|Submitted||Feb. 16, 2017|
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To Whom It May Concern:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:
Records and communications relating to the apparent decision to not pursue charges against Michael Flynn regarding phone calls and other contacts with Russian officials.
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. Per DOJ FOIA guidance, "a requester should be granted a fee waiver if the requested information (1) sheds light on the activities and operations of the government; (2) is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of those operations and activities; and (3) is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester." As this FOIA meets all of those requirements (see above), a fee waiver is warranted.
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.
Dear Mr. Best,
The FBI has received your Freedom of Information/Privacy Act (FOIPA) request and it will be forwarded to Initial Processing for review. Your request will be processed under the provisions of FOIPA and a response will be mailed to you at a later date.
Requests for fee waivers and expedited processing will be addressed once your request has been assigned an FOIPA request number. You will receive written notification of the FBI’s decision.
Please be advised, beginning Wednesday, March 1, 2017, you will no longer be able to submit FOIPA requests via email. On this date, FOIPARequest@ic.fbi.gov<mailto:FOIPARequest@ic.fbi.gov> will permanently be taken offline and requests will need to be submitted using the FBI’s electronic FOIPA portal at https://efoia.fbi.gov, after development and testing for two years. With this full implementation, eFOIPA will provide the FBI with an automated process for the receipt and opening of requests, replacing the current manual process and substantially reducing the time it takes to receive and open each electronic request received. Given the FBI's high volume of requests, this will significantly increase efficiency.
The terms of service for the site will be modified to allow the uploading of attachments, to remove the limitation on the number of requests received each day by the application, to remove limitation on the number of requests which may be submitted by an individual per day, and increase availability to seven days a week-24 hours a day.
The eFOIPA system will allow requests of all types – e.g.; Privacy Act, deceased individuals, policies/procedures, events, organizations, etc. Requesters will:
• Receive digital confirmation directly on their email account.
• No longer have to wait for responses to be received using standard mail.
• View transmitted responses and releases from the convenience of their smart phone or tablet.
The FBI’s eFOIPA portal was designed and developed to be the FBI’s primary means for receiving FOIA and Privacy Act requests.
Should you have questions about preparing or submitting your request using this new service, you may email firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com> or contact the Public Information Officer directly at 540-868-4593. Alternatively, you may submit your request using fax or standard mail.
Information regarding the FOIPA is available at http://www.fbi.gov<http://www.fbi.gov>/ or http://www.fbi.gov/foia/<http://www.fbi.goiv/foia/>. If you require additional assistance please contact the Public Information Officer.
Public Information Officer
Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS) FBI-Records Management Division
170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
Direct: (540) 868-4593
Fax: (540) 868-4391/4997
Questions E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>
PLEASE REPLY DIRECTLY TO FOIPAREQUEST@IC.FBI.GOV
Do you have further questions about the FOI/PA process? Visit us at http://www.fbi.gov/foia
Please check the status of your request online at https://vault.fbi.gov/fdps-1/@@search-fdps. Status updates are performed on a weekly basis.
An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.
To Whom It May Concern:
I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Feb. 16, 2017. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.
Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.
The request has been rejected, with the agency stating that it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of the requested documents.