Jake Leinenkugel Communications

Jasper Craven filed this request with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs of the United States of America.
Tracking #

18-07092-F

Status
Completed

Communications

From: Jasper Craven

To Whom It May Concern:

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

All e-mail communications between White House advise rJake Leinenkugel and VA officials including, but not limited to, Casin Spero, Darin Selnick, Curt Cashour, David Shulkin, Scott Blackburn, Thomas Bowman, Peter O'Rourke, Brooks Tucker and Jonathan Ullyot between Jan. 20, 2017 and present day. Keywords should include, but are not limited to, "VA," "accountability," "choice," "congress," "CVA," "private."

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,

Jasper Craven

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Dear Mr. Craven,

This letter acknowledges receipt of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) dated April 24, 2018, in which you requested All e-mail communications between White House advise Jake Leinenkugel and VA officials including, but not limited to, Casin Spero, Darin Selnick, Curt Cashour, David Shulkin, Scott Blackburn, Thomas Bowman, Peter O'Rourke, Brooks Tucker and Jonathan Ullyot between Jan. 20, 2017 and present day. Keywords should include, but are not limited to, "VA," "accountability," "choice," "congress," "CVA," "private."

The FOIA Service received your request on April 25, 2018, and assigned it FOIA tracking numbers 18-07084-F; 18-07085-F; 18-07087-F; 18-07090-F; 18-07092-F. Please refer to these numbers when communicating with the VA about this request.

The records you requested, if they exist, would be maintained at the Office of the Executive Secretary U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (OSVA) (18-07084-F); Office of Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Legislative Affairs (C&LA) (18-07085-F); Corporate Senior Executive Management Office (CSEMO) (18-07087-F); Office of Assistant Secretary for Public & Intergovernmental Affairs (OP&IA) (18-07090-F); and Office of Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology (OI&T) (18-07092-F). Therefore, we are redirecting your request to those offices for a file search and a direct response to you. If you wish to know the status of your request, please contact them directly at the following addresses:

Department of Veterans Affairs
OSVA, (002B) VACO
FOIA Officer: Milli O'Brien
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Email: osvafoia@va.gov
Phone: (202) 461-4857
Fax: (202) 273-4880

Questions regarding the status of your request should be directed to Ms. O'Brien.

Department of Veterans Affairs
C&LA, (009) VACO
FOIA Officer: Regina Mack-Abney
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Phone: (202) 461-6459
Fax: (202) 273-6792

Department of Veterans Affairs
CSEMO, (052) VACO
FOIA Officer: Kimberly Dori
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Phone: (202) 461-7812
Fax: (202) 208-0557

Questions regarding the status of your request should be directed to Ms. Dori.

Department of Veterans Affairs
P&IA, (002) VACO
FOIA Officer: Anita Major
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Email: BVA FOIA Request
Phone: (202) 461-7430
Fax: (202) 495-5228

Questions regarding the status of your request should be directed to Ms. Major.

Department of Veterans Affairs
OI&T (005R1C)
Attention: Jackie Short
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420
Email: vacofoiaservice@va.gov
Phone: (202) 632-7728
Fax: (202) 632-7581

This concludes the FOIA Service's response to your request.

Jacqueline (Jackie) Short
VACO FOIA Service (005R1C)
Office of Privacy Information and Identity Protection (PIIP)
Quality, Privacy, and Risk (QPR)
Office of Information and Technology (OI&T)
Office: (202) 632-7426
Fax: (202) 632-7581
FOIA Service Hotline: 1-877-750-3642

Please take a moment and let us know how we did by completing a quick evaluation: Got a minute? Rate Our Service!<https://vaww.vashare.oit.va.gov/sites/QPR/Lists/QPR%20Customer%20Satisifaction%20Evaluation/Item/newifs.aspx>

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QPR's Mission Statement:
"To instill and promote a culture of quality, privacy and risk management in collaboration with our business partners to enable a better Veteran experience."

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

|Email 1 of 3 due to size limitations|

July 3, 2018 In Reply Refer To: 001B

FOIA Request: 18-07084-F

Jasper Craven

MuckRock News
DEPT MR 52794
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516

requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

Dear Mr. Craven,

This is the partial initial agency decision (IAD) from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Office of the Secretary (OSVA) to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated April 24, 2018, and received in this FOIA office on April 27, 2018. You requested:
"All e-mail communications between White House adviser Jake Leinenkugel and VA officials including, but not limited to, Casin Spero, Darin Selnick, Curt Cashour, David Shulkin, Scott Blackburn, Thomas Bowman, Peter O'Rourke, Brooks Tucker and Jonathan Ullyot between Jan. 20, 2017 and present day. Keywords should include, but are not limited to, 'VA,' 'accountability,' 'choice,' 'congress,' 'CVA,' 'private.'"

June 4, 2018, Beginning of Reasonable Searches
OSVA initiated its search for responsive records on June 4, 2018. Therefore, records that OSVA may have created or gathered after the cut-off date, June 4, 2018, are not considered to be within the scope of your FOIA request. FOIA does not obligate agencies to create records, but only to process records that already exist as of the cut-off date. LaRoche v. SEC, 289 F. App'x 231, 231 (9th Cir. 2008) (explaining that agency was not required to create new documents to satisfy FOIA request); Poll v. U.S. Office of Special Counsel, No. 99-4021, 2000 WL 14422, at *5 n.2 (10th Cir. Jan. 10, 2000) (recognizing that FOIA does not require agency "'to create documents or opinions in response to an individual's request for information'" (quoting Hudgins v. IRS, 620 F. Supp. 19, 21 (D.D.C. 1985))); Sorrells v. United States, No. 97-5586, 1998 WL 58080, at *1 (6th Cir. Feb. 6, 1998) (advising that agency is not required to compile document that "contain[s] a full, legible signature"); Krohn v. DOJ, 628 F.2d 195, 197-98 (D.C. Cir. 1980) (finding that agency "cannot be compelled to create the [intermediary records] necessary to produce" information sought); Citizen's Guide on Using FOIA, U.S. House Oversight & Gov't Reform Comm. §V.B, pp. 6 (Sept. 2012), https://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Citizens-Guide-on-Using-FOIA.2012.pdf ("Please be advised an agency is not obligated to create a new record to comply with a request").

OSVA will continue to conduct searches on all items of your FOIA request and produce responsive records on a rolling basis.

Partial IAD & June 4, 2018, Reasonable Search

On June 4, 2018, this FOIA office conducted a search on White House Senior Advisor Jake Leinenkugel's emails for responsive records. We used the search terms "Concerned Veterans of America," "CVA," and "cv4a.org." These searches resulted in thirty-eight (38) responsive emails, totaling one hundred seven (107) pages.

After conducting our review of the responsive records, we identified information contained in the records that we are withholding under FOIA Exemptions (b)(5) and (b)(6). 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5) & (b)(6). Therefore, please find enclosed thirty-eight (38) responsive emails, totaling one hundred seven (107) pages.

Exemption 5 protects interagency or intra-agency memorandums or letters that would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency. Moreover, this exemption permits an agency to withhold material that reflects the observations, deliberations, thoughts, opinions, and recommendations of agency officials and consultants undertaking review of an issue, as well as non-final or draft documents. Information redacted in these nine hundred ninety-five (995) pages consists of internal observations, deliberations, opinions, thoughts, recommendations of government officials and consultants, and non-final or draft documents. The redacted information contained in the responsive records is both predecisional and deliberative because it reflects preliminary opinions which do not reflect VA's final decisions. The release of the redacted information would have a chilling effect on the ability of agency officials and consultants to discuss, opine, recommend, or be forthcoming about agency issues which require full and frank assessment. Here, because the disclosure of the withheld information is likely to compromise the integrity of this deliberative process, we withhold the redacted information pursuant to FOIA Exemption 5.

FOIA Exemption 6 permits VA to withhold a document or information within a document if disclosure of the information, either by itself or in conjunction with other information available to either the public or the FOIA requester, would result in an unwarranted invasion of an individual's personal privacy without contributing significantly to the public's understanding of the activities of the federal government. Specifically, the information being withheld, as indicated on the enclosed documents, under FOIA Exemption 6, consists of resume information, physical addresses, email addresses, usernames, phone numbers, and facsimile numbers of federal employees and private citizens; for private citizens, we also additionally withhold their names and identities. Federal civilian employees and private citizens retain a significant privacy interest under certain circumstances, such as in instances where the release of their information could represent a threat to their well-being, harassment, or their ability to function within their sphere of employment. The federal civilian employees and private citizens whose information is at issue have a substantial privacy interest in their personal information. In weighing the private versus the public interest, we find that there is no public interest in knowing the resume information, physical addresses, email addresses, usernames, phone numbers, and facsimile numbers of federal civilian employees and private citizens; there is also no public interest in knowing identities or names of private citizens. Accordingly, we are withholding the resume information, physical addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, and facsimile numbers of federal civilian employees and private citizens, as well as names and identities of private citizens. The coverage of FOIA Exemption 6 is absolute unless the FOIA requester can demonstrate a countervailing public interest in the requested information by demonstrating that the individual is in a position to provide the requested information to members of the general public and that the information requested contributes significantly to the public's understanding of the activities of the Federal government. Additionally, the requester must demonstrate how the public's need to understand the information significantly outweighs the privacy interest of the person to whom the information pertains. Upon consideration of the records, I have not been able to identify a countervailing public interest of sufficient magnitude to outweigh the privacy interest of the individuals whose names are redacted. The protected information has been redacted and (b)(6) inserted.

FOIA Mediation
As part of the 2007 FOIA amendments, the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) was created to offer mediation services to resolve disputes between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation. Using OGIS services does not affect your right to pursue litigation. Under the provisions of the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, the following contact information is provided to assist FOIA requesters in resolving disputes:

VA Central Office FOIA Public Liaison:
Name: John Buck
Email Address: vacofoiaservice@va.gov<mailto:vacofoiaservice@va.gov>

Office of Government Information Services (OGIS)
Email Address: ogis@nara.gov<mailto:ogis@nara.gov>
Fax: 202-741-5769
Mailing address:
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001

FOIA Appeal
This concludes OSVA's partial Initial Agency Decision to request 18-07084-F. Please be advised that should you desire to do so, you may appeal the determination made in this response to:

Office of General Counsel (024)
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420

If you should choose to file an appeal, please include a copy of this letter with your written appeal and clearly indicate the basis for your disagreement with the determination set forth in this response. Please be advised that in accordance with VA's implementing FOIA regulations at 38 C.F.R. § 1.559, your appeal must be postmarked no later than ninety (90) days of the date of this letter.

Sincerely,

Richard Ha, JD, CIPP/G

OSVA FOIA Officer

Enclosure - Thirty-eight (38) redacted responsive emails, totaling one hundred seven (107) pages.

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

|Email 2 of 3 due to size limitations|

July 3, 2018 In Reply Refer To: 001B

FOIA Request: 18-07084-F

Jasper Craven

MuckRock News
DEPT MR 52794
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516

requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

Dear Mr. Craven,

This is the partial initial agency decision (IAD) from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Office of the Secretary (OSVA) to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated April 24, 2018, and received in this FOIA office on April 27, 2018. You requested:
"All e-mail communications between White House adviser Jake Leinenkugel and VA officials including, but not limited to, Casin Spero, Darin Selnick, Curt Cashour, David Shulkin, Scott Blackburn, Thomas Bowman, Peter O'Rourke, Brooks Tucker and Jonathan Ullyot between Jan. 20, 2017 and present day. Keywords should include, but are not limited to, 'VA,' 'accountability,' 'choice,' 'congress,' 'CVA,' 'private.'"

June 4, 2018, Beginning of Reasonable Searches
OSVA initiated its search for responsive records on June 4, 2018. Therefore, records that OSVA may have created or gathered after the cut-off date, June 4, 2018, are not considered to be within the scope of your FOIA request. FOIA does not obligate agencies to create records, but only to process records that already exist as of the cut-off date. LaRoche v. SEC, 289 F. App'x 231, 231 (9th Cir. 2008) (explaining that agency was not required to create new documents to satisfy FOIA request); Poll v. U.S. Office of Special Counsel, No. 99-4021, 2000 WL 14422, at *5 n.2 (10th Cir. Jan. 10, 2000) (recognizing that FOIA does not require agency "'to create documents or opinions in response to an individual's request for information'" (quoting Hudgins v. IRS, 620 F. Supp. 19, 21 (D.D.C. 1985))); Sorrells v. United States, No. 97-5586, 1998 WL 58080, at *1 (6th Cir. Feb. 6, 1998) (advising that agency is not required to compile document that "contain[s] a full, legible signature"); Krohn v. DOJ, 628 F.2d 195, 197-98 (D.C. Cir. 1980) (finding that agency "cannot be compelled to create the [intermediary records] necessary to produce" information sought); Citizen's Guide on Using FOIA, U.S. House Oversight & Gov't Reform Comm. §V.B, pp. 6 (Sept. 2012), https://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Citizens-Guide-on-Using-FOIA.2012.pdf ("Please be advised an agency is not obligated to create a new record to comply with a request").

OSVA will continue to conduct searches on all items of your FOIA request and produce responsive records on a rolling basis.

Partial IAD & June 4, 2018, Reasonable Search

On June 4, 2018, this FOIA office conducted a search on White House Senior Advisor Jake Leinenkugel's emails for responsive records. We used the search terms "Concerned Veterans of America," "CVA," and "cv4a.org." These searches resulted in thirty-eight (38) responsive emails, totaling one hundred seven (107) pages.

After conducting our review of the responsive records, we identified information contained in the records that we are withholding under FOIA Exemptions (b)(5) and (b)(6). 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5) & (b)(6). Therefore, please find enclosed thirty-eight (38) responsive emails, totaling one hundred seven (107) pages.

Exemption 5 protects interagency or intra-agency memorandums or letters that would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency. Moreover, this exemption permits an agency to withhold material that reflects the observations, deliberations, thoughts, opinions, and recommendations of agency officials and consultants undertaking review of an issue, as well as non-final or draft documents. Information redacted in these nine hundred ninety-five (995) pages consists of internal observations, deliberations, opinions, thoughts, recommendations of government officials and consultants, and non-final or draft documents. The redacted information contained in the responsive records is both predecisional and deliberative because it reflects preliminary opinions which do not reflect VA's final decisions. The release of the redacted information would have a chilling effect on the ability of agency officials and consultants to discuss, opine, recommend, or be forthcoming about agency issues which require full and frank assessment. Here, because the disclosure of the withheld information is likely to compromise the integrity of this deliberative process, we withhold the redacted information pursuant to FOIA Exemption 5.

FOIA Exemption 6 permits VA to withhold a document or information within a document if disclosure of the information, either by itself or in conjunction with other information available to either the public or the FOIA requester, would result in an unwarranted invasion of an individual's personal privacy without contributing significantly to the public's understanding of the activities of the federal government. Specifically, the information being withheld, as indicated on the enclosed documents, under FOIA Exemption 6, consists of resume information, physical addresses, email addresses, usernames, phone numbers, and facsimile numbers of federal employees and private citizens; for private citizens, we also additionally withhold their names and identities. Federal civilian employees and private citizens retain a significant privacy interest under certain circumstances, such as in instances where the release of their information could represent a threat to their well-being, harassment, or their ability to function within their sphere of employment. The federal civilian employees and private citizens whose information is at issue have a substantial privacy interest in their personal information. In weighing the private versus the public interest, we find that there is no public interest in knowing the resume information, physical addresses, email addresses, usernames, phone numbers, and facsimile numbers of federal civilian employees and private citizens; there is also no public interest in knowing identities or names of private citizens. Accordingly, we are withholding the resume information, physical addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, and facsimile numbers of federal civilian employees and private citizens, as well as names and identities of private citizens. The coverage of FOIA Exemption 6 is absolute unless the FOIA requester can demonstrate a countervailing public interest in the requested information by demonstrating that the individual is in a position to provide the requested information to members of the general public and that the information requested contributes significantly to the public's understanding of the activities of the Federal government. Additionally, the requester must demonstrate how the public's need to understand the information significantly outweighs the privacy interest of the person to whom the information pertains. Upon consideration of the records, I have not been able to identify a countervailing public interest of sufficient magnitude to outweigh the privacy interest of the individuals whose names are redacted. The protected information has been redacted and (b)(6) inserted.

FOIA Mediation
As part of the 2007 FOIA amendments, the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) was created to offer mediation services to resolve disputes between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation. Using OGIS services does not affect your right to pursue litigation. Under the provisions of the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, the following contact information is provided to assist FOIA requesters in resolving disputes:

VA Central Office FOIA Public Liaison:
Name: John Buck
Email Address: vacofoiaservice@va.gov<mailto:vacofoiaservice@va.gov>

Office of Government Information Services (OGIS)
Email Address: ogis@nara.gov<mailto:ogis@nara.gov>
Fax: 202-741-5769
Mailing address:
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001

FOIA Appeal
This concludes OSVA's partial Initial Agency Decision to request 18-07084-F. Please be advised that should you desire to do so, you may appeal the determination made in this response to:

Office of General Counsel (024)
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420

If you should choose to file an appeal, please include a copy of this letter with your written appeal and clearly indicate the basis for your disagreement with the determination set forth in this response. Please be advised that in accordance with VA's implementing FOIA regulations at 38 C.F.R. § 1.559, your appeal must be postmarked no later than ninety (90) days of the date of this letter.

Sincerely,

Richard Ha, JD, CIPP/G

OSVA FOIA Officer

Enclosure - Thirty-eight (38) redacted responsive emails, totaling one hundred seven (107) pages.

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

|Email 3 of 3 due to size limitations|

July 3, 2018 In Reply Refer To: 001B

FOIA Request: 18-07084-F

Jasper Craven

MuckRock News
DEPT MR 52794
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516

requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

Dear Mr. Craven,

This is the partial initial agency decision (IAD) from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Office of the Secretary (OSVA) to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated April 24, 2018, and received in this FOIA office on April 27, 2018. You requested:
"All e-mail communications between White House adviser Jake Leinenkugel and VA officials including, but not limited to, Casin Spero, Darin Selnick, Curt Cashour, David Shulkin, Scott Blackburn, Thomas Bowman, Peter O'Rourke, Brooks Tucker and Jonathan Ullyot between Jan. 20, 2017 and present day. Keywords should include, but are not limited to, 'VA,' 'accountability,' 'choice,' 'congress,' 'CVA,' 'private.'"

June 4, 2018, Beginning of Reasonable Searches
OSVA initiated its search for responsive records on June 4, 2018. Therefore, records that OSVA may have created or gathered after the cut-off date, June 4, 2018, are not considered to be within the scope of your FOIA request. FOIA does not obligate agencies to create records, but only to process records that already exist as of the cut-off date. LaRoche v. SEC, 289 F. App'x 231, 231 (9th Cir. 2008) (explaining that agency was not required to create new documents to satisfy FOIA request); Poll v. U.S. Office of Special Counsel, No. 99-4021, 2000 WL 14422, at *5 n.2 (10th Cir. Jan. 10, 2000) (recognizing that FOIA does not require agency "'to create documents or opinions in response to an individual's request for information'" (quoting Hudgins v. IRS, 620 F. Supp. 19, 21 (D.D.C. 1985))); Sorrells v. United States, No. 97-5586, 1998 WL 58080, at *1 (6th Cir. Feb. 6, 1998) (advising that agency is not required to compile document that "contain[s] a full, legible signature"); Krohn v. DOJ, 628 F.2d 195, 197-98 (D.C. Cir. 1980) (finding that agency "cannot be compelled to create the [intermediary records] necessary to produce" information sought); Citizen's Guide on Using FOIA, U.S. House Oversight & Gov't Reform Comm. §V.B, pp. 6 (Sept. 2012), https://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Citizens-Guide-on-Using-FOIA.2012.pdf ("Please be advised an agency is not obligated to create a new record to comply with a request").

OSVA will continue to conduct searches on all items of your FOIA request and produce responsive records on a rolling basis.

Partial IAD & June 4, 2018, Reasonable Search

On June 4, 2018, this FOIA office conducted a search on White House Senior Advisor Jake Leinenkugel's emails for responsive records. We used the search terms "Concerned Veterans of America," "CVA," and "cv4a.org." These searches resulted in thirty-eight (38) responsive emails, totaling one hundred seven (107) pages.

After conducting our review of the responsive records, we identified information contained in the records that we are withholding under FOIA Exemptions (b)(5) and (b)(6). 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5) & (b)(6). Therefore, please find enclosed thirty-eight (38) responsive emails, totaling one hundred seven (107) pages.

Exemption 5 protects interagency or intra-agency memorandums or letters that would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency. Moreover, this exemption permits an agency to withhold material that reflects the observations, deliberations, thoughts, opinions, and recommendations of agency officials and consultants undertaking review of an issue, as well as non-final or draft documents. Information redacted in these nine hundred ninety-five (995) pages consists of internal observations, deliberations, opinions, thoughts, recommendations of government officials and consultants, and non-final or draft documents. The redacted information contained in the responsive records is both predecisional and deliberative because it reflects preliminary opinions which do not reflect VA's final decisions. The release of the redacted information would have a chilling effect on the ability of agency officials and consultants to discuss, opine, recommend, or be forthcoming about agency issues which require full and frank assessment. Here, because the disclosure of the withheld information is likely to compromise the integrity of this deliberative process, we withhold the redacted information pursuant to FOIA Exemption 5.

FOIA Exemption 6 permits VA to withhold a document or information within a document if disclosure of the information, either by itself or in conjunction with other information available to either the public or the FOIA requester, would result in an unwarranted invasion of an individual's personal privacy without contributing significantly to the public's understanding of the activities of the federal government. Specifically, the information being withheld, as indicated on the enclosed documents, under FOIA Exemption 6, consists of resume information, physical addresses, email addresses, usernames, phone numbers, and facsimile numbers of federal employees and private citizens; for private citizens, we also additionally withhold their names and identities. Federal civilian employees and private citizens retain a significant privacy interest under certain circumstances, such as in instances where the release of their information could represent a threat to their well-being, harassment, or their ability to function within their sphere of employment. The federal civilian employees and private citizens whose information is at issue have a substantial privacy interest in their personal information. In weighing the private versus the public interest, we find that there is no public interest in knowing the resume information, physical addresses, email addresses, usernames, phone numbers, and facsimile numbers of federal civilian employees and private citizens; there is also no public interest in knowing identities or names of private citizens. Accordingly, we are withholding the resume information, physical addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, and facsimile numbers of federal civilian employees and private citizens, as well as names and identities of private citizens. The coverage of FOIA Exemption 6 is absolute unless the FOIA requester can demonstrate a countervailing public interest in the requested information by demonstrating that the individual is in a position to provide the requested information to members of the general public and that the information requested contributes significantly to the public's understanding of the activities of the Federal government. Additionally, the requester must demonstrate how the public's need to understand the information significantly outweighs the privacy interest of the person to whom the information pertains. Upon consideration of the records, I have not been able to identify a countervailing public interest of sufficient magnitude to outweigh the privacy interest of the individuals whose names are redacted. The protected information has been redacted and (b)(6) inserted.

FOIA Mediation
As part of the 2007 FOIA amendments, the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) was created to offer mediation services to resolve disputes between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation. Using OGIS services does not affect your right to pursue litigation. Under the provisions of the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, the following contact information is provided to assist FOIA requesters in resolving disputes:

VA Central Office FOIA Public Liaison:
Name: John Buck
Email Address: vacofoiaservice@va.gov<mailto:vacofoiaservice@va.gov>

Office of Government Information Services (OGIS)
Email Address: ogis@nara.gov<mailto:ogis@nara.gov>
Fax: 202-741-5769
Mailing address:
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001

FOIA Appeal
This concludes OSVA's partial Initial Agency Decision to request 18-07084-F. Please be advised that should you desire to do so, you may appeal the determination made in this response to:

Office of General Counsel (024)
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420

If you should choose to file an appeal, please include a copy of this letter with your written appeal and clearly indicate the basis for your disagreement with the determination set forth in this response. Please be advised that in accordance with VA's implementing FOIA regulations at 38 C.F.R. § 1.559, your appeal must be postmarked no later than ninety (90) days of the date of this letter.

Sincerely,

Richard Ha, JD, CIPP/G

OSVA FOIA Officer

Enclosure - Thirty-eight (38) redacted responsive emails, totaling one hundred seven (107) pages.

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