DHS Scheduled to Release Report by January 18, 2011, Now Claims Report is still in “Draft” Form
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305
Washington, DC — February 17, 2011
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that the Obama administration broke a promise made to a federal court to release an internal memo detailing its investigation of an illegal alien who killed a Virginia nun in a drunk driving accident in August 2010. Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit
to obtain the report. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) then told a federal court that the report would be released by January 18, 2011. However, the Obama administration now claims that the report is still in “draft” form
and is therefore exempt from FOIA.
On January 6, 2011, Judicial Watch received the following message in an email from the Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) assigned to Judicial Watch’s FOIA lawsuit: “I have discussed this matter with the agency and have been advised that the requested report/memorandum has been processed and will be disclosed subject to redaction of certain personal/privacy information under FOIA Exemptions 6/7C. The agency hopes to disclose the material by January 18, 2011. Accordingly, you will receive and have an opportunity to review the release during the requested 30-day extension period. We can then discuss what, if anything, remains of the case.”Indeed, in seeking court permission on January 13 to get more time
to answer Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, the agency likewise told the court (The Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan) that “the report memorandum…has been promised and will be disclosed subject to redaction of certain personal privacy information.” The agency told Judicial Watch that it hoped to “disclose the material in the next week and believed the anticipated disclosure will moot the lawsuit.” Based upon this representation, Judicial Watch did not oppose the request for more time. The Court, also relying on this representation that the report was set to be released in a week, granted the Obama administration’s request for more time.However, following multiple attempts by Judicial Watch’s litigation team to obtain an update on the release of the report, Judicial Watch received the following email from the same Homeland Security AUSA on January 28: “The agency has advised of a delay in the release of the requested report…ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] clarifies that the current version of the report is still in draft form and that, while the final report will be released, Exemption 5 (deliberative process) will likely be asserted as to the draft report.” A subsequent email from DHS noted that ICE “cannot provide a specific release date at this time” for the final report.On February 11, 2011, Judicial Watch received a letter from ICE FOIA officer Catrina M. Pavlik-Keenan
confirming the fact that the report will not be released as promised: “After review of the draft document, I have determined that this draft document will be withheld in its entirety pursuant to Exemption 5 of the FOIA.”Montano, a Bolivian national who entered the country illegally as a child, killed Sister Denise Mosier and critically injured two other nuns while driving drunk on August 1, 2010, in Prince William County, Virginia. He has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and drunken driving. Montano had been arrested on two prior drunk driving charges. He was placed in the custody of federal immigration officials in 2008 and was scheduled for deportation, but was released on his own recognizance pending a deportation hearing that never took place.Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano ordered an investigation on August 2, 2010, to determine why Montano’s removal process took so long. However, Homeland Security initially refused to release its report documenting the results prompting Judicial Watch to file its FOIA lawsuit on December 2, 2010.Here we have yet another broken promise on transparency by the super-secretive Obama administration. One can draw a conclusion, an almost inescapable one, that the DHS report on the illegal alien nun-killer contained damaging revelations, so now Obama appointees are scrubbing the report. As the report supposedly went to Secretary Napolitano, this scandal seems to go to the top. I think we have a cover-up in the making. Judicial Watch, for its part, will continue to fight in court for the immediate release of the report,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.