Emma Best filed this request with the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America.

It is a clone of this request.

Tracking #

1367572-000, DOJ-AP-2018-003518



Est. Completion None
Awaiting Appeal


From: Michael Best

To Whom It May Concern:

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

Records relating to or mentioning Peter Deriabin (1921-1992) (Петр Дерябин), who was a Russian Communist Party member, World War II veteran, SMERSH agent, and KGB agent who later defected to the United States. He started working for the Central Intelligence Agency, went to graduate school, and wrote several books on the KGB. He died in 1992 at age 71. Proof of death is not required as his death has been widely and extensively reported by the media and is known to the FBI. For instance, it was reported by the New York Times on August 31, 1992. For your convenience:

Please conduct a search of the Central Records System, including but not limited to the ELSUR Records System, the Microphone Surveillance (MISUR) Indices, the Physical Surveillance (FISUR) Indices, and the Technical Surveillance (TESUR) Indices, for both main-file records and cross-reference records for all relevant names, individuals, agencies and companies. If any potentially responsive records have been destroyed and/or transferred to NARA, then I request copies of the destruction or transfer slips as well as any other documentation relating to, mentioning or describing said transfer or destruction, to include but not be limited to confirmation that the Bureau has no other copies of said records (as the Bureau has posted copies of records that it previously said were transferred to NARA such as the Tokyo Rose file).

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. Per DOJ FOIA guidance, "a requester should be granted a fee waiver if the requested information (1) sheds light on the activities and operations of the government; (2) is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of those operations and activities; and (3) is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester." As this FOIA meets all of those requirements (see above), a fee waiver is warranted.

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.


Michael Best

From: FOIPARequest

Dear Mr. Best,

Before the FBI can process your Freedom of Information Act/Privacy (FOIPA) request you must provide the following information highlighted with an “X” Mark.

_____A current and complete mailing address is required as the FBI does not send releases and/or correspondence by electronic means. (Unless the request has already been submitted through eFOIPA.)

_____Proof of death is required such as: (death certificate, obituary, written media, recognized source that can be documented, Who’s Who in America, FBI file that indicates subject is deceased, or the Social Security Death Index Page). Proof of death is not required if date of birth is 100 years ago or greater but a date of birth is needed

__x___A website link in itself does not satisfy the proof of death requirement (Please provide the actual documentation and source)

_____The U. S. Department of Justice DOJ-361 Form<> (Certification of Identity) requires an original and legible signature

_____ The U. S. Department of Justice DOJ-361 Form<> (Certification of Identity) and/or privacy waiver must be completed before a Privacy Act request can be processed. Please send the attachment or attachments independently in either a Word Document or PDF.

_____The U. S. Department of Justice DOJ-361 Form<> (Certification of Identity) and/or privacy waiver is not legible, properly sized or cannot be accessed in the submitted format. Please send the attachment or attachments independently in either a Word Document or PDF. The documents must be compatible with Microsoft Office 2007 products.

_____Other information as stated:

_____The attachments cannot be opened in the present format. Please resend either as a pdf or a Word Document.

Please complete and submit the required information in order for the FBI to process your request.

Information regarding the Freedom of Information Act/Privacy is available at or If you require additional assistance please contact me.

Thank you,

Leanna Ramsey
Public Information Officer
Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS) FBI-Records Management Division
170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
Direct: (540) 868-4593
Fax: (540) 868-4391/4997
Questions E-mail:<>


Do you have further questions about the FOI/PA process? Visit us at

Please check the status of your request online at Status updates are performed on a weekly basis.

From: Michael Best

Proof of death, along with proof that the Bureau maintained a file on him, may be found in the RIDS Dead List under "PETER SERGEYEVICH DERIABIN"

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

A fix is required to perfect the request.

From: Michael Best

I am appealing the determination that I did not provide proof of death. Per the FBI's own standards, an FBI file is acceptable proof of death. I not only cited such an FBI file, I provided a link to it. However, this is not necessary as the file is not only in the possession of the Bureau but is managed by the Records Management Division and immediately available to all FOIA staff. The refusal to accept this is a hostile and adverse position adopted solely to obstruct and delay the FOIA process.


04/13/2017 10:44 AM FOIA Request: DOJ-AP-2017-003500


DOJ-AP-2017-003500 has been processed with the following final disposition: Completely reversed/remanded.

  • Best, Michael, AP-2017-003500, FBI, soft remand, deceased, Appeal resp

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

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

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

The request has been rejected by the agency.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

A no responsive documents response.

From: Emma Best

I am appealing the integrity of the search, based in part (but not limited to) the FBI's premature and false declaration that no records existed.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

03/31/2018 10:34 PM FOIA Request: DOJ-AP-2018-003518

From: Muckrock Staff

To Whom It May Concern:
I wanted to follow up on the following request, copied below. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response.
Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.

From: Muckrock Staff

To Whom It May Concern:
I wanted to follow up on the following request, copied below. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response.
Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.