SF-311 2017 (Department of Health and Human Services)

Emma North-Best filed this request with the Department of Health and Human Services of the United States of America.
Tracking #


Multi Request SF-311 2017
Due July 16, 2018
Est. Completion None
Awaiting Response


From: Emma North-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.


Emma Best


RE: 2018-01347-FOIA-OS Ms. Emma Best MuckRock.com
DEPT MR 54994 411A Highland Avenue
Somerville, MA 02144-2516
Good morning, Ms. Best. This e-mail is in response to your August 6, 2018 e-mail, in which you inquired regarding the status of your June 17, 2018 FOIA request. In that FOIA request, you sought the following records, as stated: "copies of all draft, 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.” We apologize for the delay in processing your FOIA request.  We have experienced an increase in the volume of FOIA requests, and currently have several staff vacancies in our office. Your FOIA request is being processed, and our office has sent your request for records search. Also, it appears that your August 6, 2018 status inquiry was erroneously logged into our system as a new request under #2018-01369-FOIA-OS. We apologize for that error.  FOIA case number " 2018-01347-FOIA-OS" is your correct reference number.
Deborah Peters, OS FOIA\Privacy Acts Division Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Main Office Line:  202-690-7453


RE: FOIA Request # 2018-01347-FOIA-OS
September 12, 2018
Dear Emma Best,
Please see the attached acknowledgement letter regarding your FOIA request.
Bridget McFarland


Good morning and thank you for your email. The HHS FOIA office has not yet received any responsive records pertaining to your FOIA request. I have reached out to the appropriate program office to ascertain an estimated date of completion for the records search. I do apologize for the delay and hope to have an update soon.


Good morning,

Thank you for your email. The OS FOIA office has received records from our searching component. Your request is currently in the processing queue for disclosure review. We hope to have a final response out to you soon. Thank you and best regards.


Natasha Taylor
Government Information Specialist
FOIA/PA Division
Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs (ASPA)
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Hubert H. Humphrey (HHH) Building, Suite 729H
200 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20201
Phone: (202) 691-2067
Fax: (202) 690-8320