SF-311 forms (Department of Energy)

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

HQ-2017-00601-F

Status
Completed

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:

Copies of all drafted or submitted SF-311 forms (https://www.archives.gov/files/isoo/security-forms/sf311.pdf) for all available years.

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. Per DOJ FOIA guidance, "a requester should be granted a fee waiver if the requested information (1) sheds light on the activities and operations of the government; (2) is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of those operations and activities; and (3) is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester." As this FOIA meets all of those requirements (see above), a fee waiver is warranted.

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: Lukis, Charles (CONTR)

Good Morning Mr. Best,

Thank you for the request for information that you made to the Department of Energy. In this case, you requested: "Documentation describing the email system(s) used by your agency, including the procedures and methods for performing searches of the email system."

The program office has advised me that the request should be more specific in order to provide responsive documents. Please call me at the number listed below to discuss how we might reword your request so that we can provide you with the information you are seeking in a timely manner.

Charles Lukis
Central Research, Contractor to the
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20585
202-287-6831

From: Lukis, Charles (CONTR)

Good Morning Mr. Best,

Thank you for the request for information that you made to the Department of Energy. In this case, you requested "Copies of all drafted or submitted SF-311 forms (https://www.archives.gov/files/isoo/security-forms/sf311.pdf) for all available years."

The program office has advised me that they may be in possession of responsive documents going as far back as the 1970's. Is there a particular time frame that you are interested in?
Please call me at the number listed below to discuss this matter further.

Thank you,

Charles Lukis
Central Research, Contractor to the
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20585
202-287-6831

From: Michael Best

Unless you can think of a reason to exclude some years (such as there being many more forms than I anticipate), I'd appreciate records for all of those years. Thanks!

From: Lukis, Charles (CONTR)

Mr. Best,

I spoke to the program office and they stated that reports are filed yearly and each report is around 40 pages. That would put us somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500 pages of documents total.

Would you be willing to amend your request to cover the last 10 years?

Charles Lukis
Central Research, Contractor to the
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20585
202-287-6831

From: Lukis, Charles (CONTR)

Good Morning Mr. Best,

I am writing to follow up on my email on February 24. In this case, you requested: "Documentation describing the email system(s) used by your agency, including the procedures and methods for performing searches of the email system."

On February 24, I stated that the request should be more specific in order to provide responsive documents. After having further discussed this matter with the program office, it appears that they would be unable to provide any responsive documents unless the request is made more specific.

If you do not contact me to discuss this matter in 2 weeks, we will be closing this request. Please call me at the number listed below.

Thank you,

Charles Lukis
Central Research, Contractor to the
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20585
202-287-6831

From: Lukis, Charles (CONTR)

Good Morning Mr. Best,

Please find attached DOE's interim response to the above referenced FOIA request. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Charles Lukis
Central Research, Contractor to the
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20585
202-287-6831

From: Lukis, Charles (CONTR)

Good Morning Mr. Best,

On March 1, 2017 I informed that we were unable to provide responsive documents to this FOIA request unless you made the request more specific. You were also informed that your case would be closed if you did not contact me within 2 weeks.

Since you have not contacted me, I assume that you are no longer interested in pursuing this request. Therefore, this case will be closed. You may contact our office if you would like to resubmit your request.

Charles Lukis
Central Research, Contractor to the
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20585
202-287-6831

From: Michael Best

I am appealing the decision that the request was not specific enough. I requested a specific form, which is filed with a specific agency, on a regular but limited basis. As such, there would be no difficulty for anyone familiar with the matter to formulate a search for these records.

From: Lukis, Charles (CONTR)

Good Afternoon Mr. Best,

Please find attached DOE's final response to the above referenced FOIA request. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you,

Charles Lukis
Central Research, Contractor to the
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20585
202-287-6831

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