WSMR Destruction of Trinity Test Bunkers

Martin Pfeiffer filed this request with the US Army Test and Evaluation Command of the United States of America.
Tracking #

FP-19-019502

Status
Completed

Communications

From: Martin Pfeiffer

April 5, 2019

To Whom It May Concern:

1) This is a FOIA Request
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

Records documenting the discussions, decision, and actions to destroy Manhattan Project era structures and material at and around Trinity Site on White Sands Missile Range including the destruction of the South 10,000-yard bunkers 1965. In your response please provide any available photos, video, or other media of the aforementioned bunkers being destroyed. Please restrict your search for records to the period between and including January 1, 1964 to January 1, 1966. To assist you in finding these records please note that Jim Eckles (previously of the WSMR PAO) references the existence of photos of the destruction of the South 10,000 yard bunkers in his book "Trinity" on page 78.

As the FOIA requires please release all reasonably segregable portions of responsive records. If you withhold records or portions of records then please indicate under which exemption you claim to do so and provide me with my options for appeal. If you are not the proper agency for this request then I please forward this request to the proper agency and notify me that you have done so.

2) Fees and Fee Status
I am a PhD student at the University of New Mexico and the information requested is for academic and public education purposes, including my PhD dissertation project, and not primarily for commercial use. Furthermore, I will make responsive records available to the public via my academic publications and presentations as well as on social media and my blog. Please note that you can access my UNM student profile page at the following url: https://anthropology.unm.edu/people/grad-students/profile/martin-pfeiffer.html.

Therefore, as per Sack v. DOD (2016) I qualify for educational institution fee status and ask that you process my request accordingly. In your response please confirm that you will be processing my request under the educational institution fee status. I agree to pay fees up to $30 without additional notice. In the event that there are fees exceeding $30 then please inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request.

3) Record Delivery and Communications
I hereby request that all records generated by this request be delivered in electronic format via email or, if that is not possible, on CD-ROM if available. If you have any questions or information regarding this request then please do not hesitate to contact me, preferably via email. Please provide an email address through which I can contact you to discuss this request. You may, and I request that you do so, engage in rolling release of responsive documents.

I look forward to receiving your response within the twenty day statutory period. Thank you for your anticipated cooperation and time in this matter.

Regards,
Martin Pfeiffer, MA
Scholar, National Security Studies Program
Graduate Assistant, Department of Anthropology
University of New Mexico

From: Martin Pfeiffer

To whom it may concern:

I am writing in regards to this Freedom of Information Request that I filed on April 8th, 2019 (included below as a courtesy). As per the FOIA, agencies have 20 working days to reply. Please advise me of the current status of this request; it's tracking or control number; the person I should contact about it with questions; and the expected completion date.

Thank you for your time and effort on this matter and I look forward to your response.

Regards,
-marty-
Martin Pfeiffer

ORIGINAL REQUEST

April 5, 2019

To Whom It May Concern:

1) This is a FOIA Request
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

Records documenting the discussions, decision, and actions to destroy Manhattan Project era structures and material at and around Trinity Site on White Sands Missile Range including the destruction of the South 10,000-yard bunkers 1965. In your response please provide any available photos, video, or other media of the aforementioned bunkers being destroyed. Please restrict your search for records to the period between and including January 1, 1964 to January 1, 1966. To assist you in finding these records please note that Jim Eckles (previously of the WSMR PAO) references the existence of photos of the destruction of the South 10,000 yard bunkers in his book "Trinity" on page 78.

As the FOIA requires please release all reasonably segregable portions of responsive records. If you withhold records or portions of records then please indicate under which exemption you claim to do so and provide me with my options for appeal. If you are not the proper agency for this request then I please forward this request to the proper agency and notify me that you have done so.

2) Fees and Fee Status
I am a PhD student at the University of New Mexico and the information requested is for academic and public education purposes, including my PhD dissertation project, and not primarily for commercial use. Furthermore, I will make responsive records available to the public via my academic publications and presentations as well as on social media and my blog. Please note that you can access my UNM student profile page at the following url: https://anthropology.unm.edu/people/grad-students/profile/martin-pfeiffer.html.

Therefore, as per Sack v. DOD (2016) I qualify for educational institution fee status and ask that you process my request accordingly. In your response please confirm that you will be processing my request under the educational institution fee status. I agree to pay fees up to $30 without additional notice. In the event that there are fees exceeding $30 then please inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request.

3) Record Delivery and Communications
I hereby request that all records generated by this request be delivered in electronic format via email or, if that is not possible, on CD-ROM if available. If you have any questions or information regarding this request then please do not hesitate to contact me, preferably via email. Please provide an email address through which I can contact you to discuss this request. You may, and I request that you do so, engage in rolling release of responsive documents.

I look forward to receiving your response within the twenty day statutory period. Thank you for your anticipated cooperation and time in this matter.

From: US Army Test and Evaluation Command

CLASSIFICATION: UNCLASSIFIED

Mr. Pfeiffer,

Please see attached and signed acknowledgement letter concerning FOIA
request FP-19-019502.

This office is processing your request and will inform you of any changes
that may occur.

Do not hesitate to call or email if you should have any additional questions
concerning your request.

V/r,

Colin O'Hanlon
Records Manager/FOIA Officer
Garrison Distro Center Manager
Admin Services Division/DHR
USAG White Sands Missile Range
DSN: 312-258-8513 Com: (575) 678-8513
We are the Army's Home "Learn more at www.imcom.army.mil
I want to hear from you. Click on the following link for Interactive
Customer Evaluation:
https://ice.disa.mil/index.cfm?fa=card&sp=98913&s=542&dep=*DoD&sc=32

CLASSIFICATION: UNCLASSIFIED

From: US Army Test and Evaluation Command

CLASSIFICATION: UNCLASSIFIED

Mr. Pfeiffer,

A White Sands office may have the ability to locate responsive records
concerning your request pending:

1. You designate a tighter date bracket (at least a specific year,
preferably a few months).

2. If you do not designate a tighter date bracket, the records owner has
informed this office that your threshold and willingness to pay 30.00 will
easily be surpassed in one hours search time due to the amount of voluminous
records that must be reviewed.

*This office is tolling (i.e. stopping the clock) your FOIA until you
provide clarification concerning the above bullets.

V/r,

Colin O'Hanlon
Records Manager/FOIA Officer
Garrison Distro Center Manager
Admin Services Division/DHR
USAG White Sands Missile Range
DSN: 312-258-8513 Com: (575) 678-8513
We are the Army's Home "Learn more at www.imcom.army.mil"
I want to hear from you. Click on the following link for Interactive
Customer Evaluation:
https://ice.disa.mil/index.cfm?fa=card&sp=98913&s=542&dep=*DoD&sc=32

CLASSIFICATION: UNCLASSIFIED

From: Martin Pfeiffer

Mr. O'Hanlon,

Thank you for your message and your assistance with this request.

I will admit to being slightly confused.

1) The wording of point number one seems to imply that if I don't further restrict the range of my request...I won't get documents even aside from the issue of fees laid out in number 2? Is this what you are suggesting and if so on what basis? Are you or the records holder arguing that this request is too vague or broad or not sufficiently narrow? I have provided a 2 year range and a narrow thematic focus as well as an outside reference that marks the date of the South 10,000 bunker destruction (July 1965). However, and in part because the records have not been released, I am unable to identify exactly when the discussions and acts of destroying Manhattan Project era structures and material began. Therefore I chose this date range because it was relatively narrow considering the speed at which organizations can move and the likely period of discussions occurring prior to and after a known date of destruction of a manhattan project structure.

Bottom line: I would be amenable to hearing an argument about how this request could be further constrained but as of now--and without additional information about what a reduction in bracket range would do (how many fewer documents have to be looked at? how much quicker could that move my request? What gets left out? Does this prejudice my filing an additional FOIA to cover time sections that you want cut out here?)--I would prefer to leave it as it is pending your arguments otherwise if you wish to make them.

2) As per my initial request I argue that, based on Sack v. DOD (link to FBI's discussion of the decision below), I should be placed in the educational institution fee status. Under that fee status, my understanding is that I am responsible only for duplication fees after the first 100 pages. Are you not placing me under that fee status? If not then why not and to whom would I appeal that decision? Because under that fee status the issue of search time consuming the $30 I agreed to pay should not be an issue. I would also note that I am consistently and properly rewarded this fee status in my requests to other agencies based on the information I have already provided to you (such as the link to my PhD Student profile at UNM).

3) In addition to noting that I have requested responsive records be provided digitally as high quality scans, I would also point out that guidance issued by the FBI Office of Information Policy in 2008 forbids the assessment of search and duplication fees (as well as limiting the number of times the 20 day statutory limit can be polled) when the responsive agency misses the 20 day limit and exceptional or unusual circumstances do not pertain. I submitted this request through the mail on April 8th and we are past the 20 day limit and your agency has not invoked either the exceptional or unusual circumstances exception. (see: https://www.justice.gov/oip/blog/foia-post-2008-oip-guidance-new-limitations-assessing-fees). Therefore it would be inappropriate for your to assess either search or duplication fees to me in this case.

4) I reserve the right to request a fee waiver if fees are assessed exceeding my $30 pre-agreed limit.

5) I therefore ask that you continue my request as I submitted it including the bracket dates for records and the processing of my request under the educational institution fee category. Please confirm that you are doing so. If you are unwilling or unable to grant these requests then please avail me of my opportunities for appeal in your denial message.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,
-marty-
Martin Pfeiffer

As per my comments above a link to Sack v. DOD via FBI Office of Information Policy: https://www.justice.gov/oip/court-decisions?topic=All&body=Sack+v.+dod&date%5Bvalue%5D%5Bmonth%5D=&date%5Bvalue%5D%5Byear%5D=

From: US Army Test and Evaluation Command

CLASSIFICATION: UNCLASSIFIED

Mr. Pfeiffer,

Thank you for clarifying this office's "request for general information"
from you concerning refining your FOIA request and date brackets.

This office will reinitiate your FOIA request (un-tolling the clock) under
the "Educational Fee category" and continue seeking records per your
original FOIA request.

Should you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

V/r,

Colin O'Hanlon
Records Manager/FOIA Officer
Garrison Distro Center Manager
Admin Services Division/DHR
USAG White Sands Missile Range
DSN: 312-258-8513 Com: (575) 678-8513
We are the Army's Home "Learn more at www.imcom.army.mil"
I want to hear from you. Click on the following link for Interactive
Customer Evaluation:
https://ice.disa.mil/index.cfm?fa=card&sp=98913&s=542&dep=*DoD&sc=32

From: US Army Test and Evaluation Command

CLASSIFICATION: UNCLASSIFIED

Mr. Pfeiffer,

Please see attached responsive document per your FOIA request.

This office is continuing to process your request and will inform you of any
changes
that may occur.

Do not hesitate to call or email should you have any additional questions
concerning your request.

V/r,

Colin O'Hanlon
Records Manager/FOIA Officer
Garrison Distro Center Manager
Admin Services Division/DHR
USAG White Sands Missile Range
DSN: 312-258-8513 Com: (575) 678-8513
We are the Army's Home "Learn more at www.imcom.army.mil"
I want to hear from you. Click on the following link for Interactive
Customer Evaluation:
https://ice.disa.mil/index.cfm?fa=card&sp=98913&s=542&dep=*DoD&sc=32

CLASSIFICATION: UNCLASSIFIED

From: Martin Pfeiffer

Dear Mr. O'Hanlon,

Thank you for providing these documents in partial response to my FOIA request. May I please request an expected completion date?

I appreciate your effort on this matter.

Regards,
-marty-

From: US Army Test and Evaluation Command

CLASSIFICATION: UNCLASSIFIED

Mr. Pfeiffer,

Unfortunately this office will be unable to meet the 20 working day
requirement concerning FOIA Request FP-19-019502.

This office is continuing to process your request and will inform you once
any status changes occur.

Do not hesitate to call or email should you have any additional questions
concerning your request.

V/r,

Colin O'Hanlon
Records Manager/FOIA Officer
Garrison Distro Center Manager
Admin Services Division/DHR
USAG White Sands Missile Range
DSN: 312-258-8513 Com: (575) 678-8513
We are the Army's Home "Learn more at Caution-www.imcom.army.mil"
I want to hear from you. Click on the following link for Interactive
Customer Evaluation:
Caution-https://ice.disa.mil/index.cfm?fa=card&sp=98913&s=542&dep=*DoD&sc=32

From: US Army Test and Evaluation Command

CLASSIFICATION: UNCLASSIFIED

Mr. Pfeiffer,

Please see attached referral letter concerning FOIA request FP-19-020097.

Please coordinate with the receiving agency concerning all future
communications in reference to your FOIA request.

V/r,

Colin O'Hanlon
Records Manager/FOIA Officer
Garrison Distro Center Manager
Admin Services Division/DHR
USAG White Sands Missile Range
DSN: 312-258-8513 Com: (575) 678-8513
We are the Army's Home "Learn more at www.imcom.army.mil"
I want to hear from you. Click on the following link for Interactive
Customer Evaluation:
https://ice.disa.mil/index.cfm?fa=card&sp=98913&s=542&dep=*DoD&sc=32

CLASSIFICATION: UNCLASSIFIED

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