NSA Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Planning Materials

Michael Morisy filed this request with the National Security Agency of the United States of America.
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Tracking # 70761


From: Michael Morisy

To Whom It May Concern:

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

A copy of any written and electronic materials created in preparation for the public opening and announcement of the NSA's Utah Data Center. A ribbon cutting was planned to take place on May 30, and I request all materials created for this and similar events be released. Responsive documents should include copies of (but not necessarily be limited to):

— Print and electronic invitations.
— A copy of the list of invited participants.
— A copy of the list of attendees.
- Any PowerPoint or other presentations presented.
— A copy of the menu for any press, VIP, and ribbon cutting events.
— Copies of any speeches and talking points created for or delivered for this event.
— Copies of any video or audio presentations given.
— Copies of any event post—mortem or lessons learned reports generated after this event.

At least one of these events was planned, as was reported in the following news article:


I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, 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.


Michael Morisy

From: National Security Agency

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: National Security Agency

A letter stating the requester must agree to or prepay assessed or estimated fees in order for the agency to continue processing the request.

From: National Security Agency

A first set of responsive documents from the agency, with more to be sent at a specified date.

From: foiarsc, foiarsc

Mr. Morisy,

We are in receipt of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted via Fax on 23 May 2013 for information related to public events or announcements of "NSA's Utah Data Center". Your request was accepted in the NSA/CSS FOIA Office 24 May 2013. Your case has been assigned Case Number 70761 and is still in processing

The initial correspondence letter was mailed to you on or about 4 June 2013, which discussed your fee category and provided you the above-noted case number. We are mailing out an interim response to you today, which you should be receiving shortly. We appreciate your patience as we process each case in the order in which it was received.

All correspondence was mailed to:
MuckRock News
DEPT MR 5714
PO Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

From: Michael Morisy

To the FOIA Appeal Officer as well as primary FOIA request processor:

This is an appeal and further clarification regarding this agency's recent determination to deny my request to be considered a representative of the news media for FOIA fee categorization.

First, I ask that my request continue to be processed pending review of my appeal. I agree to pay up to $300 in fees if my appeal is denied, and do not wish to further delay this request pending appeal. If further clarification is needed, please let me know and I am happy to provide it.

Secondly, I appeal the determination against classifying me as a media requester for purposes of FOIA fee categorization.

To address the standards outlined by this office more fully:

1) Requester must be a person or entity that gathers information of potential interest (news) to a segment of the public. The FOIA defines 'news' as information that is about current events or that would be of current interest to the public.

Both MuckRock as an organization and I as an individual, gather and report news of great interest to the general public.

MuckRock requests and editorial pieces are regularly re-reported by local, national, and international news organizations, and have sparked congressional questioning, administrative reforms, and broader understanding.

For example, a MuckRock request and reporting on the TOR network:



Which in turn has been cited in numerous other reports:


The Boston Phoenix provided an in-depth profile of our editorial operations:


While noted media commentator Dan Kennedy said MuckRock was a "first amendment hero in the making":


An incomplete list of other outlets re-reporting news broken by MuckRock can be found here:


My own individual requests are part of this editorial process, and already documents released have been analyzed:


2) Requester must use its editorial skills to turn the raw materials into a distinct work.

Unlike some FOIA repository sites, MuckRock also publishes a large amount of original editorial material based on the documents requested by its community. This editorial analysis and commentary is primarily published on its own site:


But occasionally syndicated or appearing in other publications under agreement, such as this investigative front-page story in the Boston Globe:


The editorial capacity includes, but is not limited to, original analysis, original interviews, synthesis of materials, and added context around the documents. MuckRock's team consists of journalists with experience at a number of other more traditional news outlets
including the Boston Phoenix, the Weekly Dig, the New York Daily News, the Boston Globe, and numerous other local, regional, and national publications, and they bring this experience and expertise to bear in analyzing and reporting on requested documents.

3) Requester must distribute that work to an audience.

MuckRock has over 1,000 active members and tens of thousands of readers, constituting a large and, as cited above, obviously influential audience of educated news consumers, so that news reported on the site spreads far beyond its direct readership. For further reference, I again point this office to:


Thank you for your consideration and prompt response to this request, and please do not hesitate to follow up with any further clarifications or questions.


Michael Morisy

From: National Security Agency

A letter stating the requester must agree to or prepay assessed or estimated fees in order for the agency to continue processing the request.

From: Michael Morisy

Pending review of my fee classification appeal, I have enclosed a check for $300 for this request. This payment does not waive my rights to further appeal or litigate fee assessments.

Thank you for your help processing this request.

- Michael

CC: foiarsc@nsa.gov

From: National Security Agency

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

From: foiarsc, foiarsc

Good Morning Mr. Morisy,

The processing of your FOIA Case 70761 is on-going. We hope to have correspondence out to you in the near future.
Your patience is appreciated!

Cindy Blacker

From: National Security Agency

A cover letter granting the request and outlining any exempted materials, if any.

From: National Security Agency

A copy of documents responsive to the request.