State Dissent Channel 2016 (2017 partial)

Emma Best filed this request with the United States Agency for International Development of the United States of America.

It is a clone of this request.

Tracking #


Est. Completion None
No Responsive Documents


From: Michael Best

To Whom It May Concern:

By the power vested in me under the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

All submissions, memos, emails and other materials filed to or through the "Dissent Channel" in 2016 and 2017 through the date of the processing of this request.

As defined under 2 FAM 072, the Dissent Channel “is a serious policy channel reserved only for consideration of responsible dissenting and alternative views on substantive foreign policy issues that cannot be communicated in a full and timely manner through regular operating channels and procedures.”

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.

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.


Michael Best

From: Campbell, Pamela

January 31, 2017
Dear Mr. Michael  Best,
Attached is an acknowledgement letter assigning the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) number to your request.  You will be notified shortly of the assigned FOIA Specialist that will be processing this FOIA request.  If you have questions, please contact us on 202 712-0960 or by e-mail at (
Pamela A. Campbell
Bureau for Management
Office of Management Services
Information and Records Division

From: Frazier, Kimberly

February 8, 2017
Dear Mr. Best:
This acknowledges receipt of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), dated January 30, 2017. You requested all submissions to or through the Dissent Channel in 2016 and 2017.  The dates for search are January 1, 2016 to January 30, 2017.
You requested a fee waiver.  The FOIA provides that fees should be waived or reduced if disclosure of the information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.  As a member of the media, the only applicable fee is duplication.  Duplication is $0.20 per page, but the first 100 pages are free.   After review of the fee waiver criteria, your fee waiver request is moot.  Since the only applicable fee is duplication, and USAID routinely furnishes responsive records to the FOIA requester in electronic format, it's most likely there will be no duplication fees to assess.
Your request has been assigned to Brooke Nicholas, FOIA Specialist.  You may contact Brooke by email at
or by phone on (202) 712-0552.  Please reference the tracking number cited above in any future correspondence.  If additional information is required to assist USAID search for responsive records, Brooke will contact you. (
​Thank you for your patience and interest in USAID.
Kimberly Frazier
Senior FOIA Specialist
Bureau for Management
Office of Management Services
Information and Records Division

From: Nicholas, Brooke

Hello: Please see the enclosed response to your request.
Brooke Nicholas