SF-311 2017 (Department of Agriculture)

Emma Best filed this request with the Department of Agriculture of the United States of America.
Tracking #

2018-DA-04812-F

Multi Request SF-311 2017
Est. Completion None
Status
Fix Required

Communications

From: Emma Best


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

Copies of all drafted, submitted or received SF-311 forms (https://www.archives.gov/files/isoo/security-forms/sf311.pdf) produced in the year prior to the receipt of this FOIA request. SF-311 forms may also be identified as Agency Security Classification Management Program Data.

I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I have previously written about the government and its activities, 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 non-profits such as the Internet Archive and MuckRock, 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 my primary purpose is to inform about government activities by reporting on it and making the raw data available, I 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,

Emma Best

From: Department of Agriculture

Hi Emma,

Your request is in the final stages of review and I anticipate having it to you shortly.
Thanks,

Kathleen

From: Department of Agriculture

Hi Emma,

Attached is the final response the DFO sent to you on August 27th. Let me know if you have additional questions.
Thanks,

Kathleen

From: Emma Best

There was a cover letter saying the response was attached. I don't seem to have a copy of the response itself, though. Could you resend it?

From: Department of Agriculture

Hi Emma,

Sure thing. Attached is a copy of the final response.

As described in the response, the Office of the Inspector General (IG) will be responding to your request. The response contains FOIA contact information for IG.
Thanks,

Kathleen

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