Emails between Anna Peckham and Tom Cotton

J.K. Trotter filed this request with the National Reconnaissance Office of the United States of America.
Tracking # F15-0009
Est. Completion None
Status
No Responsive Documents

Communications

From: J.K. Trotter

To Whom It May Concern:

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

All electronic correspondence (emails), dated between January 1 2012 and December 31 2014, between an employee of the National Reconnaissance Office named Anna Peckham (married name: Anna Cotton) and an individual named Thomas Cotton (a.k.a. Tom Cotton).

I am willing to accept immediately releasable portions of my request in anticipation of a full response.

In order to have this request fulfilled in a timely matter, I am also willing to limit my request to clearly releasable portions of the requested documents. I reserve the right, however, to submit a new request if I am not satisfied with your response.

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.

Sincerely,

J.K. Trotter

From: National Reconnaissance Office

A fix is required to perfect the request.

From: J.K. Trotter

Ms. Cameresi,

This is a formal appeal of your written determination, dated September 29 2014, of my FOIA request seeking emails between Anna Peckham and Tom Cotton. You assigned my FOIA request tracking number F14-0148.

In your determination, you write that “we are unable to process your request as presented” due to certain provisions of the Privacy Act, which prohibit the “the disclosure of any records to any person, without the written consent of the individual to whom the records pertain.”

I am not seeking, and never said I was seeking, any records that would be potentially releasable under the Privacy Act. I am not seeking, and never said I was seeking, what you call “the maximum amount of releasable information” responsive to my request under both the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act. I am solely seeking records that would be releasable under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Freedom of Information Act mandates the release of certain agency records, including, in certain cases, official correspondence between government employees and members of the public, including public officials, journalists, and other individuals. Anna Peckham was a government employee, and Tom Cotton was (and remains) a public official: An elected Congressman in Arkansas. These facts are indisputable.

I have submitted similar requests—where I seek records of correspondence between a particular employee and a member of the public— to many other federal agencies with extremely little hassle. The FOIA officers at those agencies understand that I am not seeking information releasable under the Privacy Act; if I were, I would have included a letter indicating the written consent of the individuals to whom the records pertain.

Furthermore, the fact that a particular record “pertains to an individual” does not in and of itself prohibit its disclosure under FOIA. Almost every single record released under FOIA pertains, in some way, to a particular individual—whether the individual is named in the record or created the record itself. Indeed, the Privacy Act provisions you cite contain numerous exceptions to the standard of whether a record pertains to an individual:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/5/552

If you believe a certain subset of the requested records fall under the Privacy Act, then please withhold them or redact them. But you are not entitled to withhold the entirety of the requested records because some of those records may be protected under the Privacy Act.

Please process my original request under the Freedom of Information Act, and withhold or redact any records whose release would violate the personal privacy of any individuals.

Thank you, and sincerely,
J.K. Trotter

From: National Reconnaissance Office

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Sept. 24, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #F15-0009.

Thank you for your help.

From:

Mr. Trotter,

Search for documents responsive to your request is still in process. At this point, we expect that complete response to your request may require an additional three to six months.

Dave Beard
(Contract) Lead Case Analyst
CIO/IMSO/IRRG/Public Programs Team
National Reconnaissance Office

From: J.K. Trotter

Hi David,

Thanks for the response. Is the additional time required because of difficulty locating the records, or is it required because the records have been found but need to be processed/redacted? (Or maybe something else?) In any case I appreciate the update, and will look out for a response later this year.

J.K. Trotter

From:

Mr. Trotter,

Both of the factors you mention come into play, or will come into play in completing your request. My understanding from the technical folks we consult in cases similar to yours is that a fair amount of “digging” is involved in locating responsive documents, partially just due to the sheer bulk of the systems being searched. I’ve been informed that I can expect this phase of processing to be complete very soon.

I try not to be unreasonably optimistic in estimating completion times; we will, of course, provide a response as soon as we can. In the mean time, if you’d like an update on progress, please feel free to contact us via email (please include FOIA@nro.mil<mailto:FOIA@nro.mil> as an addressee, just in case I’m temporarily out of touch)or by calling the Requester Services Center at 703-227-9326.

Dave Beard
(Contract) Lead Case Analyst
CIO/IMSO/IRRG/Public Programs Team
National Reconnaissance Office
703-227-9162

From: J.K. Trotter

Got it, thank you for the clarification. Have a wonderful weekend.

J.K. Trotter

From: National Reconnaissance Office

A no responsive documents response.

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