|Submitted||Feb. 21, 2017|
|Due||March 21, 2017|
MuckRock users can file, duplicate, track, and share public records requests like this one. Learn more.
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.
An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.
To Whom It May Concern:
I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Feb. 21, 2017. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #F-2017-03787.
Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.
Dear Mr. Best,
This is in reference to your letter faxed on April 6, 2017 regarding FOIA case F-2017-03787. The Department's electronic case notes indicate processing of this case is underway. Each case is different and the processing time depends on the complexity of the information requested, the location of the information, and the time it takes to review the records. The estimated completion date (ECD) for this case is June 2018.
Please note that ECDs are subject to change and are "strictly" estimates. They are not intended to be used as "actual" dates of completion, due to various extenuating factors, which are beyond the control of the Branch, which may or may not include coordination with other Agencies during the process (referrals, concurrences, etc.). Interim release dates are provided, as applicable.
We hope this information is helpful. If you have further concerns or any questions regarding any FOIA-related matter, please contact the FOIA Requester Service Center (FRSC) at (202) 261-8484, or fax us at (202) 261-8579 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. Department of State
FOIA Requester Service Center
Official - Transitory