GovExec.com had an interesting piece on FOIA fees in the CIA yesterday...
Criticism of proposed rules on fees for obtaining documents under the Freedom of Information Act has prompted the CIA to establish a definition of "news media" that could include bloggers.
The CIA's final rule on FOIA processing fees, from which members of the news media are usually exempt, takes a pass on a more complex fee structure proposed in a draft version. The CIA decided against the complicated structure due to the lack of public support for the change, according to a notice published in the Federal Register Wednesday.
The new rule, effective Wednesday, adopts the definition of "news media" contained in a 1987 Office of Management and Budget FOIA guidebook that includes "alternative media" that would be disseminated electronically "through telecommunications." Under the 1986 FOIA Reform Act, OMB is responsible for promulgating a "uniform schedule of fees" across the government.
The notice stated that while the CIA remains confident in the adequacy of its old interpretation of "news media," officials concluded that it is better to avoid "sterile and unproductive technical litigation" and the "diversion of resources from more productive pursuits."
Meredith Fuchs, general counsel of the National Security Archive, a research institute and library located at The George Washington University, said the CIA changed its definition in an attempt to pre-empt a court ruling that the agency's existing regulations were illegal. The Archive filed a lawsuit in District Court for the District of Columbia in June 2006, challenging a CIA decision that it did not qualify as "news media" and that its request would have to concern "current events" to qualify for the fee waiver.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
CIA tweaks definition of "news media" for FOIA fees
Posted by National Freedom of Information Coalition at 9:32 AM
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