Twitter DMs (U.S. Department of State)

Emma Best filed this request with the U.S. Department of State of the United States of America.
Tracking # F-201703740
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Appeal

Communications

From: Michael Best

To Whom It May Concern:

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

Copies of all Twitter Direct Messages sent to or from any Agency Twitter accounts.

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.

Sincerely,

Michael Best

From: FOIA Status

Mr. Michael Best,

Your organization has a substantial number of requests. The Department of State keeps track of requests by case numbers. In the future when you request a status on a case please provide the case number in the subject line of your message. This will not only make it easier to find your case, it will facilitate a quick answer to your inquiry.

Please provide the case number of your request so we can answer your inquiry.

We hope this information is helpful. If you have further concerns or any questions regarding any FOIA-related matter, please contact the FOIA Requester Service Center (FRSC) at (202) 261-8484, or fax us at (202) 261-8579 or send an e-mail to foiastatus@state.gov<mailto:foiastatus@state.gov>

Sincerely,

U.S. Department of State
FOIA Requester Service Center
(202) 261-8484
foiastatus@state.gov<mailto:foiastatus@state.gov>

Official - Transitory
UNCLASSIFIED

From: Michael Best

I would love to provide a case number, but you never assigned one or even acknowledged the request.

For your convenience, however, a copy of the request is below:

To Whom It May Concern:

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

Copies of all Twitter Direct Messages sent to or from any Agency Twitter accounts.

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.

Sincerely,

Michael Best

From: FOIA Status

Mr. Best,

The FOIA Status email mailbox is not the correct avenue that accepts FOIA requests. To file a FOIA request, you must either submit such a request electronically at the Department of State's FOIA website at: www.foia.state.gov<http://www.foia.state.gov>, fax the request to the Requester Communication Branch at: 202 261-8579, or mail the request to: U.S. Department of State, Office of Information Programs and Services, (A/GIS/IPS/RL/RC), 515 22nd Street, N.W., Suite 8100, Washington, D.C. 20522. Once your request has been submitted, the Department will mail an acknowledgment letter with an assigned case control number within a few weeks. If you submitted a request over a month but have not received a letter from Department it is possible the request was never received. In this case, please resubmit your request to the three avenues mentioned.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have further concerns or any questions regarding any FOIA-related matter, please contact the FOIA Requester Service Center (FRSC) at (202) 261-8484, or fax us at (202) 261-8579 or send an e-mail to foiastatus@state.gov<mailto:foiastatus@state.gov>.

Sincerely,

U.S. Department of State
FOIA Requester Service Center
(202) 261-8484
foiastatus@state.gov<mailto:foiastatus@state.gov>

From: Michael Best

I am trying to find out the status of the request which you never acknowledged and gave me a tracking number for. I am requesting a status update and giving you all of the information I have. I am NOT submitting a new request.

From: MuckRock

Please acknowledge and provide a tracking number for the following request.

Thank you.
__________

To Whom It May Concern:

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

Copies of all Twitter Direct Messages sent to or from any Agency Twitter accounts.

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.

Sincerely,

Michael Best

From: FOIA Status

Mr. Best - This is in response to your April 24, 2017 faxed transmission following up on your February 21, 2017 FOIA request.

At this time, a copy of the Department's February 27, 2017 letter responding to your February 21, 2017 FOIA request has been digitally sent to the preferred email you provided at: 33750-0851995@requests.muckrock,com.

Regards,
Katrina Wood
FOIA Requester Service Center

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Please open the attached document. This document was digitally sent to you using an HP Digital Sending device.
Official - Transitory
UNCLASSIFIED

From: Michael Best

I am appealing the decision that I did not reasonably describe the records. They are well described more than thoroughly enough for anyone to locate them - Direct Messages from Twitter are easy to locate and retrieve, and the scope of "all" simplifies the process of determining if a message is responsive - they all are.

Note that other Agencies have had no difficulty with this request, and claims that the search is difficult to do are seen as disingenuous at best - especially by anyone who has used Twitter and knows how simple it is to find and retrieve Direct Messages.

From: U.S. Department of State

A letter stating that the request appeal has been received and is being processed.

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