(WASHINGTON) -- The Democratic National Committee formally has asked the Pentagon for reams of correspondence between military agencies and nine potential Republican presidential candidates, a clear indication that Democrats are building opposition-research files on specific 2012 contenders even before the midterm elections.
An internal Army e-mail obtained by ABC News indicates that the DNC has filed Freedom of Information Act requests for "any and all records of communication" between Army departments and agencies and each of the nine Republicans -- all of whom are widely mentioned as possible challengers to President Obama.
The agencies are asked to respond to the request by this Friday, just four days before Election Day.
The nine Republicans that Democrats are seeking information on are former Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska; former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass.; Gov. Haley Barbour, R-Miss.; Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minn.; former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark.; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.; Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.; Gov. Mitch Daniels, R-Ind.; and Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La.
Such requests are typical in the world of opposition research, which involves casting a broad net for publicly available material that may at some point prove embarrassing or incriminating to political candidates.
The request isn't for details of military service or lack thereof, but appears to be designed to find information on letters and memos sent to and from the potential candidates in official positions they've held.
DNC officials declined to comment, but did not dispute that the information has been requested. An Army spokesman confirmed that the DNC's formal request for information has been received.
"We did receive a FOIA request, and now we are responding to that FOIA request," said the spokesman, Col. Tom Collins.
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