|Submitted||Feb. 6, 2017|
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To Whom It May Concern:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:
All requests and subsequent responses regarding research involving "Severe or unusual intrusions, either physical or psychological, on human subjects (such as consciousness-altering drugs or mind-control techniques)" sent to or received by the Office of the Under Secretary of the Navy pursuant to SECNAVINST 3900.39D (subsection 7a(2)(a)).
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. Per DOJ FOIA guidance, "a requester should be granted a fee waiver if the requested information (1) sheds light on the activities and operations of the government; (2) is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of those operations and activities; and (3) is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester." As this FOIA meets all of those requirements (see above), a fee waiver is warranted.
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.
Dear Mr. Michael Best:
We have determined that the information you are seeking may be maintained by the office of the Under Secretary of the Navy. Therefore we have forwarded your request to that office for action and direct response to you. They will conduct a search for responsive documents and issue a response directly to you. There is no need to contact them at this time, but if you need to discuss your request with them, their POC, Johnny Jaramillo, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. ONR has closed our action on this request.
Michael B. Ferrari
Contractor Support to ONR Code BD042
Dear Mr. Best:
This responds to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests of February
6, 2017, in which you requested "All requests and subsequent responses
regarding research involving "Severe or unusual intrusions, either physical
or psychological, on human subjects (such as consciousness-altering drugs or
mind-control techniques)" sent to or received by the Office of the Under
Secretary of the Navy pursuant to SECNAVINST 3900.39D (subsection
Your FOIA request was forwarded to our office on March 8, 2017, by Chief of
Naval Operations for a release determination and direct response to you.
Your FOIA request was assigned case number 018-17. Pursuant to procedures
established in Secretary of the Navy Instruction (SECNAVINST) 5720.42F, our
search for responsive records encompassed only those records in existence
before February 6, 2017.
Our search for records included records maintained by Naval Medical Research
Center and all military treatment facilities under the authority of Navy
Medicine West. There are no records responsive to your request. There are
no assessable fees associated with the processing of your request.
Mr. David Ostrander
Navy Medicine West
FOUO Privacy Sensitive
This document may contain information covered under the Privacy Act, 5 USC
552(a), and/or the HIPAA (PL 104-191) and its various implemented
regulations, and must be protected in accordance with these provisions. All
included information is confidential and sensitive, and must be treated
accordingly. If this correspondence contains confidential information it is
being provided to you after appropriate authorization, or under
circumstances that do not require authorization. You, the recipient, are
obligated to maintain it in a safe, secure, and confidential manner.
Disclosure without additional consent from authorized parties, or as
permitted by law, is prohibited. Unauthorized disclosure, or failure to
maintain confidentiality, subjects you to appropriate sanctions. If you have
received this correspondence in error, please notify the sender at once and
destroy the original and any copies.