Sunday, April 18, 2010

FOIA Follies IV- The FBI Math FAIL

After my tirade yesterday about the FBI FOIA Office’s idiocy, I had intended to turn my ire on the CIA today. However, before I finish cobbling together my diatribe regarding the CIA’s capricious system, I rummaged through my records and found the below posted letter regarding another FOIA request submitted to the FBI. The rank fail contained inside spawned a shelving of my CIA rant and the creation of this one.

FBI FOIALetter Fee Idiocy

This FBI letter informs me that they have found records responsive to my FOIA request. The combined fees of my request (search and duplication) amount to $24.30. Just a sentence prior, the FBI states that it is the FBI “notifies when anticipated fees exceed $25.” Fine, but as you can see the letter stated that the fees would be “”24.30,” which is pocket change less, but still less, than $25. Two sentence later, it is revealed that, “this is only an estimate, and if some of the pages are withheld in full pursuant to FOIA/Privacy Act exemption(s) or are, determined to not be responsive to your request, the actual charges could be less. So, not only is the estimate below $25 to start, the fees might be reduced even further. Nice.

Worse yet, when I submitted this FOIA request, I informed the FBI that I was willing to pay fees up to and including $25. I have previously paid for records released through FOIA, so the FBI knows I am good for it. I also requested that the FBI call me if they had any questions regarding my willingness to pay fees or reduce the scope of my request.

However, as someone who works in special education, I am aware that praise should accompany criticism whenever possible. So, I would like to thank the FBI for getting my name right on this FOIA request. I would also like to point out that they corrected the typo regarding requester response time that I railed about in my previous letter. Now, lets work on the FBI’s our math concepts such as greater and less than and the sequence of numbers and brush up on reading for comprehension skills.

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