Saturday, June 13, 2009

John Greenewald Calls NSA's Actions a 'Grave Injustice' To The FOIA

FOIA
Item 2.38: Agencies' Scorning of FOIA Requesters in the Category of "Representative of the News Media" has Consequences

By Larry W Bryant
UFOReview
6-10-09

     Indefatigable California resident John Greenewald, Jr., who began his FOIA warriorship at age 15, now has (re)joined the ranks of aggrieved requesters who've been denied their rightful status as "representatives of the news media" - a category expressly defined by the U. S. Freedom of Information Act as deserving of favored treatment in the form of waived records-search/review fees.

This time around, it's the U. S. National Security Agency that wishes to impose Draconian processing fees upon Greenewald, presumably to discourage his inquisitiveness. But, as you can see from his appeal letter, quoted below, he ain't gonna take it any more.

At this point, all who believe in greater UFO Freedom of Information and Accountability (and who deplore its opposite force - UFOBIA (UFOlogical Fear of Basic Information and Accountability)) might wish to write their congresscritters in support of Greenewald's appeal.

NOTE: John will be the master of ceremonies at the annual symposium of the Mutual UFO Network, Inc., Aug. 7-9, 2009.

TEXT OF GREENEWALD'S LETTER OF JUNE 10, 2009, TO NSA HEADQUARTERS:
Wednesday, June 10, 2009

John Greenewald, Jr.

National Security Agency
980 Savage Road - Suite 6248
Fort George G. Meade, Maryland 20755-6248
Fax: (443) 479-3612

To whom it may concern,

This is an open-letter appeal, made under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, in response to multiple FOIA requests in your office. In most of the letters, you have stated that you disagree with my "representative of the news media" category, and put me in an "all other" status.

Consequently, many of the requests are estimated at hundreds of dollars in search fees, when I am not guaranteed a single piece of paper.

First and foremost, I consider this a grave injustice made in light of the true intent of the FOIA. From President Clinton's signing the Electronic FOIA and multiple executive directives regarding declassification; President Bush's signing the U.S. OPEN Government Act of 2007; and President Obama's, on the day he entered office, signing legislation improving agency disclosure, openness, and transparency in regard to document declassification - the FOIA has been an important tool in American democracy and public awareness.

But the NSA, in my opinion, will not recognize the true meaning of a "representative of the news media," and will not acknowledge my established ability to disseminate this information to the public - thus going against the definitions outlined in the law, and erroneously categorizing my requests.

So, therefore, I hereby appeal the determination of the NSA regarding my fee status category as "all other" and submit the below evidence to my established category of "representative of the news media."
1) Multiple agencies have considered my request to become a "representative of the news media," and have granted that request. Only a select few are referenced below for your perusal:

a. In a letter dated 10 April 2009, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) in case F09-0036, states, "Based upon the information provided, you have been placed in the 'educational/scientific/media' category of requesters. . .."

b. In a letter dated 14 May 2009, from the Department of the Air Force, Malmstrom Air Force Base, in FOIA case number 2009-00743F, it states, "You have been placed in the 'Media' category."

c. In a letter dated March 16, 2009, in FOIA case number 09-006, it states, "Additionally, the U.S. Army Center of Military History's Initial Denial Authority for FOIA requests has declared you to be a member of the media. . .."

2) Further, you state that the FOIA stipulates I must show how I will turn raw materials into a distinct work, and distribute that to an audience. I outline the following:

a. NEWS/EDITORIAL EXAMPLES - TELEVISION:

i. The History Channel - The Universe; in this episode of The Universe on History Channel, entitled, "Alien Faces," which I directed and wrote, I utilized multiple documents obtained from the FOIA from NASA on the topic of Astrobiology. The material was used in the research/development phase of the
program, and the information was interpreted and disseminated to the public throughout the show.

ii. The History Channel - UFO Hunters, Season 3 - Multiple Episodes; from December 2008 - June 2009, I served as a producer of the popular UFO Hunters program. Throughout multiple episodes, the research/FOIA documents I have collected over the last decade were used in the research/development phase, shown on screen, and opinions were offered on select documents. As an example, in one episode dealing with a secret underground installation, underground digging technology was discussed at length. To source this information in the show, multiple documents were obtained under the FOIA as reference, including "Use of the Subterrene for Military Drilling
Applications," located at:
http://documents.theblackvault.com/documents/ufos/subt.pdf .

iii. The History Channel - UFO Files: Hangar 18; multiple documents obtained from the FOIA were used in this special, which dealt with the top secret work on military technology by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base throughout the past 5-6 decades. Documents were obtained from the Air Force
and Army that were used in this special, for which I was credited as the producer.

iv. The History Channel - UFO Files: UFOs and the White House; multiple documents obtained from the FOIA were used in this special, which I also produced for The History Channel, which were used as source material, used in the research/development phase, and were interpreted for the public in
the show's writing phase.

v. With the details above, I feel this clearly shows interpretation and dissemination to the public of the information obtained under the FOIA.
b. NEWS/EDITORIAL EXAMPLES - NEWSPRINT:

i. "Inadvertent Nuclear War - The India/Pakistan Armageddon," which was published on the popular online news site OpEdNews, located at
http://www.opednews.com/articles/Inadvertent-Nuclear-War--by-John-Greenewald-081202-496.html .

ii. "Dr. J. Allen Hynek: The UFO Scientist's 'Other life,'" which was
published on the popular online news site OpEdNews, and is archived at
http://www.theblackvault.com/wiki/index.php/Dr._J._Allen_Hynek:_The_UFO_Scientist's_%22Other_life%22_(by_John_Greenewald,_Jr.,_3-13-2008) .

iii. Fate Magazine - Multiple articles in print throughout the past 13 years; one example as a cover story entitled "Mysteries of The Black Vault":

Fate Mag Mysteries of The Black Vault
iv. With the articles sourced above, I feel this clearly shows interpretation and dissemination to the public the information obtained under the FOIA.

c. EDITORIAL EXAMPLES - PUBLISHED PRINT:
i. Beyond UFO Secrecy, by John Greenewald, Jr. - Publisher: Galde Press; 2nd edition (January 1, 2008) - ISBN-13: 978-1931942607. This book, in its second, expanded edition, details years' worth of work and FOIA documents collected. Documents are interpreted for the reader and explained in editorial form; then some are displayed for the reader's interpretation. The book can be seen/ordered on Amazon.com at
http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-UFO-Secrecy-John-Greenewald/dp/1931942609 .

ii. With the details above, I feel this clearly shows interpretation and dissemination to the public the information obtained under the FOIA.

d. EDITORIAL EXAMPLES - RADIO:
i. I currently own and operate The Black Vault Radio Network, which syndicates nearly 40 shows from around the globe. The top show on the network, The Black Vault Radio, hosted by myself, interviews experts, authors, Hollywood celebrities, etc., dealing with the topics researched by my FOIAs.

In many of the episodes, I offer my interpretation of documents received under the FOIA, inform the public of the documents' availability, then tell the public where they can download the information, for free.

ii. These shows are then archived online, and have been since the shows first aired. All are available 24/7.

iii. Throughout the past 13 years, I have done HUNDREDS of radio interviews on many networks other than my own show, in which I am asked about my FOIA research. In these interviews, ranging from 5 minutes in length, to more than four hours in length, I am asked my interpretation of the information. I am asked to dissect the meaning of many of the documents, and offer my opinion of what they mean. Lastly, I clearly define where the documents can be obtained.

iv. With the details above, I feel this clearly shows interpretation and dissemination to the public the information obtained under the FOIA.

3) Lastly, you state to fit into this fee status category that the information must be of "potential interest to a segment of the public . . .." In response, I offer the following:

a. The Black Vault website, which houses 500,000 pages of declassified documents, serves thousands of people a day on average who download, peruse, and read the documents. Further, they can browse the online archive of news articles which I have written, and read the editorial pieces outlining many of the FOIA documents. Although you clearly state that my simply posting the documents does not make me worthy of a "representative of the news media" status, I believe
that the multiple articles, page descriptions, document summaries, etc., do offer an editorialized piece that paves the way for public perusal of the archive.

b. Alexa Internet rates The Black Vault within the top 280,000 sites in the world. (Online traffic fluctuates, and this number has been as high as the top 60,000 depending on the traffic cycle.)
Given that the online research agency Netcraft calculates that there are more than 182 million (182,000,000) websites currently on the internet, this figure clearly states the information within The Black Vault is clearly in the public interest, and remains one of the internet's top destinations for FOIA
documents. For all of the reasons above, I feel I have fully and completely outlined my appeal to your determination. My unique set of circumstances, I feel, fits into the category "representative of the news media"; and I additionally feel the NSA should overturn their decision and promptly update the status of my requests to avoid further delays and unworthy charges of in some cases,
astronomical proportions.

I am disseminating this letter to few different locations, including the internet, as I feel this information should be circulated outlining the situation with FOIA requesters at the NSA. I believe I am not the only one who has fallen victim to this misidentification of fee status, and hope in the future, this will not be a problem for so many legitimate requesters, journalists, and authors.

Sincerely,

John Greenewald, Jr.

Cc:
The White House
ATTN: President Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
FAX: 202-456-2461

Senator Dianne Feinstein
United States Senate
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Fax: (202) 228-3954

Senator Barbara Boxer
United States Senate
Washington, D.C.
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Fax: (202) 224-0454

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