5 oldest FOIA requests (USNORTHCOM)

Jason Smathers filed this request with the USNORTHCOM - US Northern Command of the United States of America.
Tracking # FY13-30AUG2013-NNC105
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Jason Smathers

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

All records referencing the five oldest FOIA and Privacy Act requests which are still being processed that contain remarks, comments, notes, explanations, etc. made by your personnel or contractors about the processing of these requests (and appeals, if appropriate), the invocation of exemptions, or related matters. This is to include any analysts' notes made during the processing of the requests, any standard worksheets completed by the analysts, any justifications for exemption invocations or other supporting documentation provided to the Appeals Authority, and any correspondence referencing the requests, including tasking orders, emails, and coordination documentation. However, any records previously released to the original requesters in unredacted form may be excluded from this request. Additionally, please provide the initial request letters for the 5 oldest open FOIA/PA requests.

When processing this request, please note that the D.C. Circuit has previously held that agencies have a duty to construe the subject material of FOIA requests liberally to ensure responsive records are not overlooked. See Nation Magazine, Washington Bureau v. U.S. Customs Service, 71 F.3d 885, 890 (D.C. Cir. 1995). Accordingly, you are hereby instructed that the term “record” includes, but is not limited to: 1) all email communications to or from any individual within your agency; 2) memoranda; 3) inter-agency communications; 4) sound recordings; 5) tape recordings; 6) video or film recordings; 7) photographs; 8) notes; 9) notebooks; 10) indices; 11) jottings; 12) message slips; 13) letters or correspondence; 14) telexes; 15) telegrams; 16) facsimile transmissions; 17) statements; 18) policies; 19) manuals or binders; 20) books; 21) handbooks; 22) business records; 23) personnel records; 24) ledgers; 25) notices; 26) warnings; 27) affidavits; 28) declarations under penalty of perjury; 29) unsworn statements; 30) reports; 31) diaries; or 32) calendars, regardless of whether they are handwritten, printed, typed, mechanically or electronically recorded or reproduced on any medium capable of conveying an image, such as paper, CDs, DVDs, or diskettes.

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Jason Smathers

From: Jason Smathers

Hello,

The FOIA request below was submitted in December 2010, but according to our records never completed. Please advise?

Please note the change in MuckRock's address:

MuckRock News
PO Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

Thank you.

From: USNORTHCOM FOIA Officer - OMB

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

28 August 2013

Mr. Smathers,
Via MuckRock.com

When FOIA requests are received by USNORTHCOM an acknowledgment letter with the assigned USNORTHCOM case number would have been sent. USNORTHCOM response would have included the same assigned USNORTHCOM case number. Without a USNORTHCOM FOIA case number I cannot confirm our response.

If you have no USNORTHCOM FOIA case number assigned, we will have to process the request as a new request. Please advise if a case number was provided.

Kris

KRISTINA L. ROTH, Civ, DAFC
Chief, FOIA and Privacy Act Requester Service Center NORAD and USNORTHCOM Chief of Staff
250 Vandenberg St, Ste B016
Peterson AFB, CO 80914-3817
Coml (719) 554-7185 / DSN 692-7185

From: Jason Smathers

Hello,

No case number was provided -- please begin processing.

Thank you.

From: USNORTHCOM FOIA Officer - OMB

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

30 August 2013,

Mr. Smathers,

The subject request has been assigned USNORTHCOM FOIA Case number: FY13-30AUG2013-105.

You have requested records on USNORTHCOM's 5 oldest FOIA and Privacy Act requests.

As of 30 August 2013 we have received no payment from MuckRock for USNORTHCOM FOIA Case Number: FY13-06MAY2013-NNC49 (Congressional Committees) billed on 3 June 2013 and due 3 July 2013, MuckRock reference email: requests@muckrock.com. Payment is now more than 30 days overdue.

A second request for the same records FY13-06MAY2013-NNC50 and requests@muckrock.com was administratively closed on 6 May 2013 as being duplicate to FY13-06MAY2013-NNC49 and requests@muckrock.com.

A third request for the same records FY13-06MAY2013-NNC51 and requests@muckrock.com was administratively closed on 6 May 2013 as being duplicate to FY13-06MAY2013-NNC49 and requests@muckrock.com.

A fourth request for the same records FY13-06MAY2013-NNC52 and requests@muckrock.com was administratively closed on 6 May 2013 as being duplicate to FY13-06MAY2013-NNC49 and requests@muckrock.com. Additional correspondence was sent on 5 June 2013 to requests@muckrock.com attaching our final response to FY13-06MAY2013-NNC49 as requested as MuckRock closed their request requests@muckrock.com and wanted USNORTHCOM response sent to the request they had remaining open which was requests@muckrock.com.

Therefore, we have administratively closed the above request FY13-03AUG2013-105. Your administratively closed request may be resubmitted once the full amount owed, plus interest, is paid for FY13-06MAY2013-NNC49, MuckRock reference: 5244-82703208.

You may appeal USNORTHCOM's administrative closure of your request, in writing, within 30 calendar days of receipt of this determination. Appeals may be submitted to:
Mr. Jim Hogan
Chief, Policy, Appeals, and Litigation Branch Office of Freedom of Information
1155 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1155

Please note your request below lists two different mailing addresses for responses (Somerville and Boston).

Kris

KRISTINA L. ROTH, Civ, DAFC
Chief, FOIA and Privacy Act Requester Service Center NORAD and USNORTHCOM Chief of Staff

From: Jason Smathers

Hello,

As MuckRock has explained numerous times to USNORTHCOM, MuckRock requests are separate entirely from each other, not only in terms of subject matter but also by respective submitters. The purpose of MuckRock is to assist our users in submitting requests -- in almost every case, users are not our agents or employees. You'll note that FY13-30AUG2013-105 was submitted by MuckRock user Jason Smathers, while FY13-06MAY2013-NNC49 was submitted by MuckRock user Michael Morisy.

As they were submitted by separate individuals, it is altogether inappropriate for you to administratively close the request of one MuckRock user because of payments owed by another. Mr. Smathers does not owe any fees for records -- you must reopen his request at once and begin processing it, particularly in light of the fact that it is more than two years overdue since its original submission.

MuckRock will respond to issues of payment owed on FY13-06MAY2013-NNC49 under separate email through the appropriate inbox, as it has absolutely no connection to this request whatsoever.

Respectfully,

Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: USNORTHCOM FOIA Officer - OMB

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

3 September 2013

Mr. Musgrave/Mr. Smathers,

The subject request for the 5 oldest FOIA/PA requests at USNORTHCOM assigned USNORTHCOM FOIA case number: FY13-29AUG2013-105 has been reopened by USNORTHCOM on 3 September 2013.

In accordance with the Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Program, DoD 5400.7-R and United States Code, Title 5, Section 552 (a)(4)(a)(vi), we are processing your request for a fee waiver for the subject request.

(1) Please provide justification supporting your fee waiver request:

(a) How do the records concern the operations or activities of the government?

(b) Given the records concern the operations or activities of the government, how will disclosure likely contribute to public understanding of these operations and activities?

(c) If there is likely to be a contribution to public understanding, will release of the requested records contribute significantly to public understanding?

(d) Would disclosure be primarily in your commercial interest?

(e) Do you have the ability and intention to disseminate the information to the general public or a reasonably broad audience of persons interested in the subject?

(f) How and to whom do you intend to disseminate the information?

(g) How do you plan to use the information to contribute to public understanding of the Government's operations or activities?

Please respond to fee waiver questions above by 13 September 2013. If no response regarding fee waivers is received, USNORTHCOM will process the request without a fee waiver analysis and will assess all fees as appropriate.

Attached is our letter of acknowledgment. Please acknowledge receipt.

Please also clarify who the submitter of this request is: Shawn Musgrave or Jason Smathers. Please also clarify the address to send the response to. As indicated in my email sent on 30 August 2013 to Mr. Smathers, there are two different mailing addresses: "Please note your request below lists two different mailing addresses for responses (Somerville and Boston)".

Kris

KRISTINA L. ROTH, Civ, DAFC
Chief, FOIA and Privacy Act Requester Service Center NORAD and USNORTHCOM Chief of Staff
250 Vandenberg St, Ste B016
Peterson AFB, CO 80914-3817
Coml (719) 554-7185 / DSN 692-7185

From: Jason Smathers

Hello,

The submitter of this request is Jason Smathers. As a MuckRock employee, Shawn Musgrave has intervened to clarify issues and to liase between Mr. Smathers and USNORTHCOM, but Mr. Musgrave is not the requester.

The correct address for this request is:

MuckRock News
Dept MR318
PO Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

The Somerville address was current when the request was originally submitted two years ago.

Answers to fee waiver questions below:

==============

(a) How do the records concern the operations or activities of the government?

The requested records reflect the activities of USNORTHCOM's FOIA office. Specifically, they indicate workflow and efficiency of that office.

(b) Given the records concern the operations or activities of the government, how will disclosure likely contribute to public understanding of these operations and activities?

These records will help future FOIA requesters better gauge the realistic amount of time USNORTHCOM takes to process FOIA requests.

(c) If there is likely to be a contribution to public understanding, will release of the requested records contribute significantly to public understanding?

Yes, release of these records will contribute significantly to public understanding, as MuckRock will publish them in full for its users and any other interested FOIA requester.

(d) Would disclosure be primarily in your commercial interest?

No -- the disclosure is primarily in the interest in transparency and government openness.

(e) Do you have the ability and intention to disseminate the information to the general public or a reasonably broad audience of persons interested in the subject?

Yes: the requested records will be published in full on the MuckRock website.

(f) How and to whom do you intend to disseminate the information?

Yes: the requested records will be published in full on the MuckRock website. The requested records will be available to all vistors to that site without any fee.

(g) How do you plan to use the information to contribute to public understanding of the Government's operations or activities?

The requested records will be published in full on the MuckRock website as part of a series of requests to a number of federal agencies' FOIA offices, in an effort to compare their responsiveness and track record on FOIA requests.

==============

Thank you for considering the above fee waiver request, and for sorting out the confusion over this request.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Dec. 21, 2010. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #FY13-30AUG2013-NNC105.

Thank you for your help.

From: USNORTHCOM FOIA Officer - OMB

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

8 October 2013,

Our USNORTHCOM FOIA office is still processing your request assigned FOIA case number FY13-30AUG2013-105. We apologize that we could not meet the 20 day statutory response. We are unable to provide an estimated completion date at this time.

Kris

KRISTINA L. ROTH, Civ, DAFC
Chief, FOIA and Privacy Act Requester Service Center NORAD and USNORTHCOM Chief of Staff
250 Vandenberg St, Ste B016
Peterson AFB, CO 80914-3817
Coml (719) 554-7185 / DSN 692-7185

From: USNORTHCOM - US Northern Command

A cover letter granting the request and outlining any exempted materials, if any.

From: USNORTHCOM - US Northern Command

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: USNORTHCOM FOIA Officer - OMB

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

11 October 2013,

Mr. Smathers,

Attached is the cover letter of USNORTHCOM's final response to the subject FOIA request assigned USNORTHCOM FOIA case number: FY13-30AUG2013-105.

The attachments have been mailed to the address below due to the number of pages (262).

Kris

KRISTINA L. ROTH, Civ, DAFC
Chief, FOIA and Privacy Act Requester Service Center NORAD and USNORTHCOM Chief of Staff
250 Vandenberg St, Ste B016
Peterson AFB, CO 80914-3817
Coml (719) 554-7185 / DSN 692-7185

From: USNORTHCOM - US Northern Command

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Dec. 21, 2010. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #FY13-30AUG2013-NNC105.

Thank you for your help.

From: USNORTHCOM FOIA Officer - OMB

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Mr. Smathers,

The attached response was emailed on 11 October 2013. A package was sent in the mail to the Boston address listed on 11 October 2013.

USNORTHCOM FOIA

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