MuckRock emails (United States Agency for International Development)

Emma Best filed this request with the United States Agency for International Development of the United States of America.

It is a clone of this request.

Tracking #

F-00160-18

Multi Request MuckRock emails
Due Sept. 21, 2018
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

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 "MuckRock.com", excluding emails sent to or from a MuckRock.com 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.

Sincerely,

Emma Best

From: United States Agency for International Development

May 29, 2018 RE:  USAID FOIA No. F-00160-18 Dear Best: Thank you for your letter dated May 29, 2018, requesting information pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552.  The tracking number for your request is F-00160-18.  Please use this number when corresponding with our office. At this time, we are in the process of perfecting your request.  A perfected request for records reasonably describes such records and is made in accordance with published rules stating the time, place, fees (if any) and procedures to be followed.  This process includes reviewing the request for clarity and fee category determination and related commitment to pay, if applicable. Once your request is perfected, you will be notified of the FOIA Specialist assigned to process your case.  If you have questions, please contact us at foia@usaid.gov.  Please cite the above-referenced number when corresponding with our office. (mailto:foia@usaid.gov) Thank you. Sincerely, Pamela A-Campbell FOIA Specialist
Bureau for Management
Office of Management Services
Information and Records Division

From: United States Agency for International Development

June 04, 2018 RE:  USAID FOIA No. F-00160-18 Dear Ms. Best: This acknowledges receipt of your May 29, 2018, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  Specifically, you requested copies of all emails containing the terms MuckRock, Muck Rock, or MuckRock.com, excluding emails sent to or from a Muckrock.com email address. Including complete email exchange for each email, including emails that are being replied to, as well as, any subsequent replies. Fee/ Fee Waiver
The FOIA provides that fees should be waived or reduced if disclosure of the 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.  As a member of the media, the only applicable fee is duplication.  Duplication is $0.10 per page, but the first 100 pages are free. Since the only applicable fee is duplication, and USAID routinely furnishes responsive records to FOIA requesters in electronic format, it's most likely there will be no duplication fees to assess.
Appeal rightsYou have a right to appeal the denial of expedited processing.  Your appeal must be received by USAID no later than 90 days from the date of this communication.  In order for it to considered an official appeal, please address and send directly to the FOIA Appeal Officer:
Director, Office of Management Services
U.S. Agency for International Development
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Ronald Reagan Building, Room 2.12-010
Washington, DC 20523
If you wish to fax your appeal, the fax number is
(202) 216-3369 .  Both the appeal and envelope should be marked "FOIA Appeal".  Please include the subject-referenced tracking number in your letter
FOIA Specialist Your request has been assigned to
Pamela A-Campbell, FOIA Specialist.  You may contact Pamela A-Campbell by email at parringtoncampbell@usaid.gov or by phone on 202-712-4476.  Please reference the tracking number cited above in any future correspondence.
Qianna Norman FOIA Specialist
Bureau for Management
Office of Management Services
Information and Records Division

From: United States Agency for International Development

Dear Ms. Best:

In reviewing your request, you have requested the following [copies of all
emails containing the terms "Muck Rock", "Muck Rock", or MuckRock.com"
excluding emails sent to or from a MuckRock.com 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].

*Please consider narrowing the scope to the FOIA office and providing a
time frame*. Otherwise, you could potential receive numerous news articles
or other information that may mention the search terms provided.

Your request has been placed on hold pending your response. Please provide
the requested information within 10 days from the date of this email. You
may send that correspondence to me at parringtoncampbell@usaid.gov, and
please reference the FOIA request number cited above. If we do not receive
a response from you within the specified time frame, we will consider the
non-response a withdrawal of your FOIA request and no further action will
be taken on it.

Pamela A-Campbell
Government Information Specialist (FOIA)
USAID U.S. Agency for International Development
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
M/MS/IRD, Rm. 2.07-079, Washington, DC 20523
Direct: 202 712-4476 / Fax: 202 216-3070
parringtoncampbell@usaid.gov <psmith@usaid.gov>

From: Emma Best

Thank you for your response. I don't wish to limit the scope by time, and I'd like to hear from the agency as a whole. However, I will consider changing that if it appears that the search returns far too many results as it is.

I can, however, add one limit that might help. If an email is sent from a USAID email address to another USAID email address, there's no reason to provide copies from both inbox - only from the sender. This should eliminate duplicates and any news alerts that are distributed to multiple people (or entire offices).

Again, if the search turns up an unreasonable number of hits outside the FOIA office, I will consider limiting the scope there. My instinct, however, is that this won't be an issue.

I hope this helps, and I really appreciate your help and patience with this!

-Emma Best

From: United States Agency for International Development

Greetings Ms. Best -

Thank you for your interest in USAID. This message is a follow-up to your
May 29, 2018, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for all emails that
contain the terms MuckRock, Muck Rock, or MuckRock.com; and that exclude
emails sent to or from the Muckrock.com email address, and the complete
email exchange for each email, including emails that are replied to, as
well as any subsequent replies.

On June 19, 2018, you provided a narrowed scope to facilitate a more
reasonable search. You indicated that you wanted de-duplicated email
messages.

Kindly be informed that USAID has completed its search. It resulted in
approximately 3000 pages, which must be reviewed for responsiveness. After
a quick skim of this material, portions appear to be newsfeeds where a
MuckRock article is referenced. Other portions are emails containing FOIA
logs to the USAID/Bureau for Legislative and Public Affairs (LPA), where
MuckRock is listed as an organization that submitted a FOIA request. These
FOIA logs are published on our public website: https://foiarequest.usaid
.gov/app/ReadingRoom.aspx. Further, you indicated in your June 19 email
that you would consider limiting the scope of your request to exclude the
number of email communications outside of the FOIA office that reference
MuckRock, Muck Rock, or MuckRock.com.

*At this time, we ask that you confirm this request to narrow the scope of
your request to only those email communications involving a member of the
USAID FOIA staff that reference * *MuckRock, Muck Rock, or MuckRock.com.
Additionally, we ask that you confirm this request to narrow your request
to omit all email messages containing news article references to MuckRock,
in addition to all of the FOIA log emails, since this information is
publicly available. *With this scope narrowing, we will be able to fulfill
your request in a more efficient manner.

Please provide a response within 10 days of this email to foia@usaid.gov,
indicating your willingness to narrow the scope of your request and to
provide any additional assistance you can provide to facilitate the prompt
response to your FOIA request. If we do not receive a response within this
time frame, we will consider the nonresponse as an indication that you are
no longer interested in this request. As such, your request will be closed
and no further action will be taken on it.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

*Alecia S. Sillah *
*Team Lead, Government Information Specialist (FOIA) *
*USAID - US Agency for International Development *
*Bureau for Management, Office of Management Services, Information and
Records Division (M/MS/IRD) | **RRB - 2.07C - **Washington, DC 20523
| **Direct:
(202) 712-1371 | asillah@usaid.gov <asillah@usaid.gov>*

From: Emma Best

I don't agree to omit all email messages containing news article references to MuckRock, though the other suggestions for limiting the scope of the request are agreeable.

Thanks!

From: United States Agency for International Development

Greetings Ms. Best - Thank you for the prompt reply.

USAID requests one additional clarification that may be more helpful to
discuss by phone. It concerns your request for news articles.

Please confirm whether (1) you're interested in all email
communications---limited to USAID FOIA staff---that reference MuckRock in
news clippings; or, (2) you're interested in all USAID email
communications---including and beyond the FOIA staff---that reference
MuckRock in news clippings. Prong 2 would have results that fall "outside
of the FOIA office" and you indicated on June 19 that you would consider
limiting the scope of the request for these communications.

Again, it would be helpful to discuss by phone.

Thank you in advance.

Best,

*Alecia S. Sillah *
*Team Lead, Government Information Specialist (FOIA) *
*USAID - US Agency for International Development *
*Bureau for Management, Office of Management Services, Information and
Records Division (M/MS/IRD) | **RRB - 2.07C - **Washington, DC 20523
| **Direct:
(202) 712-1371 | asillah@usaid.gov <asillah@usaid.gov>*

From: United States Agency for International Development

Greetings Ms. Best - This is a follow-up to my July 17, 2018 email for
additional information.

USAID requests one additional clarification that may be more helpful to
discuss by phone. It concerns your request for news articles.

Please confirm whether (1) you're interested in all email
communications---limited to USAID FOIA staff---that reference MuckRock in
news clippings; or, (2) you're interested in all USAID email
communications---including and beyond the FOIAstaff---that reference
MuckRock in news clippings. Prong 2 would have results that fall "outside
of the FOIA office" and you indicated on June 19 that you would consider
limiting the scope of the request for these communications.

If we do not receive a response from you within 10 days from the date of
this email, we will process your request pursuant to Prong 1 identified
above which aligns with your original FOIA request.

Thank you in advance.

Best,

*Alecia S. Sillah *
*Team Lead, Government Information Specialist (FOIA) *
*USAID - US Agency for International Development *
*Bureau for Management, Office of Management Services, Information and
Records Division (M/MS/IRD) | **RRB - 2.07C - **Washington, DC 20523
| **Direct:
(202) 712-1371 | asillah@usaid.gov <asillah@usaid.gov>*

From: Emma Best

I'm willing to consider scoping prong 2 out depending on the number of hits, but I am definitely interested in prong 1 - however, for emails sent to many addresses (such as part of a newsletter or agency wide round up), I am happy to limit the scope to the original version of the email from the sender's account. There's no need to include duplicate emails from everyone's inbox!

Thanks for your help with this request.

From: United States Agency for International Development

Hello -

Thank you for your message. I am out of the office.

If you have an urgent FOIA matter, please forward a detailed message
to foia@usaid.gov. Otherwise, I will respond to you after my
scheduled return to the office on September 5, 2018.

Thank you.

Best,
Alecia

--
*Alecia S. Sillah *
*Team Lead, Government Information Specialist (FOIA) *
*USAID - US Agency for International Development *
*Bureau for Management, Office of Management Services, Information and
Records Division (M/MS/IRD) | **RRB - 2.07C - **Washington, DC 20523
| **Direct:
(202) 712-1371 | asillah@usaid.gov <asillah@usaid.gov>*

From: United States Agency for International Development

Hello -

Thank you for your message. I am out of the office.

If you have an urgent FOIA matter, please forward a detailed message
to foia@usaid.gov. Otherwise, I will respond to you after my
scheduled return to the office on October 1, 2018.

Thank you.

Best,
Alecia

--
*Alecia S. Sillah *
*Team Lead, Government Information Specialist (FOIA) *
*USAID - US Agency for International Development *
*Bureau for Management, Office of Management Services, Information and
Records Division (M/MS/IRD) | **RRB - 2.07C - **Washington, DC 20523
| **Direct:
(202) 712-1371 | asillah@usaid.gov <asillah@usaid.gov>*

From: United States Agency for International Development

Dear Ms. Best:

This email is to inform that you are not forgotten; we are still working
with the program office for possible responsive documents. I do apologize
for the delay, and I thank you for you continued patience during this
process of search and retrieval.

Pamela A-Campbell
Government Information Specialist (FOIA)
USAID U.S. Agency for International Development
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
M/MS/IRD, Rm. 2.07-079, Washington, DC 20523
Direct: 202 712-4476 / Fax: 202 216-3070
parringtoncampbell@usaid.gov <psmith@usaid.gov>

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