Use of "Still Interested" letters (United States Customs and Border Protection)

Emma Best filed this request with the United States Customs and Border Protection of the United States of America.
Tracking #

CBP-2019-079982

Multi Request Use of "Still Interested" letters
Due Sept. 24, 2019
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

From: Emma Best

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

Documents mentioning or describing any use of "Still Interested" letters (i.e. letters inquiring if the requester is still interested in the records requested) in the processing and/or closure of FOIA requests, including but not limited to:

* The original proposal for their use
* Materials authorizing the use of any of the letters
* Controlling policies or procedures
* Any reports or statistics tracking their use, responses received and/or impact on any FOIA backlog
* Communications with OGIS regarding "Still Interested" letters
* Communications between the FOIA offices and and general counsel's/legal services office discussing or mentioning "still interested" letters
* Materials describing or discussing the number of days given to requesters to respond
* Materials describing the agency's policy on reopening requests when a requester responds after the period of time specified in the letter

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,

Emma Best

From: United States Customs and Border Protection

This message is to confirm your request submission to the FOIAonline application: View Request. Request information is as follows: (https://www.foiaonline.gov/foiaonline/action/public/submissionDetails?trackingNumber=CBP-2019-079982&type=request)

* Tracking Number: CBP-2019-079982
* Requester Name: Emma Best
* Date Submitted: 08/27/2019
* Request Status: Submitted
* Description:
To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

Documents mentioning or describing any use of "Still Interested" letters (i.e. letters inquiring if the requester is still interested in the records requested) in the processing and/or closure of FOIA requests, including but not limited to:

* The original proposal for their use
* Materials authorizing the use of any of the letters
* Controlling policies or procedures
* Any reports or statistics tracking their use, responses received and/or impact on any FOIA backlog
* Communications with OGIS regarding "Still Interested" letters
* Communications between the FOIA offices and and general counsel's/legal services office discussing or mentioning "still interested" letters
* Materials describing or discussing the number of days given to requesters to respond
* Materials describing the agency's policy on reopening requests when a requester responds after the period of time specified in the letter

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,

Emma Best

Attachments:

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From: United States Customs and Border Protection

Emma Best
MuckRock News, DEPT MR 79454
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA, 02144
08/28/2019
CBP-2019-079982
Dear Emma Best:
This notice acknowledges receipt of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) received on 08/27/2019 requesting documents mentioning or describing any use of "Still Interested" letters (i.e. letters inquiring if the requester is still interested in the records requested) in the processing and/or closure of FOIA requests.
Please use the following unique FOIA tracking number CBP-2019-079982 to track the status of your request.  If you have not already done so, you must create a FOIAonline account at https://foiaonline.gov.  This is the only method available to check the status of your pending FOIA request. (https://foiaonline.regulations.gov/)
Provisions of the Act allow us to recover part of the cost of complying with your request.  We shall charge you for records in accordance with the DHS FOIA regulations outlined on the DHS website, https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/11/22/2016-28095/freedom-of-information-act-regulations. By submitting your request, you have agreed to pay up to $25.00 in applicable processing fees, if any fees associated with your request exceed this amount, CBP shall contact you; however, the first 100 pages are free. (https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/11/22/2016-28095/freedom-of-information-act-regulations)
Due to the increasing number of FOIA requests received by this office, we may encounter some delay in processing your request.  Consistent with 6 C.F.R. Part 5 § 5.5(a) of the DHS FOIA regulations, CBP processes FOIA requests according to their order of receipt.  Although CBP’s goal is to respond within 20 business days of receipt of your request, FOIA does permit a 10-day extension of this time period in certain circumstances pursuant to 6 C.F.R. Part 5 § 5.5(c).
CBP’s FOIA Division is working hard to reduce the amount of time necessary to respond to FOIA requests.  We truly appreciate your continued patience.
For additional information please consult CBP FOIA website please click on FOIA Act Resources or visit (http://www.cbp.gov/site-policy-notices/foia) http://www.cbp.gov/site-policy-notices/foia. (http://www.cbp.gov/site-policy-notices/foia)
Sincerely,
U.S. Customs and Border Protection

From: United States Customs and Border Protection

Your request for Fee Waiver for the FOIA request CBP-2019-079982 has been fully granted.

* Fee Waiver Original Justification:
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 Gizmodo, MuckRock, Motherboard, Property of the People,
Unicorn Riot, and The Outline, among others. 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 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.
Further, 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.
I request that fees be waived.
* Fee Waiver Disposition Reason:
N/A

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