Email system documentation (U.S. Department of State)

Emma Best filed this request with the U.S. Department of State of the United States of America.
Tracking # F-2017-10894
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:

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.

Sincerely,

Michael Best

From: Wood, Katrina M

Mr. Best - This is in response to your April 11, 2017 fax. Would you please refax your FOIA request to 202 261-8579 with the subject "FOIA Request" and not "Follow-up on the following Freedom of Information Act Request". FOIA Request has stated that they are not in receipt of your February 22, 2017 FOIA request, and ask that you file the request again by fax to: 202 261-8579.

If you continue to send in your FOIA request as a follow-up request, it will come to FOIA Status and not FOIA Request for action.

To restate, you should refax your FOIA request dated February 22, 2017 to "FOIA Request" at 202 261-8579, as a new FOIA request. You may also mail the February 22, 2017 FOIA request to: US Department of State, Office of Information and Programs and Service, Requester Communication Branch, 515 22nd Street, NW, SA-02, Room 8100, Washington, DC 20522.

Please do not fax a follow-up FOIA request to 202 261-8579.

Sincerely,

Katrina Wood

FOIA Requester Service Center

Official - Transitory
UNCLASSIFIED

From: MuckRock

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.

Sincerely,

Michael Best

From: U.S. Department of State

A fix is required to perfect the request.

From: M Best

I am appealing the determination that I have not adequately described the records. Anyone familiar with the installation and maintenance of the email system would be able to locate the basic documentation I have asked for.

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