This letter was sent to the National Security Agency by priority mail on 22 November 2002.
|Hart Nibbrigkade 22
2597 XV Den Haag
Friday, 22 November 2002
National Security Agency
ATTN: FOIA Office (DC321)
9800 Savage Road STE 6248
Ft. George G. Meade, MD 20755-6248
Ref: FOIA Case 41517
Dear Sir or Madam:
I herewith appeal your decision dated 16 September 2002 (postmarked 18 September and received by me on 25 September 2002) to deny my request for a fee waiver with regard to FOIA Case 41517, which is a request for:
You base your fee waiver denial on the argument that "[I] have not demonstrated that [I] 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" and that "[m]aking information available to the public by posting any responsive documents this Agency provides [me] on [my] 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."
Your reasoning is demonstrably erroneous. DoD 5400.7-R contemplates (at para. C220.127.116.11.1) fee waivers for requests where "[d]isclosure of the information 'is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the Government.'"
This public interest clause unambiguously applies to my present FOIA request. I do indeed possess the "skills and knowledge to turn the information...into a product beneficial to the general public." At the most basic level, such skill merely involves the ability to transcribe the information and format it as HTML pages. Any members of the public at large will then be able to easily find the information by doing an Internet keyword search. For example, see the FBI's pre-employment polygraph policy, which the Bureau properly released under the Freedom of Information Act and which AntiPolygraph.org has made available here:
Members of the public have accessed the above-referenced document some 2,200 times in the year-and-a-half that it has been available on AntiPolygraph.org. Clearly, the public has been the primary benificiary of the disclosure of the FBI's pre-employment polygraph policy. In the same manner, the public will be the primary beneficiary of the release of the NSA documentation I have requested, which is similar in nature.
Any documents released pursuant to this FOIA request will also help to inform future editions of AntiPolygraph.org's free book, The Lie Behind the Lie Detector, of which I am a co-author. A copy of this book has been deposited with the Library of Congress, which has granted a copyright certificate. This book is now in its second edition and includes a detailed chapter on polygraph policy. It may be downloaded as an Adobe Acrobat file here:
Members of the public have downloaded The Lie Behind the Lie Detector over 50,000 times in the past two years, making it perhaps the most widely distributed and read work on polygraphy and polygraph policy ever written.
I clearly have the requisite skills "to turn the information, should any be located and processed for release, into a product beneficial to the general public." The public (and not me personally) will clearly be the primary benificiary of release of the requested documentation.
Please be aware that in the past, the Defense Security Service, the Department of Energy, and the Central Intelligence Agency have all consistently recognized AntiPolygraph.org's status as a non-profit, public interest FOIA requester and accordingly granted fee waivers. You'll find these past FOIA requests on-line here:
I respectfully remind you that DoD 5400.7-R, para. C18.104.22.168, specifically prohibits the assessment of fees to discourage FOIA requesters, and urge you to grant my request for a fee waiver.
George W. Maschke
PS: A copy of this Freedom of Information Act fee waiver appeal will be placed on-line at http://antipolygraph.org/foia/foia-011-2.shtml
My FOIA Request dated 23 March 2002
Your response dated 16 September 2002