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Grant Cameron Appeals Clinton Library FOIA Denial

April 27th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

As many of you will no doubt be aware Grant Cameron was recently denied a FOIA request on photos concerning Bill & Hillary Clinton dressing up as Mulder & Scully for John Podesta’s birthday.

The letter reads…

Clinton Presidential Library
1200 President Clinton Avenue
Little Rock, AR 72201 
April 17, 2009

Grant Cameron
649 Silverstone Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Canada R3T2V8

FOIA Case: 2006-0544-F (segment 1)

Dear Mr. Cameron:

This letter is in further response to your request dated February 23, 2006 for release of information from the William J. Clinton Library for Clinton Presidential records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. § 552) and the Presidential Records Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C. §§ 2201-2207).  We have completed processing, according to the provisions of the PRA and FOIA, the 84 photographs and 1 videotape of Clinton Presidential records responsive to your FOIA request on audiovisual material related to John Podesta’s 50th birthday party held on 1/8/99.

Of these Clinton Presidential records, 84 photographs and 1 videotape have been restricted in whole in compliance with the restrictions of FOIA and PRA that specify what material can be released to the public.  A list of applicable PRA restrictions and FOIA exemption categories is attached. Further, the number of photographs restricted from access is listed along with the restriction categories below.  

Restriction        Number of Photographs/videotapes

P6/b(6)                84 photographs, 1 videotape

At this time, you have the right to file an administrative appeal of any Clinton Presidential records responsive to your FOIA request that have been withheld under a restriction category of the PRA, 44 U.S.C. §2204(a).  The appeal must be submitted in writing to the Director, William J. Clinton Library, 1200 President Clinton Avenue, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201 or by email at Clinton.library@nara.gov. You should also include a copy of your original request and this letter. Both your appeal letter and the envelope or email subject line should be clearly marked “PRA/FOIA Appeal.” You have 35 calendar days from the receipt date of this letter to file your appeal.

Since these are Presidential records administered in accordance with 44 U.S.C. §§2201-2207 and Executive Order 13489, NARA must notify the former and incumbent Presidents prior to the release of any information in response to these appeals.  Once an appeal determination is made and the provisions of E.O. 13489 have been met, we will contact you.

We will take no further action regarding this request until we hear from you.  If you need any further assistance, please write or call our staff at (501) 244-2877 or Clinton.library@nara.gov.  Your case log number is 2006-0544-F (segment 1).  Please have this number accessible for reference during any future contact concerning this case.


Dana Simmons
Supervisory Archivist
William J. Clinton Presidential Library

However, this is not the end of the road as concerns this request.  Grant has appealed citing the following…

President Clinton Library
1200 President Clinton Avenue
Little Rock, AR 72201

“PRA/FOIA Appeal.”
Re: 2006-0544-F (segment 1)

 This is an appeal under the Freedom of Information Act.

On January 20, 2006 I filed the following FOIA

January 20, 2006

William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum 

Attn: FOIA Coordinator 
1200 President Clinton Avenue 
Little Rock, AR 72201


Under provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552, as amended), I request access to the following unprocessed and unopened Clinton Presidential records:

John Podesta’s 50th birthday was January 15, 1999. The President and Hillary hosted a birthday party for him. I would like all pictures, videos, invitations, correspondence related to John’s birthday released.


Grant Cameron

649 Silverstone Ave
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Canada R3T2V8



My request was assigned the following identification number: 2006-0544F. On April 17, 2009, I received a response to my request in a letter signed by Melissa Walker (attached). I appeal the denial of my request. I base my appeal on the following;

  •  The denial of my Freedom of Information Act Request 2006-0544F is in complete contradiction to the direction given by President Obama in his “MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES – FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT” dated January 21, 2009 which states clearly;“The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails. The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure.”
  • The main figures affected by this FOIA request (Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and John Podesta) were at the time of the taking of the photos and videos (1999)  all “public officials”. As “public officials” they should not be allowed to hide behind a privacy exemption now to prevent embarrassment.
  • Although the President’s Daily Diary has not been made public I am quite confident that this event would have appeared on the President’s schedule which would make it a government related event which should not be covered by the FOIA privacy provisions.
  • The event, at the centre of the FOIA request, was an event held in a government building paid for by taxpayer dollars. The costs of the party were undoubtedly covered by taxpayer money.
  • The equipment used for taking the pictures and the film was paid for by the taxpaying public, who have a right to know what pictures their money bought, and not be be told that the film is now under the control of former “public officials” now claiming privacy and thus  a control over the public’s film.
  • From 84 photos withheld it seems inconceivable that there were not pictures where only Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, John Podesta, or a combination of the three were not the only ones in the photos.

I have included a telephone number (204-770-6277) at which I can be contacted at any time, if necessary, to discuss any aspect of my appeal.

Thank you for your consideration of this appeal.


Grant Cameron

You can’t keep a good man down. Go Grant!!



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