Samuel Cummings

Emma Best filed this request with the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America.
Tracking # 1366034-000
Due March 9, 2017
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

From: Michael 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 Samuel Cummings, (7 February 1927 – 29 April 1998) was an American small arms dealer. He founded the International Armament Corporation (also known as Interarms or Interarmco) in 1953, a company which came to dominate the free world market in private arms sales. Cummings became a US Army weapons specialist at Fort Lee, Virginia after World War II. Following his military discharge he attended George Washington University on the GI Bill, where he was recruited in 1950 by the Central Intelligence Agency as a weapons expert. http://www.nytimes.com/1998/05/05/world/samuel-cummings-71-trader-in-weapons-on-a-grand-scale.html

Please conduct a search of the Central Records System, including but not limited to the Electronic Surveillance (ELSUR) Indices, 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 of both HQ and all field offices for all relevant names, agencies, organizations, companies and events including but not limited to those cited in the previous obituary including, but not limited to, a cross-reference search with the Iran-Contra file and all individuals associated with that file. If previously released records are available, then I request a rolling release consisting of those records while additional records are located and processed for release.

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: FOIPARequest

Good morning Mr. Best,

Before the FBI can process your Freedom of Information Act/Privacy (FOIPA) request you must provide the following information highlighted with an “X” Mark.

_____A current and complete mailing address is required as the FBI does not send releases and/or correspondence by electronic means. (Unless the request has already been submitted through eFOIPA.)

_____Proof of death is required such as: (death certificate, obituary, written media, recognized source that can be documented, Who’s Who in America, FBI file that indicates subject is deceased, or the Social Security Death Index Page). Proof of death is not required if date of birth is 100 years ago or greater but a date of birth is needed

__x___A website link in itself does not satisfy the proof of death requirement (Please provide the actual documentation and source)

_____The U. S. Department of Justice DOJ-361 Form<https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/u-s-department-of-justice-form-361-certification-of-identity.pdf/view> (Certification of Identity) requires an original and legible signature

_____ The U. S. Department of Justice DOJ-361 Form<https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/u-s-department-of-justice-form-361-certification-of-identity.pdf/view> (Certification of Identity) and/or privacy waiver must be completed before a Privacy Act request can be processed. Please send the attachment or attachments independently in either a Word Document or PDF.

_____The U. S. Department of Justice DOJ-361 Form<https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/u-s-department-of-justice-form-361-certification-of-identity.pdf/view> (Certification of Identity) and/or privacy waiver is not legible, properly sized or cannot be accessed in the submitted format. Please send the attachment or attachments independently in either a Word Document or PDF. The documents must be compatible with Microsoft Office 2007 products.

_____Other information as stated:

_____The attachments cannot be opened in the present format. Please resend either as a pdf or a Word Document.

Please complete and submit the required information in order for the FBI to process your request.

Information regarding the Freedom of Information Act/Privacy is available at http://www.fbi.gov/ or http://www.fbi.gov/foia/. If you require additional assistance please contact me.

Thank you,

Leanna Ramsey
Public Information Officer
Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS) FBI-Records Management Division
170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
PIO: (540) 868-4593
Direct: (540) 868-4854
Fax: (540) 868-4391/4997
Questions E-mail: foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov<mailto:foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov>

PLEASE REPLY DIRECTLY TO FOIPAREQUESTS@IC.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.

From: Michael Best

You are attempting to cite exemptions without citing them and without processing the request. This is not permitted by either statute or case law.

Furthermore, the URL allows for instant verification of its authenticity, while a scanned copy of an article or obituary could easily be faked.

Furthermore, the FBI has made it the standard that it is permitted to fulfill FOIA requests simply by providing a link to the FOIA vault, not even to specific documents. If this is sufficient to fulfill a FOIA request, without providing the actual documents, then the URL is sufficient for the obituary.

Furthermore, the FBI has made it its de facto policy to accept URLs making its refusal to do so for me arbitrary and capricious, and therefore illegal.

Therefore, you will accept the FOIA and process it as required by both statute and case law. If you decline to do so, you shall advise me of my administrative right to appeal your adverse determination, as required by both statute and case law.

From: FOIPAQUESTIONS

Dear Mr. Best,

Your FOIPA Request Number is 1366034-000.

Please check the status of your FOIPA Request at https://vault.fbi.gov/fdps-1/@@search-fdps, 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- LAST UPDATED ON February 1, 2017

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 181 days from the date of receipt for processing. Requests in the medium processing track are currently averaging 232 days from the date of receipt for processing, those in the large processing track are currently averaging approximately 659 days, and those in the extra-large track are averaging 998 days.

Thank you,

Holly Early
Government Information Specialist
Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS)
FBI-Records Management Division
170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
PIO Line: (540) 868-4593
Direct: (540) 868-4854
Fax: (540) 868-4391 or (450)868-4997
Questions E-mail: foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov<mailto:foipaquestions@ic.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.

From: Michael Best

Unless you are accepting the URL for the New York Times obituary, then "A website link in itself does not satisfy the estimated date of completion requirement." Please provide the explicitly requested information or confirm that you have accepted the provided proof of death.

From: Michael Best

Also, the number you provided produces the error message "The FOIPA 1366034-000 has not found in the database." If one _were_ able to accept website links, that is. So...

From: FOIPAQUESTIONS

Mr. Best,

Your request was received on 02-01-2017 (actual date request was opened in the FOIPA Document Processing System), after last week’s online status update. It will appear in the database after the next update. As a reminder, statuses are updated once weekly.

Your request is in the Initial Processing stage. The estimated date of completion is therefore based on the median processing time of complex requests (large processing track). Accordingly, the estimated date on which the FBI will complete action on your request is 659 days from the date of your request.

As previously indicated by PIO Leanna Ramsey, web links are insufficient for satisfying the proof of death requirement; you will need to attach a copy of the proof of death to your correspondence.

Thank you,

Holly Early
Government Information Specialist
Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS)
FBI-Records Management Division
170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
PIO Line: (540) 868-4593
Direct: (540) 868-4854
Fax: (540) 868-4391 or (450)868-4997
Questions E-mail: foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov<mailto:foipaquestions@ic.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.

From: Michael Best

Thanks for clarifying that instead of giving me the information when requested and as required by statute, your agency told me to use a system that you knew could not work and referred me to it using a web link, which is acceptable from you but not from me. Your double standard is only half as staggering as your agency's decision to force the use of a barely working system and to direct me to it despite knowing it couldn't give me the information you were required by statute to provide upon request.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

A fix is required to perfect the request.

From: MuckRock

To Whom It May Concern:

Please find enclosed the requested obituary.

Thank you.

From: Michael Best

Can you confirm receipt of the obituary which was sent on the 10th?

From: FOIPAQUESTIONS

Dear Mr. Best,

I did not receive your email with the obituary. If you would please resend it to me, I’ll be happy to forward it to Initial Processing for you.

Thank you,

Holly Early
Government Information Specialist
Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS)
FBI-Records Management Division
170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
PIO Line: (540) 868-4593
Direct: (540) 868-4854
Fax: (540) 868-4391 or (450)868-4997
Questions E-mail: foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov<mailto:foipaquestions@ic.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.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: MuckRock

To Whom It May Concern:

Please find enclosed a copy of the obituary associated with this request. It can also be accessed here: http://www.nytimes.com/1998/05/05/world/samuel-cummings-71-trader-in-weapons-on-a-grand-scale.html.

Thank you.

From: Michael Best

Can you confirm receipt of the obituary, sent a week ago?

From: FOIPAQUESTIONS

Dear Mr. Best,

We received the obituary; your request is currently in Initial Processing where the assigned analyst is searching for, retrieving, and reviewing potentially responsive records.

Thank you,

Holly Early
Government Information Specialist
Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS)
FBI-Records Management Division
170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
PIO Line: (540) 868-4593
Direct: (540) 868-4854
Fax: (540) 868-4391 or (450)868-4997
Questions E-mail: foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov<mailto:foipaquestions@ic.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.

From: Michael Best

Thanks so much for confirming that it got there. I'm really looking forward to this (eventual) release!

Mike

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