Former FSO Joan Wadelton With Truthout Goes to Court Over FOIA Case

Posted: 1:0808 am EDT
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We didn’t know this but former FSO Joan Wadelton was joined by non-profit organization, Truthout in her FOIA lawsuit (pdf) against the State Department. Her formal complaint includes the following:

Over the past decade, Wadelton has collected evidence demonstrating that the type of treatment she received from HR was not unique to her, but instead was the product of a systematic manipulation of the selection board promotion process by a circle of current and former high-level HR managers to advantage themselves and their allies and to disadvantage those they did not favor.

See more here.

Since this is a FOIA case, the Clinton emails made their first walk-in part. We expect that these emails will be cited in many more cases in the court system before too long.

Via Politico:

The saga stemming from revelations about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account as secretary of state made its way into a federal courtroom in Washington Wednesday afternoon in an ex-foreign service officer’s lawsuit for records related to her dismissal.

The discussion of the State Department’s email issues—including a disclosure last week that the agency did not automatically archive the email of many top officials until February of this year—came at a hearing on a Freedom of Information Act suit filed by former State employee Joan Wadelton.

“The State Department has proposed filing a motion for summary judgment in August 2015, stating it requires nearly six months to compile a Vaughn index for approximately 450 documents. The Court is not convinced, without a further and clearer showing of necessity, that six months is needed to complete this task,” wrote Chutkan, an Obama appointee. She ordered the government to offer a written explanation by March 30 of why that many months are needed.

Wadelton’s complaints about favoritism and irregular employment practices at State have been covered by various diplomacy-related blogs and news outlets, including here at the Atlantic.

The Vaughn Index is an itemized index, correlating each withholding with a specific FOIA exemption and a justification for that justification. This document is prepared by the agency, in this case, the State Department, to justify any FOIA withholdings made.


Related posts:

Joan Wadelton: Time To Fix The State Department (via WhirledView)

Joan Wadelton’s Appeal Makes it to FSGB 2011 Annual Report to Congress (

Joan Wadelton’s Case: That’s One Messy Promotion Scorecard, Next Up – It’s GAO Time! (

GAO Examines Foreign Service Promotion Process — Strengthened But Documentation Gaps Remain) (

U.S. District Court for the Court of the District of Columbia | Wadelton v. State Department, 4/25/13 (pdf)

Wadelton Case | The FOIA Project

WADELTON et al v. DEPARTMENT OF STATE | Complaint 4/1/2013 (pdf)



One response

  1. Feel free to tell Joan that I have a grievance against HR leadership in the works and would be glad to tell her about it if she is interested. You can give her my e mail. As part of discovery I asked for all the e mail about the letter-petition signed by ten management officials and co-authored by two DASs in PA – who it was sent to, who was cc’d or bcc’d and any e mail about the letter-petition. HR said no, then we will look, then sorry they have all been deleted and we don’t keep them…. Reminds me about the scorecards that are destroyed immediately making it very difficult to pursue what Joan was trying to do or to prove anything from calculating mistake to malfeasance.

    Then it is very easy to taint the “jury” pool when senior officials put out the word, in email or in corridor chat….

    The process of selecting people for the senior boards is highly subject to manipulation and the even the so-called “random” selection of files for comparison at recon boards is not subject to any oversight, so might not be that random after all.

    No one watching the HR watchers.