Detailed Inquiry on Prolific and High-Profile FOIA Requesters

Jordan Lassiter filed this request with the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America.
Tracking #

A-2024-00763

1615273-000

1615258-000

Due Feb. 16, 2024
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

From: Jordan Lassiter

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Attn: FOIA Request
Record/Information Dissemination Section
170 Marcel Drive
Winchester, VA 22602-4843

Subject: Freedom of Information Act Request: Detailed Inquiry on Prolific and High-Profile FOIA Requesters

Dear FOIA Officer,

Under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552), I am requesting records pertaining to prolific and high-profile individuals or entities who have submitted FOIA requests to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Specifics of the Request:

Records, including logs or databases, detailing the number and nature of FOIA requests submitted by identified prolific or high-profile requesters from January 1, 2020, to the present.
Reports, memos, or analyses regarding the handling or impact of these requests.
Internal guidelines or policies addressing the management of requests from these specific categories of requesters.
Correspondence related to the processing or policy-making for these requesters.
Legal Precedents Supporting this Request:

In NLRB v. Robbins Tire & Rubber Co., 437 U.S. 214 (1978), the Supreme Court emphasized the importance of a broad interpretation of FOIA to ensure disclosure of government information.
The D.C. Circuit in Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Commerce, 34 F. Supp. 2d 28 (D.D.C. 1998), held that non-commercial requesters should not bear the full cost of FOIA processing, supporting my request for a fee waiver.
In Department of Justice v. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 489 U.S. 749 (1989), the Court recognized the public interest in understanding government activities, underscoring the importance of the requested information.
Fee Waiver Justification:

I request a waiver of all fees associated with this request. The Supreme Court, in Department of Justice v. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, affirmed the public interest standard for fee waivers. The disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it contributes significantly to understanding the FBI's handling of FOIA requests, particularly from prolific or high-profile requesters. This request is not for commercial purposes.

Response Time and Appeal Process:

In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(A), I expect a response to this request within 20 business days. In case of a denial or partial denial, I request a detailed justification, citing specific exemptions as established in Vaughn v. Rosen, 484 F.2d 820 (D.C. Cir. 1973).

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. I look forward to your compliance within the stipulated timeframe, as mandated by FOIA.

Sincerely,

Jordan Lassiter

Enclosures:
Fee Waiver Request Letter
Screenshot of the KTLA Article for Reference

Please be aware: All communications related to this request, including incoming and outgoing communications, will be publicly available on MuckRock.com. Additionally, any correspondence in relation to this request will be instantly published on the platform.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

There are eFOIA files available for you to download.

  • E6702522324ba869936cdb99f2ff40f25f67336638ba6f5864a_Q209187_D165146471

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

There are eFOIA files available for you to download.

  • E6702522324ba869936cdb99f2ff40f25f67336638ba6f5864a_Q209060_D165147872

From: Jordan Lassiter

Director, Office of Information Policy (OIP)
United States Department of Justice
441 G Street, NW, 6th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20530

Subject: Appeal for FOIA Request No.: 1615273-000

Dear Director,

I am writing to appeal the decision of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to deny my Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request referenced above. The FBI cited exemptions (b)(6) and (b)(7)(C) of the FOIA, which concern unwarranted invasions of personal privacy. I respectfully contest this decision on the following grounds, supported by relevant case law and precedent:

Public Interest and Case Law: The Supreme Court in Department of Justice v. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 489 U.S. 749 (1989), emphasized that FOIA’s central purpose is to ensure an informed citizenry, vital for the functioning of a democratic society. This decision underscores the importance of transparency and public access to government records.

Balancing Test for Privacy Concerns: In National Archives and Records Administration v. Favish, 541 U.S. 157 (2004), the Supreme Court held that the requester must show that the public interest sought is significant and that the information is likely to advance that interest. In this case, the information requested is critical for understanding the FBI's procedures in handling FOIA requests, which is of substantial public interest.

Limited Scope of Request: The request does not seek sensitive personal details but focuses on the procedural handling of requests. U.S. Department of Defense v. FLRA, 510 U.S. 487 (1994) supports the argument that the release of information primarily concerning government operations does not typically impinge on personal privacy.

Precedent for Disclosure: Similar information was released by the FBI in 2017, as evidenced by MuckRock News (https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2017/mar/10/fbis-2016-vexsome-filer-list-whos-who-foia/). This sets a precedent for disclosing such information, aligning with the principles of transparency and accountability.

In light of the case law cited and the precedent set by previous disclosures, I respectfully request that the Office of Information Policy re-evaluate the decision to deny my FOIA request and consider releasing the requested records.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. I look forward to your response and hope for a decision that upholds the principles of transparency and accountability central to FOIA.

Sincerely,

Jordan Lassiter

  • E6702522324ba869936cdb99f2ff40f25f67336638ba6f5864a_Q209060_D165147872

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

The Office of Information Policy has received your FOIA Appeal.  Please see the attached acknowledgment letter.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

The Office of Information Policy has made its final determination on your FOIA Appeal Number A-2024-00763 .  A copy of this determination is enclosed for your review, along with any enclosures, if applicable.  Thank you.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

A fix is required to perfect the request.

From: Jordan Lassiter

Federal Bureau of Investigation Attn: FOIA Officer Record/Information Dissemination Section 170 Marcel Drive Winchester, VA 22602-4843

Subject: Response to Notification of Fix Required for FOIA Appeal A-2024-00763

Dear FOIA Officer,

I am writing in response to your communication dated March 14, 2024, regarding the fix required to perfect my FOIA request appeal, referenced as A-2024-00763. I appreciate your continued attention to this matter.

Upon review of your notification and the accompanying explanation of exemptions, I wish to address the concerns raised and provide the necessary clarification to ensure the timely and accurate processing of my appeal.

Exemption Application: I acknowledge the exemptions cited under Subsections of Title 5, United States Code, Section 552. However, I contend that the information requested falls outside the scope of these exemptions, particularly (b)(6) and (b)(7)(C). My appeal centers on records pertinent to the procedural handling of FOIA requests from prolific and high-profile individuals or entities, which primarily involve government operations rather than personal matters. As established by relevant case law, the disclosure of such information serves the public interest by fostering transparency and accountability within government agencies.

In Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press v. FBI, 489 U.S. 749 (1989), the Supreme Court emphasized the fundamental purpose of FOIA to ensure transparency in government activities, underscoring the public interest in accessing information.

Furthermore, in NLRB v. Robbins Tire & Rubber Co., 437 U.S. 214 (1978), the Court highlighted the importance of a broad interpretation of FOIA to facilitate the disclosure of government information.

Precedent and Public Interest: The Supreme Court's interpretation of FOIA in Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press underscores the importance of public access to government records to ensure an informed citizenry. Moreover, the release of similar information by the FBI in the past, as evidenced by the MuckRock News article, establishes a precedent for disclosing records related to FOIA requesters. Given these precedents and the significant public interest in understanding government procedures, I respectfully request reconsideration of my appeal.

FOIA Addendum and Standard Search Policy: I acknowledge the information provided regarding the FBI FOIPA Addendum and standard search policy. I assure you that my request aligns with the standard search criteria outlined and does not seek records falling under exemptions related to intelligence sources, methods, or activities.

In light of the foregoing, I kindly request that the fix required for my FOIA appeal be addressed promptly to facilitate the resolution of this matter. Should any further clarification or documentation be necessary, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for your attention to this request. I look forward to your prompt response.

Sincerely,

Jordan Lassiter

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

A letter stating that the request appeal has been succesful.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

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

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

A letter stating that the request appeal has been succesful.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

A letter stating that the request appeal has been succesful.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

A letter stating that the request appeal has been succesful.

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