Tor relays owned/controlled/run/operated by the DoD

Runa Sandvik filed this request with the Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense of the United States of America.
Est. Completion None


From: Runa A. Sandvik

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request all memoranda, briefs, emails, records and any other documents including communications and procurements relating to Tor relays owned, controlled, run, or operated by the DoD, either on a DoD network or elsewhere.

In order to process this request, please make sure to reach out to any network administration, IT security, and other IT personnel and IT departments that might reasonably monitor, direct policy, or otherwise come in contact with this network protocol.

Tor ( is a service which helps users protect their anonymity and privacy while using the Internet. A Tor relay is a server in the Tor network which receives and forwards encrypted user traffic to other servers in the network.

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, 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.


Runa A. Sandvik

From: Council, Suzanne CIV WHS-ESD

MuckRock News
Attn: Runa A. Sandvik
DEPT MR 6271
Post Office box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

Sent by Email:

Dear Runa Sandvik:

This is in response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated 17 Jul 13 and received on that day, for "all memo, briefs, emails, records and any other documents including communications and procurements relating to Tor relays owned, controlled, run, or operated by the DoD, either on a DoD network or elsewhere." Your request was assigned FOIA case number 13-F-1115.

This office handles FOIA requests for the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff (OSD/JS) only. FOIA requests involving the search of offices outside of OSD/JS should be directed to the appropriate FOIA office. You may find links to the non-OSD/JS DoD FOIA requester services on our website at:

According to the FOIA's legislative history, a description would be sufficient if it enabled a professional employee of the agency who was familiar with the subject area of the request to locate the record with a reasonable amount of effort, and reasonably describes records if the agency is able to determine "precisely" what records are being requested.

Courts have identified at least three (3) ways in which a FOIA request can fail to reasonably describe the records sought:
1) the description may be too vague to allow the agency to determine precisely what records are being requested; an agency is not required to have clairvoyant capabilities to discover the requestor's need;
2) broad sweeping requests lacking specificity are insufficient; and,
3) even where a request sufficiently describes the records sought, an agency is not required to comply with a request so broad that it would impose an unreasonable burden upon the agency. An agency need not honor a request that requires an unreasonably burdensome search. The "reasonably describes" requirement exists because the FOIA was not intended to reduce government agencies to full-time investigators on behalf of requesters. As such, it is the requester's responsibility to frame requests with sufficient particularity to ensure the searches are not unreasonably burdensome, and to enable the searching agency to determine precisely what records are being requested.

In recent court action, James Madison Project (JMP) vs. CIA, the court referred to the request as "too broad because the term "pertaining to" is synonymous to the term "relating to," which generally indicates an overbroad request. A request for "all documents 'relating to' a subject is usually subject to criticism as overbroad since life, like law, is a 'seamless web,' and all documents 'relate' to others in some remote fashion." Massachusetts v. U.S. Dep't of Health & Human Servs., 727 F. Supp. 35, 36 n.2 (D. Mass. 1989). Such a request "unfairly places the onus of non-production on the recipient of the request and not where it belongs - upon the person who drafted such a sloppy request."

You make no reference to the office(s) responsible for containing the records you request. In addition, you do not provide a date range of the records you believe exist. Therefore, please provide the name of the OSD/JS office(s) which you believe would hold records responsive to your request and the date range of potential records in which you are interested. As it stands, your request is not reasonably described. If we have not heard from you by close of business 26 July 2013, we will believe that you are no longer interested and close the request.

If you are not satisfied with this action, you may submit an administrative appeal to James Hogan, Defense Freedom of Information Policy Office, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1155. Your appeal should be postmarked within 60 calendar days of the date of this letter, should cite to case number 13-F-1115, and should be clearly marked "Freedom of Information Act Appeal."

The action officer assigned to your request can be reached by email Donald.Nichelson@WHS.Mil. Please reference the case number indicated above in all correspondence with this office.


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