TSA: "Still Interested Letters" procedures

Shawn Musgrave filed this request with the Transportation Security Administration of the United States of America.
Tracking # 2016-TSFO-00101
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Shawn Musgrave

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

All current and previous standard operating procedures for issuing "still interested letters" to FOIA requesters.

Per a compliance report released by the Office of Government Information Services in January 2016 (see: https://ogis.archives.gov/Assets/Transportation+Security+Administration+(TSA)+Freedom+of+Information+Act+(FOIA)+Compliance+Report.pdf):

"TSA FOIA leaders informed us that the FOIA Office uses “still interested” letters for requests that are four or more years old. The letters give requesters 10 days to respond to the agency indicating their continued interest in the requested records. Almost all requesters respond within those 10 days, according to TSA.

TSA’s practice of providing requesters with 10 days to respond to a “still interested” letter is shorter than the number of days provided by other DHS components. Additionally, DOJ recently issued guidance instructing agencies to provide requesters with at least 30 days to respond and emphasizing that a requester should not be disadvantaged if he/she misses the deadline: the agency should re-open the request when contacted by the requester, and the request should be placed in the queue at approximately the same place it was had the “still interested” letter not been sent. We recommend that TSA change its practice to follow DOJ guidance. We note that since our review, the FOIA Branch informed us that it has created standard operating procedures regarding the use of “still interested” letters in accordance with DOJ guidance and DHS practice."

As this request is submitted in my capacity as a journalist who has covered the Department of Homeland Security — including the TSA — extensively, as well as the administration of FOIA at all levels of government, I assert that I am appropriately categorized as a media requester for the purpose of fees. As the requested documents will be posted online for the public to access free of charge, and pertain to a matter of great public interest, I further request that any fees be waived in the public interest.

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.

Sincerely,

Shawn Musgrave

From: foia@tsa.dhs.gov

Good Afternoon, Attached is our acknowledgment to your TSA FOIA request. If you need to contact this office again concerning your request, please provide the TSA reference number. This will enable us to quickly retrieve the information you are seeking and reduce our response time. This office can be reached at 571-227-2300. Regards,
Regina McCoy
FOIA Branch Officer

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello -

Thank you for acknowledging this request. Please confirm that I have been categorized as a media requester for the purpose of fees.

Best,
Shawn Musgrave

From: FOIA

Good morning,

Yes you have been categorized as a media requester.

Thank you. Have a great day!!

Administrative Clerk, CTR
Dynamis, Inc. in support of:
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

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From: FOIA

Mr. Musgrave,

Attached is the final response to your TSA FOIA Request.

Thank you,

Administrative Clerk, CTR
Dynamis, Inc. in support of:
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

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