Last year my office issued a Freedom of Information Act Request for correspondence eminating from the Army Civil Works Division to the Administration and other departments regarding flooding in the Missouri River basin. The Corps of Engineers responded to my request last week with sixty pages of internal emails. As you can see from the email documents (Click to see the emails), much of the details have been redacted.
The reason given for removing the information was that the rules of FOIA do not require the Corps to release information deemed personal or relating to a “National Emergency”. From looking through the email exchange it appears the Corps of Engineers knew about the impending flood months before it happened. This time period could have been used to warn communities in the flood zone but instead the Corps focused on creating talking points and excuses for the impending damage.
If we are to learn from this disaster we need to know the dialogue that took place. We deserve to see the correspondence between the Corps and other agencies. Where is the transparency in government promised by the Administration?
Looking through the emails you notice a drop-off in communications between the Corps of Engineers during the month of April. North Dakota started warning the Corps about the possible runoff from snow pack in March but nothing seemed to happen until it was too late in May.
So what was the head of the Corps of Engineers doing in April that was so important?
Jo Ellen Darcy, Obama’s appointee to the Assistant Secretary of the Army Civil Works, who is in charge of all the flood control systems in the United States was busy canoeing in North Carolina.
looks like Jo Ellen was gone fishin’ during the flood…