[imc-st.louis] New Mexico FOIA Appeals Filed
sca at free-assembly.org
Sun Sep 20 18:17:40 PDT 2009
__PCU_//\_Free Assembly Project____
St.Louis MO - www.Free-Assembly.org
_//\_________________________________an Association of Volunteers__/
18 September 2009 PUBLIC INFO POST
New Mexico FOIA Appeals Filed ~
Deficient Agency Responses go to DC for review
On June 17 & 24, two Freedom of Information
Requests were submitted to the Forest Service in
New Mexico. Both concerned the 2009 Rainbow
Gathering, then just starting up in Santa Fe N.F.
re: Permits, to SNFS Supervisor ~ 17 June 2009
(FOIA No. 338)
re: Delegation of Authority, 'Incident' ~ 24 June
2009 (FOIA No. 516)
After six weeks of wrangling for timely
disclosures, the agency's 'final responses' came
in early August, well after the end of the
[See two prior public releases:
[ "FOIA Flak in ABQ", posted 7/30/09 ...
"FOIA Flak Finale", posted 8/17/09 ]
The denial of "expedited processing" and
delayed responses were significant in themselves,
affecting the rights and interests of
participants in an ongoing First Amendment event.
And there were shortfalls in the content of
(I) Some names and all identifying info on
permit correspondents and signers were redacted
on §(b)(6) and Privacy Act exemptions, and key
items were apparently disregarded or withheld.
(II) The 'Delegation of Authority' was provided
in-person on 7/2/09, then nothing further;
queries on the composition of the Incident Team
and prior enabling decisions were stonewalled.
As a result, formal FOIA Appeals have been
filed on both cases, pursuant to 5 USC 552(a)(6).
This section of the Act provides for
administrative review of FOIA decisions and
denials -- which the Forest Service conducts
under the Office of the Chief, in Washington DC.
A big printed package went out by FedEx on
9/14/09, including all response docs and
correspondence as required, and by email the same
day, referencing the full record on-line. Here
are direct links to the two letters of Appeal and
supporting Index as-filed, downloadable in PDF
Appeal, #338 - 12sep09 (filed 9/14)
Appeal, #516 - 12sep09 ( " )
of Attachments, FOIA #338+#516 Docs
The Appeal process under FOIA is obscure
and often neglected -- however it is essential
where there are serious deficiencies in agency
Responses: Either it secures the information and
remedies sought, or it exhausts administrative
review so that the issues can be taken to court.
In these Appeals those issues are compelling:
Our position is that the agency's FOIA compliance
is subject to stringent First Amendment standards
where rights in expressive assembly are at stake.
Again, the whole story and full record of
these FOIA projects is compiled on a single
summary webpage, for easy public reference and
access to documents:
Moves in New Mexico" (... = ...)
We will apprise of the outcome of these
Appeals, whenever the news comes from DC.
As always, questions and discussions are encouraged.
thanks, in service,
St. Louis, MO
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