Contras manual

Emma Best filed this request with the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America.
Tracking # F-2017-01414
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Appeal

Communications

From: Michael Best

To Whom It May Concern:

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

A copy of the "90-page psychological warfare manual" produced for Nicaraguan rebels in the late 1970s or early 1980s. A copy of the manual was provided by the Associated Press to the House Intelligence Committee on October 1, 1984.

I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I have previously written about the government and its activities for AND Magazine, MuckRock and Glomar Disclosure and have an open arrangement with each. My articles have been widely read, with some reaching over 100,000 readers. As such, as I have a reasonable expectation of publication and my editorial and writing skills are well established. In addition, I discuss and comment on the files online and make them available through the non-profit Internet Archive, disseminating them to a large audience. While my research is not limited to this, a great deal of it, including this, focuses on the activities and attitudes of the government itself. As such, it is not necessary for me to demonstrate the relevance of this particular subject in advance. Additionally, case law states that “proof of the ability to disseminate the released information to a broad cross-section of the public is not required.” Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Dep’t of Justice, 365 F.3d 1108, 1126 (D.C. Cir. 2004); see Carney v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 19 F.3d 807, 814-15 (2d Cir. 1994). Further, courts have held that "qualified because it also had “firm” plans to “publish a number of . . . ‘document sets’” concerning United States foreign and national security policy." Under this criteria, as well, I qualify as a member of the news media. Additionally, courts have held that the news media status "focuses on the nature of the requester, not its request. The provision requires that the request be “made by” a representative of the news media. Id. § 552(a)(4)(A)(ii)(II). A newspaper reporter, for example, is a representative of the news media regardless of how much interest there is in the story for which he or she is requesting information." As such, the details of the request itself are moot for the purposes of determining the appropriate fee category. As such, my primary purpose is to inform about government activities by reporting on it and making the raw data available and I therefore request that fees be waived.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

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. 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,

Michael Best

From: Central Intelligence Agency

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: Central Intelligence Agency

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: M Best

Thank you for your response, however a copy of the incomplete document already released through CREST does not satisfy the underlying needs of my request*. I am notifying you directly rather than filing an appeal, as seems to have been what you requested in your response letter. If I misunderstood, please let me know so that I can formulate an appeal.

Thanks!

*I do, however, appreciate your attempt to provide me with materials as rapidly as possible and without charging for duplication. Please don't interpret my response as criticism of this.

From: Central Intelligence Agency

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: Emma Best

I am appealing the Agency's decision that these records are sufficiently responsive. They are not. Nothing new was reviewed, the pages were incomplete, and did not fully fulfill my request. No attempt was made to re-review the material or to locate anything new. The Agency asked if it fulfilled my FOIA request, I said no, and the Agency responded by CLOSING the FOIA request. This hardly seems appropriate or in good faith.

From: Central Intelligence Agency

A letter stating that the request appeal has been received and is being processed.

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