|Multi Request||The Unknowns|
|Submitted||Nov. 17, 2018|
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To Whom It May Concern:
Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:
Files mentioning The Unknowns, a self-proclaimed ethical hacking group that came to attention in May 2012 after exploiting weaknesses in the security of NASA, CIA, White House, the European Space Agency, Harvard University, Renault, the United States Military Joint Pathology Center, the Royal Thai Navy, and several ministries of defense.
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 in outlets such as MuckRock, Motherboard, Property of the People, AND Magazine, Unicorn Riot, and more. 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 library Internet Archive and and the journalist non-profit, 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 request has been rejected, with the agency stating that it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of the requested documents.