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This is the National Security Agency's response to's Freedom of Information Act request dated 27 March 2002 for NSA's polygraph regulations. will appeal NSA's initial decision to charge fees for this request. For discussion of this matter, see the message board thread, NSA Denies FOIA Fee Waiver, Demands Pre-Payment



FOIA Case: 41517
16 September 2002

Mr. George Maschke
Hart Nibbrigkade 22, 2597 XV

Dear Mr. Maschke:

This is an initial response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request of 27 March 2002, which was received by this office on 27 March 2002, requesting a copy of NSA/CSS Regulation No. 122-3 and any other NSA rule, regulation, directive, or similar document related to polygraph policy. Your request has been assigned Case Number 41517. This letter indicates that we have begun to process your request. There is certain information relating to this processing about which the FOIA and applicable Department of Defense (DoD) and NSA/CSS regulations require we inform you.

For purposes of this request and based on the information you provided in your letter, you are considered an "all other" requester. You must pay for search time in excess of 2 hours and duplication in excess of 100 pages.

Please be advised that your request for a waiver of fees has been considered, and is denied. This decision was made in accordance with the provisions of the FOIA that permit an agency to waive or reduce fees if that agency determines that such an action would be in the public interest. In reaching this decision, several factors were examined: (1) whether the subject of the requested records concerns the operations or activities of the government; (2) whether the disclosure is likely to contribute significantly to an understanding of specific government operations or activities; (3) whether disclosure of the requested information will contribute to the understanding of the public at large, i.e., the general public must benefit from the disclosure; and (4) whether you have a commercial interest the magnitude of which is sufficiently large, in comparison with the public interest in disclosure, that disclosure is "primarily" in your commercial interest.

The decision to deny your fee waiver request is based on Item (3); whether the disclosure of the requested information will contribute to the understanding of the public at large. You have not demonstrated that you have the skills and knowledge to turn the information, should any be located and processed for release, into a product beneficial to the general public. Making information available to the public by posting any responsive

FOIA Case: 41517

documents this Agency provides you on your website does not demonstrate that the information will significantly contribute to the understanding of the public at large. Therefore the public would not be the primary beneficiary of the disclosure, as intended by the Act.

If you disagree with the decision regarding your fee waiver request, you may file an appeal to the NSA/CSS Freedom of Information Act Appeal Authority. The appeal must be postmarked no later than 60 calendar days after the date of the adverse determination. The appeal shall be in writing addressed to the NSA/CSS FOIA Appeal Authority (DC321), National Security Agency, 9800 Savage Road STE 6248, Fort George G. Meade, MD 20755-6248. The appeal shall reference the adverse determinations and shall contain, in sufficient detail and particularity, the grounds upon which you believe the adverse determinations are unwarranted. The NSA/CSS Appeal Authority will endeavor to respond to the appeal within 20 working days after receipt, absent any unusual circumstances.

We estimate that the costs involved to search for material responsive to your request will be approximately $616.00. Fees are assessed in accordance with DoD Regulation 5400.7-R. Search fees are computed at $44.00 an hour. You are entitled to 2 hours of search at no charge, therefore, we estimate your total cost to be approximately $528.00 ($616.00 - $88.00 for 2 hours of search). Our policy is to request advance payment prior to initiating the search. NSA regulations preclude the conducting of partial searches.

Please be advised that your agreeing to incur these fees will not necessarily result in the disclosure to you of all or any information you seek. If records are found which are responsive to your request, a detailed review to determine the releasability of the information would follow. It has been our experience that any records responsive to your request, if such records exist, may be classified or otherwise exempt from release in accordance with the exemption provisions of the FOIA. The application of these exemptions to NSA information has been consistently approved by the Federal Judiciary.

This is only an estimate. If, as we process your request, we determine that fees will be greater than the estimate, we will so notify you before continuing with our search. In addition, please be aware that an estimate for duplication fees is not included in the above amount because we cannot determine the number of pages to be released until the case has been processed.

FOIA Case: 41517

If you would like us to proceed with the processing of your request, we request that you remit to the FOIA office (see below for address) a certified check or money order made payable to the Treasurer of the United States in U.S. funds in the amount of $528.00. Please include the case number assigned to your request on any correspondence to assure that your account is properly credited. If we do not hear from you within 60 days of the date of this letter, we will assume that you are no longer interested in pursuing this request.

Correspondence related to your request should include the case number assigned to your request, which is included in the first paragraph of this letter. Your letter should be addressed to National Security Agency, FOIA Office (DC321), 9800 Savage Road STE 6248, Ft. George G. Meade, MD 20755-6248.



                                                            LOUIS F. GILES
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