Calling All Barracks Lawyers: Legal Question

| September 7, 2022

We’ve been running into some resistance with NARA and NPRC. I don’t know if this is related to the backlog of FOIA requests but they’ve been stating:

“In working to fulfill your request, we noted that your inquiry did not include the signed consent of the individual whose record is involved; therefore, we are returning your request.  The Privacy Act of 1974 provides for the release of information only with the written consent (signature) of the individual to whom the record pertains.”

The formal reply from us was:

I believe that what you say is true unless there is a need to disprove a person’s claims – supported by the Freedom of Information Act.  People often make claims that simply don’t add up.
Are you telling me that you will deny any and all Freedom of Information Act requests if they don’t have the signature of the person in question?  This may be an interesting legal question as to if the Freedom of Information Act does not circumvent the Privacy Act of 1974 in some cases.
I read your response as a denial of a Freedom of Information Act request.
Information can easily be redacted that would keep you in compliance with the Privacy Act of 1974.

In cases of individuals running scams on people or major acts of fraud, I highly doubt that the individual would provide his/her signature to have their records released.  If people committing fraud realize that nobody can get their records without their signature, the scams will only increase in intensity.  You would be an enabler.

That is why in my request, I included the lines:  “I am seeking this information to confirm/refute potentially false or misleading claims made by this individual regarding his military service.  Confirmation or refutation of these claims is in the best interests of the United States.”

Please reconsider your stance on this. 

So, basically we’re looking for a counter argument or points we can make to oppose their position.

Any points you can help with will be appreciated. This is happening more and more and we think we may have to draft a formal letter to NARA/NPRC to get this straightened out.

If you have not obtained your Juris Doctorate degree from an accredited university, experience in barracks or shipboard law is an acceptable substitute.

Category: None

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
An Old Arty Sgt

This happened to me a few years back. I wrote the Director with the same statement you stated. The FOIA is not in violation of the Privacy Act of 1974. Since the information requested, is public information, a signature of the individual who’s records are being requested is not needed. Once I wrote the Director, I got my request completed and sent to me.

Sometimes you get a newbie in there that thinks they are the final decision maker.

Then CoVid hit and I stop sending in requests. Will wait another year before I start back up.


TAH Sea Lawyers up!


Check email, Steve.

Green Thumb

Could be a new hire not familiar w/ the existing process;


Think Government employees + laziness + lack of professional development + early promtion based upon nonsense + COVID pandemic + unenthusiastic potential job force = the problem at hand.

Just a guess.


I’d go with the new hire with AUTHORITY!


This is just somebody trying to get out of doing his job by hiding behind the privacy act.

Everybody has a boss. Start going up the chain of command.

Also: It pays to be a PITA. Sooner or later it becomes easier for them to just give you what you’re asking for than to keep trying to justify their denials.


We get the government we pay [are threatened with violence] for.

Maybe have a rainbow letterhead? Also include a footer quote from the bravest and strongest and bestest ‘woman’ of all time, Big Mike 0Bummer?

Last edited 1 year ago by Roh-Dog

Use NAACP letterhead. If they don’t comply, cry ray-cis.


I had a similar experience when dealing with a valor vulture a few years back. I even had standing as a state employee. Once I emailed them with my .gov address, the document showed up in the mail.

USMC Steve

Send that response to your elected officials along with a Congrint request. They will soon unfuck themselves.


“…experience in barracks or shipboard is an acceptable substitute.” Will watching the moves of Della Street (Perry Mason) or Erin Reagan (Blue Bloods) count? Nothing phony about them.

SiL has a JD Sheepskin hanging on his wall. I’ll link it to him thru my Baby Girl. Former Bubblehead on nukes, but he’s OK other than that.


Quick! Someone go stay at a Holliday Inn!

Mustang Major

Steve, do you have a manager in the NPRC you can call? Calling may get the matter cleared up as opposed to a “do loop” of letters. If not, a Congressional complaint with documentation my get results. Consider contacting a staff member in the United States House Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations.
Along the lines of your experience-
Last week I received an email response to a written request I made for a DD 214 and flight records of a suspected Viet Nam helicopter pilot embellisher. I didn’t receive the DD 214, an got no mention of why I didn’t receive the document. As for the flight record, I received an explanation that flight records aren’t maintained with personnel records.

I felt like the NPRC blew my request off. I resubmitted my request. I wonder if NPRC has orders to shield stolen valor clowns. Or, a low level manage has come up with a rule to cut down on a work for the clerks.



Never had NARA deny any of our FOIA requests.

Then again, we never requested a DD214 for an individual because of the ROE:

“Who’s Entitled to a Copy of a Veteran’s DD214?”,in%20that%20member's%20own%20record.

“The Privacy Act of 1974 limits access to a veteran’s DD214 to only the service member (either past or present) or the member’s legal guardian; only these persons will have access to almost any information contained in that member’s own record.”

“Limited information from Official Military Personnel Files is releasable to the general public without the consent of the veteran or the next-of-kin. You are considered a member of the general public if you are asking about a veteran who is no relation to you, or a veteran who is a relative but you are not the next-of-kin.”


“The public has access to certain military service information without the veteran’s authorization (or that of the next-of-kin of deceased veterans). Examples of
information which may be available from Official Military Personnel Files without an unwarranted invasion of privacy include:”

Service Number
Dates of Service
Branch of Service
Rank and Date of Rank
Salary *
Assignments and Geographical Locations
Source of Commission *
Military Education
Promotion Sequence Number *
Awards and decorations (Eligibility only, not actual medals)
Duty Status
PhotographTranscript of Court-Martial Trial
Place of entrance and separation

If the veteran is deceased:

Place of birth
Date and geographical location of death
Place of burial

“Items marked with an asterisk are rarely available from the NPRC records.”


I needed a copy of an aircraft mishap report but was denied. Senator Hathaway of Maine straightened it out.
When I got it everything except my name (witness) and
names of the crew were blacked out.
Still, it was enough to place me at the site.


“was” idiot.

Injury Attorney Lawyer

The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) may not have a strict policy about responding to requests for documents that are not classified. There may be less concern about time savings because the documents are unclassified. You should also consider calling a staff member in the United States House Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations