DHS I&A Customer Surveys

Jason Smathers filed this request with the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Intelligence & Analysis of the United States of America.


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 emails received by DHS which were sent to IA.feedback@hq.dhs.gov between January 1, 2010 and the date this request is processed.

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.


Jason Smathers
Filed via MuckRock.com
E-mail (Preferred): requests@muckrock.com
Daytime: (617) 299-1832
For mailed responses, please address:
185 Beacon St. #3
Somerville, MA 02143

From: Department of Homeland Security

From: Jason Smathers

to: William.Holzerland@dhs.gov
attachment: http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/31719/fee-required.pdf

Mr. Holzerland,

I appreciate your past help and I bring this matter to you in hopes of avoiding another appeal or OGIS mediation. Thank you for your past help, which was very much appreciated. I hope you are able to assist in this matter as well.

Attached is a letter from Quinton Mason of the DHS OI&A's FOIA office. I requested copies of emails sent to the I&A account setup to receive customer service surveys. These emails are presumably stored in electronic format and can easily be transfered to CD ROM. In my initial request I asked to be considered news media.

Mr. Mason is requesting I pay for search and review fees. By knowledge and belief from being credentialed in Information Systems and having a strong IT background, the computer search for emails to a specific address within a specific time frame can be completed in less than 2 hours. The fee category of news media vs. other in this case should have no bearing. Furthermore, review fees are not chargeable to either news media or other requesters and are only billable to commercial requesters. Therefore the search and review fees billed by Mr. Mason should be eliminated.

Finally, Mr. Mason is proposing large copy fees for this request based on printing the records. These are electronic records which presumably fit on a single CD. I ask that the cost for this request be limited to a reasonable amount based on the cost to create this electronic copy.

Thank you for your help.

Jason Smathers

From: Disclosure Policy & FOIA Program Development

Good morning Mr. Smathers,
I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you on this, but I was out on Friday and I'm trying to get caught up. At any rate, review fees are only chargeable to commercial requesters and requesters in the all other category are entitled to 2 hours of free search time, as well as 100 pages of paper copies free, and pay $0.10/page for duplication beyond that. I do not concur with your statement below that search fees must be eliminated. However, as you say below, you're seeking electronic copies of any responsive records that may exist. As such, I&A can charge direct costs for the search time (pursuant to § 5.11(c)(1)(iii) of our regs) and for the electronic duplication (under § 5.11(c)(2)). I spoke with my colleagues at I&A and in light of our conversation, I don't take issue with the amount of estimated search time listed in the letter at this point. My understanding is that the estimated search time listed in the letter was based off an estimate from I&A's IT specialists. Regardless, I have suggested my I&A colleagues revisit the language and the figures in the letter to ensure all is correct.
William H. Holzerland, CIPP/G
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Associate Director,
Disclosure Policy & FOIA Program Development
(703) 235-0790

From: Department of Homeland Security