NASA CI newsletter

Emma Best filed this request with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States of America.
Tracking # 17-HQ-F-00313
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Michael Best

To Whom It May Concern:

By the power vested in me under the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

A digital/electronic copy of each NASA Counterintelligence Newsletter posted on the internal employees-only Glenn Research Center NASA website.

I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I have previously written about the government and its activities for AND Magazine, MuckRock and Glomar Disclosure and have an open arrangement with each. My articles have been widely read, with some reaching over 100,000 readers. As such, as I have a reasonable expectation of publication and my editorial and writing skills are well established. In addition, I discuss and comment on the files online and make them available through the non-profit Internet Archive, 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 such, my primary purpose is to inform about government activities by reporting on it and making the raw data available and I therefore 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,

Michael Best

From: Terry, Martha E. (HQ-NN000)

From: Michael Best

The address WAS included, which I just confirmed by checking the emailed submission. I suggest you read the entire request next time before declaring that information is not included when it rather blatantly is. For your convenience, however, here it is again:
MuckRock
DEPT MR 32658
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516

From: Terry, Martha E. (HQ-NN000)

Sir,
We are aware of the MuckRock address. We are referring to your personal address. That is why we say “your” address, not the business address; in particular since it clearly states you are not an employee there.

From: Michael Best

That is the address for responding to the request. My personal address is irrelevant for this, as all correspondence for this must be sent to that address. It very clearly said "For mailed responses..." before the address. I'm terribly sorry that you had trouble reading and/or understanding this. The section that you refer to ALSO went on to say that the address is being used to better track the request and that it should use the address provided, i.e. when it said that "improperly addressed (i.e., with the requester's name rather than "MuckRock News" and the department number)". I'm terribly sorry that this also confused you, despite the crystal clear language that is understood rather easily by the thousands of other agencies that MuckRock corresponds with.

Hooked On Phonics may help you if you are having trouble reading and understanding simple correspondence such as this. https://www.hookedonphonics.com/

Also, note that the statute you cited does NOT require a personal address - merely a mailing address, which was provided. By acknowledging that you saw the mailing address, you are acknowledging that it WAS included and therefore the request MUST be processed. Your choosing to ignore this violates both statute and case law. If you wish to continue to ignore this, then state so in an official letter so that I may immediately appeal the matter while also publicly shaming your agency for its inability to and/or refusal to read and properly fulfill this request as REQUIRED by statute and case law.

From: Terry, Martha E. (HQ-NN000)

Mr. Best,
We are required to have your personal address for billing purposes. If you have any further issues with this, please contact our Chief FOIA Officer, Miriam Brown-Lam at (202) 358-0718.

From: Michael Best

The statute you cite says no such thing. You are not required to have my billing address, per statute and case law. Further, as a member of the news media you are not entitled to charge me for searching and I filed for a fee waiver. Your refusal to process this is in violation of the law. I look forward to the appeals process.

From: Michael Best

I have filed the appeal. However, as billing is handled through MuckRock and your justification is nonsensical at best, you can render the appeal moot (and thus improve your agency's FOIA statistics slightly) by proceeding with the request as required by both statute and case law. If you refuse, then it will be a delight to proceed with the appeals process and, if necessary, a lawsuit against your Agency.

From: Michael Best

I am appealing the determination that I must provide a personal address, as this is not supported by either case law or statute. I have provided an address for responses, which is what is required. Further, as a member of the news media your agency is not allowed to bill me for searches. Further, I applied for a fee waiver which is warranted. Further, your agency is required to provide up to 100 pages free no matter what, after the search which must be performed free of cost. If there are costs after that (due to your agency refusing to grant the warranted fee waiver) then you are permitted to state the fees required. However, the refusal to process the request up front is a violation of the statute and the reasoning behind the refusal has now changed from needing an address from "A requester submitting a request for records must include his/her name and mailing address, a description of the record(s) sought (see § 1206.301), and must address fees or provide justification for a fee waiver (see § 1206.302) as well as address the fee category in accordance with § 1206.507. It is also helpful to provide a telephone number and email address in case the FOIA office needs to contact you regarding your request; however, this information is optional when submitting a written request. If a requester chooses to submit a request online via the NASA FOIA Web site, the required information must be completed. Do not include a social security number on any correspondence with the FOIA office." to nonsense about billing me - which is NOT supported by the statute cited. My initial request fulfilled all elements spelled out in the statute that was cited.

From: Terry, Martha E. (HQ-NN000)

Please find our response to your recent FOIA request attached.

From: Perozo, Linda V. (HQ-ME000)

Good afternoon,
Please find attached the final decision letter about the FOIA Appeal case# A-2017-00205/ 17-HQ-F-00313.

All my best,
V/R

Linda Perozo
[cid:image001.png@01D050F7.41BB9120]Legal Administrative Specialist
OGC- International Law Practice Group
Workstation 9Z26, Telephone:202-358-1324,
Email: linda.v.perozo@nasa.gov

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