SF-716 2001-2017 (Department of Agriculture)

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

It is a clone of this request.

Tracking #

FOIA 2018-DA-04812-F

Multi Request SF-716 2001-2017
Est. Completion None
Awaiting Response


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-716 forms (https://www.archives.gov/files/isoo/security-forms/sf716.pdf) produced from January 1, 2001 through December 31, 2017. SF-716 forms are filed annually and may also be identified as Agency Security Classification Costs Estimates.

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.

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). 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 are moot for the purposes of determining the 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

From: Department of Agriculture

Dear Ms. Best:
This email acknowledges receipt of your attached June 25, 2018, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Departmental FOIA Office (DFO). This office received your request for processing on June 26, 2018.
The DFO is under the purview of the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) and serves as the focal point for USDA's FOIA program. The DFO provides coordination and ensures agency-wide compliance with the FOIA. Additionally, the DFO processes requests and appeals on behalf of the Office of the Secretary and Departmental Administration's (DA) components (previously Departmental Management). For a complete listing of DA's components, please visit http://www.dm.usda.gov/agencies.htm.

The FOIA regulation 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(i) requires USDA to make a determination in response to a FOIA request within 20 business days from its date of receipt. In unusual circumstances, the Federal agency time limit may be extended by 10 business days as stated in 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(B). If your request seeks numerous records that will necessitate a wide-ranging search including searches with components and possible consultations with components that have a substantial interest in the determination of this request, USDA will invoke a 10 business day extension for determination of your request. You have the option to narrow the scope of your request to limit the number of potentially responsive records.

Due to the increasing number of FOIA requests received by this office, we may encounter some delay in processing your request. Pursuant to USDA FOIA regulations, Title 7 CFR §1.8(d), the USDA processes FOIA requests according to their order of receipt.
Provisions of the FOIA allow USDA to recover part of the cost of complying with your request. For purposes of fee assessment, you have been categorized as a media requester, pursuant to 7 CFR Appendix A to Subpart A of Part 1 Section (5)(c). For your review and information, a copy of the USDA FOIA Fee Schedule is attached.
You have requested a fee waiver. However, your classification as a media requester renders your fee waiver request moot because the only fees that would apply to you are duplication costs beyond the first 100 pages. Since you requested that your response be delivered electronically, duplication costs are not anticipated.
A search will be conducted for records responsive to your request. If any responsive records are located, they will be reviewed for determination of releasability. Please be assured that a FOIA analyst will respond to your request as expeditiously as possible. We appreciate your patience as we proceed with your request.
Your request has been assigned FOIA Case No. 2018-DA-04812-F. Please refer to this case number in any future correspondence. If you have any questions regarding the processing of this request, please contact Ms. Kathleen Drohan at 202-694-1802, kathleen.drohan@ocio.usda.gov<mailto:kathleen.drohan@ocio.usda.gov>, or USDAFOIA@ocio.usda.gov<mailto:USDAFOIA@ocio.usda.gov>. For additional information regarding USDA FOIA regulations and process, please refer to the information available on-line at www.dm.usda.gov/foia<http://www.dm.usda.gov/foia>.
The DFO team appreciates the opportunity to assist you.
Kathleen Drohan, on behalf of the DFO team.
Kathleen Drohan
FOIA Analyst (Contractor)
United States Department of Agriculture
Departmental FOIA Office
Office of the Chief Information Officer
Room 4105
1400 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington DC 20250
Telephone: (202) 694-1802
Email: Kathleen.Drohan@ocio.usda.gov

This electronic message contains information generated by the USDA solely for the intended recipients. Any unauthorized interception of this message or the use or disclosure of the information it contains may violate the law and subject the violator to civil or criminal penalties. If you believe you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and delete the email immediately.

From: Department of Agriculture

Hi Emma,

I was wondering if you would be willing to provide a phone number so I could call you to speak about your request? Do you just want the SF-716 forms themselves or are you more specifically looking for information that is contained/reported on the forms?


From: Department of Agriculture

Hi Emma,

Just following up on the below email.


From: Emma Best

I'm looking for the forms themselves, and any readily accessible documents that were sent along with them (i.e. cover letters, accompanying emails or memos, etc.)