The U.S. Department of Commerce appears to be stonewalling a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain complete disclosure of a congressionally unauthorized plan to implement a trilateral agreement with Mexico and Canada that apparently could lead to a North American union.
The plan is being implemented through an office within the Department of Commerce as the “Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America,” under the direction of Geri Word, who is listed as working in the department’s North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, office.
As WorldNetDaily previously reported, the White House has established executive branch working groups documented on the Commerce website SPP.gov. The Security and Prosperity Partnership, or SPP, was issued as a joint press statement by President Bush, Mexican President Vincente Fox and then-Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin in Waco, Texas, on March 23, 2005.
Commerce has missed a statutory requirement to respond to the FOIA request, filed by author Jerome R. Corsi, within 20 businesses days.
In an e-mail from Bobbie Parsons on behalf of Robert Dolan, the department acknowledged receipt of the FOIA request on June 19. WorldNetDaily first reported Corsi’s FOIA request June 20.
Robert McGuire, attorney for Corsi, emailed Commerce Monday, notifying the agency of the statutory violation in their failure to respond.
Yesterday, McGuire received an e-mail response from Brenda Dolan, the departmental Freedom of Information and Privacy Act officer.
The International Trade Administration, which is a bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce, was assigned lead action on your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request number CRRIF 06-376, for information concerning the Prosperity Working Groups. I have contacted Linda Bell, FOIA officer, ITA regarding the status of your pending FOIA request. I will provide the status of your pending request as soon as I receive word from Ms. Bell.
McGuire told WND that this response was unacceptable.
“The Department of Commerce skipped a deadline required by law,” he explained. “The act’s 20-day requirement relates to the department as a whole, not its sub-units.”
McGuire also told WND he had copied Bell on his original e-mail copy of the FOIA request.
“I used Linda Bell’s e-mail address as listed on the DOC website and her email bounced back,” he said. “DOC has especially poor grounds for the delay, especially since DOC sent the request to Ms. Bell internally as well.”
Corsi believes the department is stonewalling the FOIA request.
“The Bush administration does not want the American public to know how far along the creation of a new regional government, the North American union, is proceeding behind closed doors,” Corsi said. “President Bush is acting as if he believes the U.S. Constitution is nothing more than a meaningless piece of paper. The American public have a right to know what the executive branch is doing with SPP and the FOIA request was designed to get that information released.”
Attorney McGuire was equally firm.
“We thought we might encounter some recalcitrance,” he explained to WND, “but I am frankly shocked that we had received no response at all. The department acknowledged its receipt of our request on June 19. The requirements of the Freedom of Information Act are quite clear: The government is allowed to respond to a FOIA request in many ways, but the complete failure to respond within 20 business days is simply not an option.”
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