Army Corps of Engineers SF District/FB email correspondence

Sarah Emerson filed this request with the US Army Corps of Engineers - San Francisco District of the United States of America.
Est. Completion None
Status
Withdrawn

Communications

From: Sarah Emerson

To Whom It May Concern:

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

All staff emails from the US Army Corps of Engineers San Francisco District that containing addresses ending in "@fb.com" in the to and/or from lines. This request is for emails between January 1, 2012 until the time this request is processed.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes. They will be used in the course of reporting for Motherboard, VICE's science and tech site (www.motherboard.vice.com).

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request, and I ask that this be processed in the "media" fee category. 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,

Sarah Emerson

From: Dowdy, Sandra L CIV USARMY CESPN (US)

Ms. Emerson,

Please see the attached response to your FOIA Request. If you would like to rescope your request, please feel to contact me.

Sandra Dowdy
FOIA Officer
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
San Francisco District
415-503-6759

From: Sarah Emerson

Hi Sandra,

I apologize for the confusion. Here's a reworded version of my request that is hopefully more clear:

All staff emails to or from email addresses ending in "@fb.com," between January 1, 2012 and the time this request is processed.

Please let me know if you need further clarification.

Thank you!
Sarah

From: Dowdy, Sandra L CIV USARMY CESPN (US)

Ms. Emerson,

I apologize if I'm missing something here, but I don't see a substantive difference between your original request and the rewording. I'm here until 3:00 if you'd like to discuss this, and am here tomorrow starting at 6 am.

Sandra

From: Sarah Emerson

Hi Sandra,

Could you provide more information about the parameters of your search capabilities? Are you saying that you're unable to search for emails that are to and from a specific address?

Best,
Sarah

From: Dowdy, Sandra L CIV USARMY CESPN (US)

Hi Sarah,

I am fine with discussing your request, but it would be easier to do it by phone. Having said that, once I was told by our IT department that they didn't have the capability to do this search it became a "no records" response so I sent you the denial and closed your request. I am not part of the IT group, so don't know the technical details of what limits their capabilities to respond to your request. I'll try to find out later today and will share with you whatever they tell me. But, let's say that was not the issue. Your request would still not be perfected. Your request clearly meets the definition of a fishing expedition and we do not process fishing expeditions. In that case, you would be asked to narrow your request. The third paragraph of your request uses language similar to the requirements for a fee waiver. If that was your intent, you did not provide enough information for me to determine if you qualify for a fee waiver and again, I would have asked you to provide more information. But, first you have to specifically ask for a fee waiver. You asked that your request be processed as a media request, but didn't state that you worked for a media organization. And, in 2015 OGIS determined that requests made through the MuckRock site are commercial requests. Since we have "no records" the other issues became moot. If you want to resubmit your request please feel free to contact me so that we can craft a request that meets the FOIA requirements.

Here is a link to our FOIA website: http://www.usace.army.mil/FOIA.aspx. This site has lots of useful information, including an example of a FOIA request letter.

v/r,

Sandra

From: Dowdy, Sandra L CIV USARMY CESPN (US)

Hi Sarah,

My apologies for not getting back to you sooner, but determining if we can do this search has been a challenge. As it turns out, we may be able to. If you are still interested in this information, please send me a new request. One of the items that must be included in a perfected FOIA request is a statement from the requester stating a willingness to pay fees. Based on the 2015 OGIS guidance, your request will fall in the commercial category and you will be responsible for all of the costs (i.e., search, review, copying). I am trying to get an estimate of what it will cost, but this is such an uncommon request that the staff who will generate the report are unsure of what it will cost. As I stated in my email below, narrowing the scope of your request can also decrease the cost. Bear in mind, any records found will have to be individually reviewed, and the staff cost for that is $44/hr. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

v/r,

Sandra

From: Dowdy, Sandra L CIV USARMY CESPN (US)

H Sarah,

I just today heard back from the IT folks with an estimate of the cost to run the search that you requested. Our IT folks do not have the capability to run the search, but Army does. They estimate that it will take approximately $750 to run the search and the wait time for the emails would be approximately 2-3 weeks. All of the emails would have to be reviewed before they could be released. Since I don't have an estimate of how many there will be, I can't provide an estimate of that cost. But, the charge would be $44/hr. If you would like to go forward with your request, please submit a new FOIA request stating your willingness to pay all associated fees for the search, review, and copying.

Thanks.

Sandra Dowdy
FOIA Officer
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
San Francisco District
415-503-6759

From: Sarah Emerson

Hi Sandra,

Thanks so much for the update! I'm not sure if it's showing up on your end, but I withdrew my request this morning.

Best,
Sarah

From: Dowdy, Sandra L CIV USARMY CESPN (US)

Hi Sarah,

Thank you for letting me know. I checked, and there is nothing in our FOIA mail box, so I'll just use your email.

v/r,

Sandra

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