|Submitted||May 29, 2018|
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To Whom It May Concern:
Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:
Records of ACS and Sentinel files which have been destroyed, and which are recorded (and readily retrievable) in ACS and Sentinel per Section 10.3.7.2 of the Bureau's Records Management User Manual.
I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I have previously written about the government and its activities. I have a reasonable expectation of publication and my editorial and writing skills are well established. 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.
There are eFOIA files available for you to download.
I am appealing the Bureau's denial and their claim that the files are not indexed or retrievable, as this is clearly contradicted by the Bureau's Records Management User Manual (attached) as indicated in the original request.
Although there was a typo in the reference point, this should not be an issue for the Bureau as it would be assumed that they are familiar with their own system. However, even if they are not it does not justify the patently false claim that the records requested are "not searchable" is false, nor the irrelevant reference to the Bureau's indices. Per the FBI's own manual, posted on their website, Section 13.7.2 "Documenting Records Destruction" clearly states that the records are recorded in the FBI's ACS and Sentinel indices.
"To document the destruction of records whose case information is not recorded in ACS or Sentinel, record the file number and date of destruction on a Form FD-478 (List of Files Destroyed I Transferred to FBIHQ). Form FD-478, containing the file numbers and the dates files were destroyed, is maintained at the beginning of each respective classification in tile closed files section. Since the destruction of ACS and Sentinel cases is recorded in ACS and Sentinel, it is not necessary to annotate the destruction of these files on an FD-478."