Does the DoD use searchable databases?


Reading over the letter that Anu got back from Will Klammer of the Department of Defense’s Office of Freedom of Information, I’m beginning to get a sense that this project–obtaining logs of the correspondence that members of Congress send to all federal agencies–may be even more difficult than I originally thought. This sentence particularly jumps out:

After reviewing your request carefully, we have determined that your request as presently written, since it would appear to apply to all 535 Members of Congress, is much too broad to enable this Office to conduct an adequate’ and effective search for responsive records. As a result, I have determined that the records that you seek are not reasonably described.

Now, I would think that anywhere from one to six computer searches would be sufficient, depending on how DoD keeps track of its correspondence. If they get a letter from Rep. Bob Forehead, do they log it as Rep. Bob Forehead, Reperesentative Bob Forehead, Congressman Bob Forehead, or Hon. Bob Forehead? Do they log in letters from Sen. Joseph Harrison Paine as coming from Sen. Joseph Harrison Paine, Senator Joseph Harrison Paine, Congressman Joseph Harrison Paine, or Hon. Joseph Harrison Paine? And do they also maintain a field for the organization for which the correspondent works, as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission does (see attached).

Obviously, we won’t take DoD’s denial as the final word here.