“Your request has been placed in our complex processing queue and is being worked based on the order in which the request was received,” a DOD official responded to my Freedom of Information Act request. “Our current administrative workload is approximately 3,594 open requests.”
And with that, another one of my public information requests fell into the military’s black hole.
Since I started reporting in Hawaii in 2019, I’ve filed numerous FOIA requests with the military, primarily the Navy. Time and again, I have filed one with the hopes of shining a light on an issue of public importance only to have it fizzle into nothingness. The Freedom of Information Act, which is supposed to provide the transparency needed for a healthy democracy, is too often a pathway to a dead end that leaves us in the dark on critical issues.