Thursday, October 25, 2007

Freedom of Information Appeal

The USPS verified delivery of my Freedom of Information Appeal (Label Number: EB 390615961 US) at 11:01 am this morning to the Director, Office of Information and Privacy, US DOJ. I had filed two FOIAs, one with the Jacksonville FBI office and the other with FBI HQ, requesting all agency records related to me, including my complaint charging the FDLE and Holmes County Sheriff's Department with illegal electronic surveillane and harassment. FBI HQ replied to my FOIA within the statutory period indicating that they had no records. However, the Jacksonville FBI office still hadn't even acknowledged my FOIA, so I phoned the Special Agent in Charge to inquire about its status. His secretary referred me to the person who handled FOIAs. This individual said that he would look for it and forward it FBI HQ in DC, which in turn would then either call or email him authority to provide the records. On Oct. 5, 2007 the Jacksonville FBI FOIA manager left a message that he found my FOIA, forwarded it via Express Mail on Oct. 4, 2007 to FBI HQ, and that HQ would reply to me directly. When I still hadn't received a reply by Oct. 24, 2007 from FBI HQ, I filed an FOI Appeal treating the agency's failure to meet the FOIA's deadlines as a denial of my request. Any agency has 20 working days from receipt to make an initial determination of whether to comply with the FOIA and an additional ten working days is permitted in "unusual circumstances." It has been two months since the USPS verified delivery of my FOIA by the Jacksonville FBI office.

When I initially mailed both FOIAs, one to Jacksonville and the other to FBI HQ, USPS Track & Confirm indicated that both letters had been scanned twice: once upon receipt in the morning and then a second time in the afternoon. I've never seen this before, so I inquired as to how this could happen. The USPS didn't have any explanation. I suspect, although I can't prove it, that these letters were tampered with and that possibly accounted for the Jacksonville FBI office's delay in responding to my FOIA request within the statutory period.

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