US-Bahrain Defense Cooperation Agreement

Troy Carter filed this request with the Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense of the United States of America.
Tracking # M-2014-02846
Status
Rejected

Communications

From: Troy Carter

To Whom It May Concern:

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

Records of Defense Cooperation Agreement with the Kingdom of Bahrain signed on October 28, 1991

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 MuckRock.com, 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.

Sincerely,

Troy Carter

From: Marye, Charles

Dear Troy Carter: This is an interim response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated January 09, 2014, which was received in this office on January 09, 2014.  Your request has been assigned case number 14-F-0336 and we ask that you use that number when referring to your request. With regard to your request for a waiver of any applicable fees, a fee waiver is appropriate when "disclosure of the requested 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." 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(iii) In making a determination, six factors are considered as to whether your request satisfies this statutory standard: (1) whether the subject of the requested records concerns the operations or activities of the government; (2) whether the disclosure is likely to contribute to an understanding of government operations or activities; (3) whether disclosure of the requested information will contribute to the understanding of the general public; (4) whether the disclosure is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of government operations and activities; (5) whether the requester has a commercial interest that would be furthered by the requested disclosure; and, (6) whether any such commercial interest outweighs the public interest in disclosure.
While the requested information does concern the operations and activities of the government and does not appear to be intended for a commercial interest, it is not clear how the responsive documents - should they exist - would significantly contribute to the public understanding of the operations and activities of the government. After carefully reviewing your request I am denying your fee waiver request because the information stated does not support how the documents will significantly contribute to the public's increased understanding of the operations and activities of government.
Please be aware that we reserve the right to grant a fee waiver should a search find documents that meet the criterion of a public interest fee waiver as described in the previous paragraph.
I have determined that you should be placed in the "other" category for fee purposes as you have indicated that you do not seek access to these records for commercial purposes. The "other" fee category affords you two hours of search time and 100 pages of duplication free of charge. As you did not provide any willingness to pay, search will be halted after your two free hours have been expended. If you wish to add a willingness to pay, please contact the action officer assigned to your request at your earliest convenience.
We will be unable to respond to your request within the FOIA’s 20 day statutory time period as there are unusual circumstances which impact on our ability to quickly process your request.  These unusual circumstances are:  (a) the need to search for and collect records from a facility geographically separated from this Office; (b) the potential volume of records responsive to your request; and (c) the need for consultation with one or more other agencies or DoD components having a substantial interest in either the determination or the subject matter of the records.  For these reasons, your request has been placed in our complex processing queue and will be worked in the order the request was received.  Our current administrative workload is 1554 open requests.
If you would like to discuss how to limit your request in order to speed the processing time, we would be pleased to discuss how you might modify your request.  The action officer assigned to your request is Charles Marye at (571) 372-0407. The toll free number for this Office is 866-574-4970. You may not be aware that we maintain a website and electronic reading room at: http://www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/ If you are not satisfied with this action, you may appeal to the appellate authority, the Director of Administration and Management, Office of the Secretary of Defense, by writing directly to the Defense Freedom of Information Policy Office, Attn: Mr. James Hogan, 1155 Defense Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 20301-1155. Your appeal should be postmarked within 60 calendar days of the date of this letter, should cite the case number 14-F-0336, and should be clearly marked "Freedom of Information Act Appeal."
Thank you,
Charles Marye Office of Freedom of Information
Department of Defense
1155 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1155
FAX: (571) 372-0500

From: Troy Carter

Dear Mr. Charles Marye,

Thank you for the interim response for case number 14-F-0336. I understand that the information in my request for a fee waiver was insufficient in convincing you that the requested documents would significantly contribute to the public's increased understanding of the operations and activities of government.

As was recently reported, the United States is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to build new facilities in Bahrain. (See Bahrain expansion latest signal of continued US presence, 13 Dec. 2013, Stars and Stripes web: http://www.stripes.com/news/bahrain-expansion-latest-signal-of-continued-us-presence-1.257371 ). And as a rebuttal to your initial assessment, I believe the United States Government's foreign policies and budget expenditures are and should be under the public's continuous scrutiny. Our system of democratic governance relies upon the electorate's ability to hold members of the executive and legislative branches accountable. And as you know the public cannot review policies which the government keeps classified unless they are declassified in accordance with procedures designed to protect national security, or are leaked, illegally, to the press.

The public has not reviewed the Defense Cooperation Agreement with the Kingdom of Bahrain signed on October 28, 1991. For more than 20 years the public has had little knowledge of what circumstances this agreement with Bahrain would compel the United States to engage in armed conflict. Furthermore, the American people have no knowledge of what the United States requires from Bahrain in return, provisions which are set forth in the requested documentation. The US public has no knowledge of what American military materials or personnel the agreement allows in Bahrain or whether the U.S. personnel are under the jurisdiction of foreign laws. The US public has no knowledge if the agreement requires the Department of Defense to maintain a school in Bahrain and for foreign nationals to be allowed access to it. The US has no knowledge of the pacts requirement, if any, to participate or fund the training of Bahrain's military. Therefore, I strongly believe that the disclosure of the requested documents would significantly increase the public's understanding of the government's operations and activities in Bahrain.

I have no commercial interest in the disclosure of the documents and as a student have a limited ability to pay and am thankful you and your colleague's efforts. However, I am willing to pay up to $100, in addition to the two hours and 100 pages of photocopying, to defray the costs of the search, assuming you do not exercise your right to grant a fee waiver. If you have suggestions for ways in which we may limit the search to speed processing time please share them.

Sincerely,
Troy Carter

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Jan. 9, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Marye, Charles C CIV WHS ESD (US)

Sir,

No further clarification is needed. Your case has been tasked to the appropriate organization to search for responsive records. At present I am still waiting for records. Once they arrive I will be able to more accurately estimate when your case will be completed. Thank you for your patience.

Sincerely,

Charles Marye
OSD FOIA OFFICE
(571) 372-0407

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Jan. 9, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Marye, Charles C CIV WHS ESD (US)

Mr. Carter,

We continue to process your request. It is our policy that each request receives prompt attention, and every effort is made to treat all requesters equally. As previously noted, and unfortunately, our backlog of open requests at the time your request was received was over 1,554. Once I receive a response, all releasable records, if any, cannot be provided to you until all processing is completed. As soon as that occurs, I will send you a formal response letter to your request.

I appreciate your patience and understanding in this matter. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Charles Marye
OSD FOIA OFFICE
(571) 372-0407

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Jan. 9, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Marye, Charles C CIV WHS ESD (US)

Mr. Cater,

Attached is the final response to your FOIA request 14-F-0336.

Sincerely,

Charles Marye
OSD/JS Office of Freedom of Information
(571) 372-0407

NIPR: charles.c.marye.civ@mail.mil
SIPR: charles.c.marye.civ@mail.smil.mil

From: Marye, Charles C CIV WHS ESD (US)

Marye, Charles C CIV WHS ESD (US) would like to recall the message, "FOIA 14-F-0336 Final Response".

From: Marye, Charles C CIV WHS ESD (US)

Mr. Carter,

Attached is the final response to your FOIA request 14-F-0336.

Sincerely,

Charles Marye
OSD/JS Office of Freedom of Information
(571) 372-0407

NIPR: charles.c.marye.civ@mail.mil
SIPR: charles.c.marye.civ@mail.smil.mil

From: Troy Carter

Office of Secretary of Defense
Policy, Appeals, and Litigation Branch
1155 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1155

Attn: James Hogan
Chief, Policy, Appeals, and Litigation Branch
571-372-0462

Dear Mr. Hogan,

I am appealing the decision to deny in its entirety my request ref: 14-F-0336 communicated to me by by Charles Marye of the OSD FOIA office on May 6, 2014.

According to the rejection letter, 26 pages of documents have been identified which are responsive to the request.

My appeal is based on the principle that open and transparent government is essential to our democratic republic and ask that you consider overturning the decision and release the documents in full or partially redacted.

v/r

Troy Carter

From: Troy Carter

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on my appeal of the OSD's decision regarding Freedom of Information request 14-F-0336, originally submitted on Jan. 9, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

Troy Carter

From: Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense

A letter stating that the request appeal has been rejected.

From: Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense

The request has been rejected, with the agency stating that the information or document(s) requested are exempt from disclosure.

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