SF-311 2017 (U.S. Department of State)

Emma Best filed this request with the U.S. Department of State of the United States of America.
Tracking #

F-2018-04549

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

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: U.S. Department of State

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: U.S. Department of State

Ms. Best,

This email is in reference to your July 16, 2018 letter. The Office of Information Programs and Services electronic Records System indicates your request for case control number F-2018-04594 remains in process.

The Department currently has a backlog of approximately 10,500 cases. As a result, there is presently a delay in the completion of FOIA and Privacy Act requests.

There is no more information to provide at this time.
Regards,

J. Berhane
FOIA Status
U.S. Department of State
(202)261-8484

Official - Transitory
UNCLASSIFIED

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