If DHS Boss Has A Staffer Write Her Emails… Does It Count As Her Email Under A FOIA Request?

In 2012, we pointed out how ridiculous it was that then Homeland Security boss Janet Napolitano, who self-described herself as a Luddite, admitted that she didn’t use email at all. This seemed troubling, given that DHS was ostensibly in charge of cybersecurity, and you’d hope that the boss would understand the basics of email. Of course, she later admitted to the real reason why she didn’t use email: it created a paper-trail that would make her too accountable….

In the wake of the recent (and absolutely ridiculous) story about DHS inspector general Charles Edwards and his litany of misdeeds, Shawn Musgrave, over at Muckrock, decided to file some FOIA requests for any emails between Edwards and Napolitano. In response, DHS gave a “no responsive records” answer, noting that (as many had reported), Napolitano didn’t use email.

However, as Musgrave points out, that’s not actually true. There are multiple examples of emails “sent” by Napolitano that have been previously released — it’s just that it’s clear they were actually sent via a DHS staffer, rather than Napolitano herself. This is known because of another FOIA request from Musgrave, concerning any emails about Napolitano’s resignation from DHS, which turned up (ta da!) an email sent by a (redacted) staffer on behalf of Napolitano: Continue>>>