MuckRock emails (Coast Guard)

Emma Best filed this request with the Coast Guard of the United States of America.

It is a clone of this request.

Est. Completion None
Fix Required


From: Emma Best

To Whom It May Concern:

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

Copies of all emails containing the terms "MuckRock", "Muck Rock" or "", excluding emails sent to or from a email address. Please include the complete email exchange for each email, including any emails that are being replied to as well as any subsequent replies.

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.


Emma Best

From: Coast Guard

Dear Ms. Best:
This acknowledges receipt of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), dated May 29, 2018, seeking emails containing the terms "MuckRock", "Muck Rock" or "". Your request was received in this office on June 11, 2018.

After careful review of your FOIA request, we determined that your request is too broad in scope or did not specifically identify the records which you are seeking. Records must be described in reasonably sufficient detail to enable government employees who are familiar with the subject area to locate records without placing an unreasonable burden upon the agency. For this reason, §5.3(b) of the DHS FOIA regulations, 6 C.F.R. Part 5, require that you describe the records you are seeking with as much information as possible to ensure that our search can locate them with a reasonable amount of effort. Whenever possible, a request should include specific information about each record sought, such as the date, title or name, author, recipients, and subject matter of the records, if known, or the USCG unit or office you believe created and/or controls the record. The FOIA does not require an agency to create new records, answer questions posed by requesters, or attempt to interpret a request that does not identify specific records.

Please resubmit your request containing a reasonable description of the records you are seeking. Upon receipt of a perfected request, you will be advised as to the status of your request.

If we do not hear from you within 30 days from the date of this letter, we will assume you are no longer interested in this FOIA request, and the case will be administratively closed. Please be advised that this action is not a denial of your request and will not preclude you from filing other requests in the future.

Your request has been assigned reference number 2018-CGFO-01839. Please refer to this identifier in any future correspondence. You may contact this office at<>.

From: Emma Best

Your agency appears to use Microsoft Exchange which allows for the search to be performed simply and centrally, regardless of the number of users. Please see

Courts have found that the request is reasonable when technically feasible, as it is here. (See attached).

I hope that helps.

From: Coast Guard

Good morning,

Additional information is needed before a search can be conducted. Please include a time frame or date range for the search, the subject matter of the emails, individuals or offices which may have the records or would have sent/received the emails.

If we do not hear back from you within 30 days of this correspondence with a perfected request, your request will be administratively closed.


Amanda C. Ackerson

From: Emma Best

From January 1, 2010 through the present.

Subject lines are explicitly not required by courts, as previously cited. Nor am I required to name the specific individuals or offices involved. Courts have compelled compliance about this very matter when MuckRock sued the Central Intelligence Agency.

From: Coast Guard

Good morning,

The original request submit was administratively closed per the email dated August 7, 2018 because clarifying information was not received. You may, however, submit a new request that states the records you are seeking to locate records without placing an unreasonable burden upon the agency. This information includes include a time frame or date range for the search, the subject matter of the emails, individuals or offices which may have the records or would have sent/received the emails.


Amanda C. Ackerson

Management and Policy Analyst

U.S. Coast Guard (CG-611)

Office of Information Management


WASHINGTON DC 20593-7710

Phone: 202-475-3522

Fax: 202-372-8413