Email system documentation (Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense)

Emma North-Best filed this request with the Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense of the United States of America.
Tracking #


Est. Completion None
Fix Required


From: Michael Best

To Whom It May Concern:

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

Documentation describing the email system(s) used by your agency, including the procedures and methods for performing searches of the email system.

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.


Michael Best

From: Gerow, Corynne N CIV WHS ESD (US)

Mr. Best,

Please find attached our final response to your Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA) request submitted and received on February 22, 2017. If you have any
questions, you may contact me, the action officer assigned your request,

Thank You,
Corynne N. Gerow
OSD/JS FOIA Specialist

Please note that the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) offers
services to requesters who have disputes with Federal agencies. If you have
concerns about the processing of your request, please contact OGIS at:

Office of Government Information Services
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road-OGIS
College Park, MD 20740
Telephone: 202-741-5770
Fax: 202-741-5769
Toll-free: 1-877-684-6448

From: MuckRock

I am appealing the patently false declaration that they were unable to determine a way to begin the search. This could be easily done and in compliance with FOIA statute and case law by contacting the people responsible for the installation, maintenance and upkeep regarding the email system. Case law requires former employees to even be contacted about locating documents which would fulfill a FOIA request, so there is no doubt that it also requires them to contact current employees. This would have been a simple, straightforward and effective measure well within the scope of the FOIA.

From: Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.



Mr. Best,

Good Afternoon. I hope all is well.

This email is concerning your March 14, 2017 FOIA appeal. You appealed the Office of Freedom of Information's (OFOI) February 27, 2017 response to your February 22, 2017 request.

I have spoken with Mrs. Stephanie Carr, the Chief of OFOI, about this case and she has agreed to reopen your request to continue processing it. Since OFOI has agreed to reopen your initial request, your appeal is now moot.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me directly.


Danaeka Spear
Chief, Appeal Branch


Mr. Best,

Attached please find our final response to your Freedom of Information Act request dated February 22, 2017, a copy of which is enclosed for your convenience. Your request was assigned case number 17-F-0580. Thank you.


OSD/JS Office of Freedom of Information
(571) 372-0419