Fred Phelps (Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense)

Jason Smathers filed this request with the Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense of the United States of America.
Tracking # 14-F-0617
Est. Completion None
Status
No Responsive Documents

Communications

From: Jason Smathers

To Whom It May Concern:

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

All records on Fred Phelps who was born on November 13, 1929 in Meridian, MS and died March 19, 2014 in Topeka, KS. Please include all records created between November 13, 1929 and March 19, 2014.

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,

Jason Smathers

From: Suzanne Council

MuckRock News
Attn: Mr. Jason Smathers
DEPT MR 10861
P O Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

Sent by electronic mail: requests@muckrock.com

Mr. Smathers:

This is in response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for all records reference Fred Phelps. Your request was received in this office and assigned FOIA case number 14-F-0617.

Please be aware that this FOIA office only processes requests for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JS). There is not a central FOIA processing point for the entire Department of Defense (DoD) records management, but is, instead, delegated to those officials of the military services and various DoD components that generate and/or maintain the records being sought. After carefully reviewing your request, we cannot determine how Mr. Phelps is associated with OSD/JS.

If you believe that Mr. Phelps was a military member, civilian or contractor associated with one of the DoD Military Services, you will need to write the Services directly. The addresses can be found on our OSD/JS FOIA Requester Service Center Website at: http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/milservices.html.

According to the FOIA's legislative history, a description would be sufficient if it enabled a professional employee of the agency who was familiar with the subject area of the request to locate the record with a reasonable amount of effort, and reasonably describes records if the agency is able to determine "precisely" what records are being requested. The "reasonably describes" requirement exists because the FOIA was not intended to reduce government agencies to full-time investigators on behalf of requesters. As such, it is the requester's responsibility to frame requests with sufficient particularity to ensure the searches are not unreasonably burdensome, and to enable the searching agency to determine precisely what records are being requested.

As it stands, your request is not reasonably described and will be closed in this office.

If you are not satisfied with this action, you may submit an administrative appeal to James Hogan, Defense Freedom of Information Policy Office, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1155. Your appeal should be postmarked within 60 calendar days of the date of this letter, should cite to case number 14-F-0617, and should be clearly marked "Freedom of Information Act Appeal."

The action officer assigned to your request is Ms. Adrienne Santos, copied on this message. Please reference the case number indicated above in all correspondence with this office.

Thank you.

Suzanne Council
Senior Advisor
Department of Defense
Information and Privacy
1155 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1155

From: Jason Smathers

This request was to the OSD intentionally. Fred Phelps organized many protests of military funerals. It is reasonable that the OSD has records on or about Mr. Phelps including guidance concerning handling these protests.

Please let me know if you will process this request or if you would prefer that I file an appeal.

Thank you.

Regards,
Jason Smathers

From: Council, Suzanne F CIV WHS ESD (US)

MuckRock News
Attn: Mr. Jason Smathers
DEPT MR 10861
P O Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

Sent by electronic mail: requests@muckrock.com

Mr. Smathers,

Thank you for giving us additional information as we requested. It is certainly up to you whether you want to work with us or file an appeal. We will task search within OSD to search for guidance concerning how to manage the Fred Phelps organized protests of military funerals.

With regard to your request for a waiver of any applicable fees, a fee waiver is appropriate when “disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.” 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(iii). In making a determination, six factors are considered as to whether your request satisfies this statutory standard: (1) whether the subject of the requested records concerns the operations or activities of the government; (2) whether the disclosure is likely to contribute to an understanding of government operation or activities; (3) whether disclosure of the requested information will contribute to the understanding of the general public; (4) whether the disclosure is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of government operations an activities; (5) whether the requester has a commercial interest that would be furthered by the requested disclosure; and, (6) whether any such commercial interest outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

While the requested information may concern the operation sand activities of the government and does not appear to be intended for a commercial interest, it is not clear how the responsive documents – should they exist – would significantly contribute to the public’s understanding of the operations and activities of the government. After carefully reviewing your request, I am denying your fee waiver request because the information stated does not support how the documents will significantly contribute to the public’s increased understanding of the operations and activities of the government.

I have determined that you should be placed in the “Other” category for fee purposes as you have indicated that you do not seek access to these records for commercial purposes. The “Other” fee category affords you two hours of search time and 100 pages of duplication free of charge. As you did not provide any willingness to pay search will be halted after your two free hours have been expended. If you wish to add a willingness to pay please contact the action officer assigned to your request at your earliest convenience.

You should also know that although we have already begun processing your request, we will be unable to respond to your request within the FOIA's 20 day statutory time period as there are unusual circumstances which impact on our ability to quickly process your request. These unusual circumstances are: (a) the need to search for and collect records from a facility geographically separated from this Office and (b) the need for consultation with one or more other agencies or DoD components having a substantial interest in either the determination or the subject matter of the records. For these reasons, your request has been placed in our complex processing queue and will be worked in the order the request was received. Our current administrative workload is 1240 open requests.

If you are not satisfied with this action, you may appeal to the appellate authority, the Director of Administration and Management, Office of the Secretary of Defense, by writing directly to the Defense Freedom of Information Policy Office, Attn: Mr. James Hogan, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 20301-1155. Your appeal should be postmarked within 60 calendar days of the date of this letter, should cite to case number 14-F-0617, and should be clearly marked "Freedom of Information Act Appeal."

The action officer assigned to your request is Ms. Adrienne Santos, copied on this message. Please reference the case number indicated above in all correspondence with this office.

Suzanne Council
Senior Advisor
Department of Defense
Information and Privacy

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 March 21, 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 #14-F-0617.

Thank you for your help.

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 March 21, 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 #14-F-0617.

Thank you for your help.

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 March 21, 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 #14-F-0617.

Thank you for your help.

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 March 21, 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 #14-F-0617.

Thank you for your help.

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 March 21, 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 #14-F-0617.

Thank you for your help.

From: Santos, Adrienne M CIV WHS ESD (US)

Dear Mr. Smathers:

It is our policy that each request receives prompt attention, and every effort is made to treat all requesters equally. Please note that your request was tasked for search. Unfortunately, the search for the requested records has not been completed. Once I received the response from the agency conducting the search, I will act on your request as soon as possible and respond directly to you. I apologize for the anticipated delay in responding to your request.

If you have any additional questions, please contact me.

v/r

Adrienne M. Santos
Government Information Specialist
Office of Freedom of Information
OSD/JS FOIA Office
(571) 372-0414
adrienne.m.santos.civ@mail.mil

From: Santos, Adrienne M CIV WHS ESD (US)

MuckRock News
ATTN: Jason Smathers
Boston, MA 02205-5819

Sent via electronic mail to: requests@muckrock.com

Dear Mr. Smathers:

This is the final response to your March 21, 2014 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for all records referenced Fred Phelps created between November 13, 1929 and March 19, 2014. Your request was received in this office on March 21, 2014 and assigned FOIA case number 14-F-0617.

This Office initiated a search for responsive records with the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (P&R), Casualty Mortuary Affairs (CMA), a component of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Based on the information provided in your request and thorough searches of P&R/CMA records systems, no documents of the kind you described could be located. We believe that these search methods were appropriate and could reasonably be expected to produce the requested records if they existed.

Please be aware that this office only processes requests for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JS). There is not a central FOIA processing point for the entire Department of Defense (DoD) records management, but is, instead, delegated to those officials of the military services and various DoD components that generate and/or maintain the records being sought. The U.S. Academy at West Point, NY; Arlington National Cemetery; and/or the Marine Corps Casualty Office may have the information you have requested. You may request these records, if they exist, directly from them at the following address:

Department of the Army
ATTN: AHRC-PDD-FP
7701 Telegraph Road
Alexandria, VA 22315-3860

Department of the Navy
Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps
3000 Marine Corps Pentagon, Rm 2A233
Washington, DC 20350-3000

If you are not satisfied with this action, you may petition the Appellate Authority, the Director of Administration, Office of the Secretary of Defense, by writing directly to the OSD/Joint Staff Freedom of Information, ATTN: Appeals Office, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 20301-1155; you may also submit your appeal electronically at the following link: http://pal.whs.mil/palMain.aspx. Your appeal should be postmarked within 60 calendar days of the date of this mail, should cite case number 14-F-0617, and should be clearly marked "Freedom of Information Act Appeal." Your request is now closed in this Office. There are no fees associated with this response.

v/r

Adrienne M. Santos, FOIA Analyst
for Suzanne Council on behalf of
M.L. Wahling, Acting Chief,
Freedom of Information Act Division
OSD/JS FOIA Office

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