FOIA FILES KIT Appeal Letter Fund for Open Information and Accountability, Inc. 339 Lafaye

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FOIA FILES KIT Appeal Letter Fund for Open Information and Accountability, Inc. 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012 (212) 477-3188 Date: To: FOIA/PA Appeals Office RE: Request numer [Add this if the agency has given your request a number] This is an appeal pursuant to subsection (a)(6) of the Freedom of Information Act as amended (5U.S.C. 552). On [date], I received a letter from [name of official] of your agency denying my request for [describe briefly the information you are after]. This reply indicated that an appeal letter could be sent to you. I am enclosing a copy of my exchange of correspondence with your agency so that you can see exactly what files I have requested and the insubstantial grounds on which my request has been denied. [Optional paragraph, to be used if the agency has withheld all or nearly all the material which has been requested]: You will note that your agency has withheld the entire (or nearly the entire) document (or file, or report, or whatever) that I requested. Since the FOIA provides that "any reasonably secregable portion of a record shall be provided to any eprson requesting such record after deletion of the portions which are exempt," I believe that your agency has not complied with the FOIA. I believe that there must be (additional) segregble portions which do not fall wihtin FOIA exemptions and which must be released. [Optional paragraph, to be used in the agency has used the (b)(1) exemption for national security, to withhold information] Your agency has used the (b)(1) exemption to withhold information [I question whether files relating to events that took place over twenty years ago could realistically harm the national security.] [Because I am familiar with my own activities during the period in question, and know that none of these activities in any way posed a significant threat to the national security, I question the designation of my files or portions of my file as classified and exempt from disclosure beca8use of national security considerations.] [Sample optional argument to be used if the exemption which is claimed does not seem to make sense; you should cite as many specific instances as you care to of items withheld from the documents that you ahve received. We provide two examples which you might want to adampt to your own case.] "On the memo dated _____________ the second paragraph withheld under the (b)(1) exemption appears to be describing a conversation at an open meeting. If this is the case, it is impossible that the substance of this converation could be properly classified." Or, "The memo dated _____ refers to a meeting which I attended, but a substantial portion is deleted because of the (b)(6) and (b)(7)(c) exemptions for unwarranted invasions of personal privacy. Since I already know who attended this meeting, no privacy interest is served by the withholding." I trust that upon examination of my request, you will conclude that the records I requested are not properly covered by exemption(s) [here repeat the exemptions which the agency's denial letter claimed applied to your request] of the amended FOIA, and that you will overrule the decision to withhold the information. [Use if an itemized inventory is not supplied originally] If you choose instead to continue to withhold some or all of the material which was denied in my initial request to your agency, I ask that you give me an index of such matieral, together with the justification for the denial of each item which is still withheld. As provided in the Act, I will expect to receive a reply to this administrative appeal letter within twenty working days. If you deny this appeal and do not adequately explain why the material withheld is properly exempt, I intend to initial a lawsuit to compel its disclosure. [You can say that you intend to sue, if that is your present inclination; you may still decide ultimately not to file suit.] Sincerely yours, name: ____________________________________________ address: ____________________________________________ . ____________________________________________ signature: ___________________________________________ [Mark clearly on envelope: Attention: Freedom of Information Appeals]


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