miles of the Pentagon.
“IF our IT department doesn’t have a replacement available, then they will need to order one,” a rep for OSD tells MuckRock about the vague plans to eventually replace the one dependable way of filing a FOIA request with the office. “If that is the case, then it wouldn’t be ordered until the start of the new fiscal year (Oct. 1). We would hope that it is back up sometime in October, but could extend into the beginning of November.”
Without the fax, journalists seeking to file FOIA requests with the Pentagon have two unreliable options. There is the U.S. Mail, which may eventually get there, and may eventually be read by someone before being tossed in a recycling bin. Then there is an online portal that, well… doesn’t always work the way it should and uses a cumbersome registration and login procedure.
MuckRock’s Shawn Mullins has filed a FOIA request to get information about the OSD’s budget and office inventory, hoping to spot some money that could be shifted around in order to fix or replace the fax at some point before November. Unfortunately, the odds of anyone reading and fulfilling that request some point during the next decade seem pretty slim.