FBI UAV Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (Federal Aviation Administration)

Emma Best filed this request with the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States of America.
Tracking #

18-011184

Multi Request FBI UAV Certificates of Waiver or Authorization
Status
Processing

Communications

From: Emma Best


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

Copies of Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COAs) granted to the FBI from 1995 to the present, along with applications/requests submitted by the FBI regardless of whether they were granted or not.

I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I have previously written about the government and its activities, 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 non-profits such as the Internet Archive and MuckRock, 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 my primary purpose is to inform about government activities by reporting on it and making the raw data available, I 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,

Emma Best

From: Federal Aviation Administration

Dear Ms. Best,

Your request has been processed and assigned within the FAA. The attached letter contains contact information for the organization responding to your request should you want to check the status.

Respectfully,

FAA FOIA Office

From: Federal Aviation Administration

Ms. Best,

AJV-115 has received your FOIA request for all copies of Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COAs) granted to the FBI from 1995 to the present, along with applications/requests submitted by the FBI. There are several databases that would need to be search for these numerous records. The estimated number of search hours would be 25 hours at a rate of $41.00 an hour. As an "All Other" fee category, the first 2 hours of search are of no charge making the total estimate $943.00. Please advise how you would like to proceed.

Dana Whitman/Crown Consulting, Inc.
Management and Program Analyst
Emerging Technologies, AJV-115
Retired FAA Air Traffic Control Specialist
C: 703-728-6979
__l__
\---@--('_')--@---/

From: Emma Best

I am appealing the decision that I am an "all other" requester, as I am a member of the news media and the FAA is prohibited from charging search fees. I further appeal the denial of my fee waiver.

Per the original request:

I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I have previously written about the government and its activities, 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 non-profits such as the Internet Archive and MuckRock, 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.

-----

My status as news media is recognized by DOJ, FBI, NSA, CIA and numerous other agencies. My by-lines include MuckRock, Motherboard, Property of the People, Unicorn Riot, AND Magazine and other outlets, with some of my articles receiving over 100,000 readers. I am listed as a contributor to MuckRock. There is NO basis for denying me news media status and charging search fees,

From: Federal Aviation Administration

Ms. Best,

I am following up in connection with the e-mail below.

Please note your options at this point are to accept the fee estimate or rescope your request in order to minimize or eliminate the applicable fees.

Please respond by COB October 11, 2018 or you request will be closed.

Thank you,

Ryan Tribue
Program Analyst
Federal Aviation Administration ATO
Emerging Technologies (AJV-115)
470 L'Enfant Plaza SW
Washington, DC 20024

From: Federal Aviation Administration

Ms. Best,

This email is a follow-up to the estimate sent on September 26, 2018. Please advise if you will accept the fee estimate so that we may begin our search, reduce the scope of the request to minimize fees, or cancel the request. If we do receive a response by October 10, 2018, we will consider this case CLOSED.
Best Regards,
Dana Whitman

From: Federal Aviation Administration

Ms. Best,

My apologies. I did not realize that my co-worker had also sent you a follow-up email with a deadline date. We will honor October 11, 2018 for your response. Please reply to both Ryan and I.

Dana

From: Emma Best

Just go ahead and close the request so I can appeal your wildly improper denial of news media status, and attempt to charge unreasonable search fees that, per statute, you would be barred from charging even if I weren't news media because you have failed to fulfill the request (or respond with your improper fee request) within the time limit allowed by statute.

Alternately, you can look at the original request and my follow up, and see that both the facts, case law and precedent firmly establish that I am a member of the news media.

That said, I haven't sued your agency yet or made plans to. That could be fun.

Files

pages

Close