Neil Welch

Emma Best filed this request with the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America.
Tracking #

1380380-000

Due Aug. 14, 2017
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

From: Emma Best

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

Records relating to or mentioning Neil Welch, known for "masterminding" the ABSCAM sting and for running the FBI's New York Office.

Please conduct a search of the Central Records System, including but not limited to the ELSUR Records System, the Microphone Surveillance (MISUR) Indices, the Physical Surveillance (FISUR) Indices, and the Technical Surveillance (TESUR) Indices, for both main-file records and cross-reference records for all relevant names, individuals, agencies and companies. If any potentially responsive records have been destroyed and/or transferred to NARA, then I request copies of the destruction or transfer slips as well as any other documentation relating to, mentioning or describing said transfer or destruction, to include but not be limited to confirmation that the Bureau has no other copies of said records (as the Bureau has posted copies of records that it previously said were transferred to NARA such as the Tokyo Rose file).

I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I am freelance writer who has previously written about the government and its activities for MuckRock, Motherboard, Unicorn Riot, AND Magazine and Glomar Disclosure. My articles have been widely read, with some reaching over 100,000 readers. My work has been further discussed in outlets including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and BBC. 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 regarding the subject and how I will apply the information), 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.

Sincerely,

Emma Best

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Good morning Ms. Best,

We're contacting you about the FOIA request you made for records concerning Neil Welch. The FBI has located approximately 3042 pages that are potentially responsive to your request. Requests are processed in the order in which they are received through our multi-track processing system, and the FBI receives a voluminous amount of requests on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis. Requests are divided into two primary tracks--simple (under 50 pages of potentially responsive documents) and complex (over 50 pages of potentially responsive documents). Complex requests are further divided into medium (51-950 pages), large (951-8000 pages), and extra-large (over 8000 pages) sub-tracks based upon request size.

Simple track requests typically require the least amount of time to process. The more potentially responsive pages a request has, the more complex it becomes, greatly increasing the time required for processing. Generally, the larger the file, the longer it takes to process. A review of your request determined that it is currently in the complex request large processing track. Given our current workload and staffing levels, it may yet be a long time before you begin to receive material from this request.

Reducing the scope of your request may accelerate the processing and allow for a more timely receipt of the information you seek, as it could potentially place your request into a smaller, faster processing track. This may also reduce duplication costs, if applicable. Would you be willing to consider reducing the scope of your request? If so, I would be happy to help you to decide the best approach to take. We could potentially narrow your request by date, or if you are looking for something specific, we could approach the scope reduction process in that way.

Please let me know if you would like to potentially reduce the scope of your request. We can be reached via email at fbi.foipa.negotiation@fbi.gov, or you may call 540-868-1695, Monday - Friday between the hours of 7:00am and 3:00pm Eastern time.

Best regards,

FOIA Negotiation Team
FBI Records Management Division

Need a status check? Contact FOIPA Questions (foipaquestions@fbi.gov).

From: Emma Best

I'm afraid I don't see any simple terms by which I could limit the scope of the request, but I'm open to suggestions if anything comes to mind while looking over the file.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

There’s a background security investigation conducted prior to the subject’s becoming assistant director. If we were to narrow the request to that file, you would have approximately 848 pages and the request would move to the medium track. Would you be willing to narrow the request in this fashion?

From: Emma Best

That sounds great, thanks for the suggestion! Let's go ahead and do that.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Sounds great – we will put that through.

Best regards,

FOIA Negotiation Team
FBI Records Management Division

Need a status check? Contact FOIPA Questions (foipaquestions@fbi.gov).

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Please check the status of your FOIPA Request at http://vault.fbi.gov by clicking on “Check Status of Your FOI/PA Request” on the right side of the page, and follow the instructions below.
Check the Status of Your FOIPA Request
If your FOIPA Number is [1195846-0] please enter [1195846-000] into the system. If your FOIPA Number is [1195846-1] please enter [1195846-001] into the system. If you have any questions about the status of your FOIPA request, please e-mail foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov<mailto:foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov>.
FIND STATUS OF FOIPA- Request statuses are updated weekly
Please enter the whole FOIPA number-Example: [1234567-000]
FOIPA:
Results will show the Request Number, Case Type and Process Description shown below:
FOIPA:
1234567-000
Case Type:
FOIPA
Process Description (Will display the current progress of the request)
The FBI’s FOIPA Program is searching the FBI’s indices for potentially responsive documents.
You may be contacted via formal letter for all fees and/or negotiation issues that may apply.
NOTE: Recent requests are entered into the FOIPA database in the order that they are received. Before you can check the status, you must have received correspondence assigning a FOIPA request number and the information transferred to the online database. Status information is updated weekly. If a request has been closed within the last six months the online database will display the following: The FOIPA number entered has been closed, and appropriate correspondence has been sent to the address on file.
Estimated Dates of Completion
Requests are processed in the order in which they are received through our multi-track processing system, and the FBI receives a voluminous amount of requests on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis. Requests are divided into two primary tracks--simple (under 50 pages of potentially responsive documents) and complex (over 50 pages of potentially responsive documents). Our complex requests are further divided into medium, large, and extra-large sub-tracks. Simple track requests typically require the least amount of time to process.
Currently, simple track cases average approximately 80 days from the date of receipt for processing. Requests in the medium processing track are currently averaging 281 days from the date of receipt for processing, those in the large processing track are currently averaging approximately 774 days, and those in the extra-large track are averaging 879 days.

Thank you,

Public Information Officer
Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS) FBI-Records Management Division
170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
Direct: (540) 868-4593
Fax: (540) 868-4391/4997
Questions E-mail: foipaquestions@fbi.gov<mailto:foipaquestions@fbi.gov>

Do you have further questions about the FOI/PA process? Visit us at http://www.fbi.gov/foia

Please check the status of your request online at https://vault.fbi.gov/fdps-1/@@search-fdps Status updates are performed on a weekly basis.

Note: This is a non-emergency email address. If this is an emergency, please call 911 directly. If you need to report a tip for immediate action, please contact FBI Tips at http://tips.fbi.gov/ or reach out to your local field office.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Please check the status of your FOIPA Request at http://vault.fbi.gov by clicking on “Check Status of Your FOI/PA Request” on the right side of the page, and follow the instructions below.

Check the Status of Your FOIPA Request
If your FOIPA Number is [1195846-0] please enter [1195846-000] into the system. If your FOIPA Number is [1195846-1] please enter [1195846-001] into the system. If you have any questions about the status of your FOIPA request, please e-mail foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov.

FIND STATUS OF FOIPA- Request statuses are updated weekly

Please enter the whole FOIPA number-Example: [1234567-000]

FOIPA:
Results will show the Request Number, Case Type and Process Description shown below:

FOIPA:
1234567-000

Case Type:
FOIPA
Process Description (Will display the current progress of the request)

The FBI’s FOIPA Program is searching the FBI’s indices for potentially responsive documents.

You may be contacted via formal letter for all fees and/or negotiation issues that may apply.

NOTE: Recent requests are entered into the FOIPA database in the order that they are received. Before you can check the status, you must have received correspondence assigning a FOIPA request number and the information transferred to the online database. Status information is updated weekly. If a request has been closed within the last six months the online database will display the following: The FOIPA number entered has been closed, and appropriate correspondence has been sent to the address on file.

Estimated Dates of Completion
Requests are processed in the order in which they are received through our multi-track processing system, and the FBI receives a voluminous amount of requests on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis. Requests are divided into two primary tracks--simple (under 50 pages of potentially responsive documents) and complex (over 50 pages of potentially responsive documents). Our complex requests are further divided into medium, large, and extra-large sub-tracks. Simple track requests typically require the least amount of time to process.
Currently, simple track cases average approximately 80 days from the date of receipt for processing. Requests in the medium processing track are currently averaging 281 days from the date of receipt for processing, those in the large processing track are currently averaging approximately 774 days, and those in the extra-large track are averaging 879 days.

Thank you,

Public Information Officer
Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS) FBI-Records Management Division
170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
Direct: (540) 868-4593
Fax: (540) 868-4391/4997
Questions E-mail: foipaquestions@fbi.gov<mailto:foipaquestions@fbi.gov>

Do you have further questions about the FOI/PA process? Visit us at http://www.fbi.gov/foia

Please check the status of your request online at https://vault.fbi.gov/fdps-1/@@search-fdps Status updates are performed on a weekly basis.

Note: This is a non-emergency email address. If this is an emergency, please call 911 directly. If you need to report a tip for immediate action, please contact FBI Tips at http://tips.fbi.gov/ or reach out to your local field office.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Please check the status of your FOIPA Request at http://vault.fbi.gov by clicking on “Check Status of Your FOI/PA Request” on the right side of the page, and follow the instructions below.

Check the Status of Your FOIPA Request
If your FOIPA Number is [1195846-0] please enter [1195846-000] into the system. If your FOIPA Number is [1195846-1] please enter [1195846-001] into the system. If you have any questions about the status of your FOIPA request, please e-mail foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov.

FIND STATUS OF FOIPA- Request statuses are updated weekly

Please enter the whole FOIPA number-Example: [1234567-000]

FOIPA:
Results will show the Request Number, Case Type and Process Description shown below:

FOIPA:
1234567-000

Case Type:
FOIPA
Process Description (Will display the current progress of the request)

The FBI’s FOIPA Program is searching the FBI’s indices for potentially responsive documents.

You may be contacted via formal letter for all fees and/or negotiation issues that may apply.

NOTE: Recent requests are entered into the FOIPA database in the order that they are received. Before you can check the status, you must have received correspondence assigning a FOIPA request number and the information transferred to the online database. Status information is updated weekly. If a request has been closed within the last six months the online database will display the following: The FOIPA number entered has been closed, and appropriate correspondence has been sent to the address on file.

Estimated Dates of Completion
Requests are processed in the order in which they are received through our multi-track processing system, and the FBI receives a voluminous amount of requests on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis. Requests are divided into two primary tracks--simple (under 50 pages of potentially responsive documents) and complex (over 50 pages of potentially responsive documents). Our complex requests are further divided into medium, large, and extra-large sub-tracks. Simple track requests typically require the least amount of time to process.
Currently, simple track cases average approximately 80 days from the date of receipt for processing. Requests in the medium processing track are currently averaging 281 days from the date of receipt for processing, those in the large processing track are currently averaging approximately 774 days, and those in the extra-large track are averaging 879 days.

Thank you,

Public Information Officer
Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS) FBI-Records Management Division
170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
Direct: (540) 868-4593
Fax: (540) 868-4391/4997
Questions E-mail: foipaquestions@fbi.gov<mailto:foipaquestions@fbi.gov>

Do you have further questions about the FOI/PA process? Visit us at http://www.fbi.gov/foia

Please check the status of your request online at https://vault.fbi.gov/fdps-1/@@search-fdps Status updates are performed on a weekly basis.

Note: This is a non-emergency email address. If this is an emergency, please call 911 directly. If you need to report a tip for immediate action, please contact FBI Tips at http://tips.fbi.gov/ or reach out to your local field office.

Files

pages

Close