14 CFR Part 1206
Sec. 1206.600 Requests for Records.A member of the public may request an Agency record by mail, facsimile (FAX), electronic-mail (e-mail), or in person from the FOIA Office having cognizance over the record requested or from the NASA Headquarters FOIA Office.
Sec. 1206.601 Mail, fax and e-mail requests.
In view of the time limits under 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6) for an initial determination on a request for an Agency record (see Sec. 1206.603), a request must meet the following requirements:
(a) The request must be addressed to an appropriate NASA FOIA Office or otherwise be clearly identified in the letter as a request for an Agency record under the ``Freedom of Information Act.''
(b) The request must identify the record requested or reasonably describe it in a manner that enables a professional NASA employee who is familiar with the subject area of the request to identify and locate the record with a reasonable amount of effort. NASA need not comply with a blanket or categorical request (such as ``all matters relating to'' a general subject) where it is not reasonably feasible to determine what is sought. NASA will in good faith endeavor to identify and locate the record sought and will consult with the requester when necessary and appropriate for that purpose. However, as provided in Sec. 1206.203, NASA will undertake no obligation to compile or create information or records not already in existence at the time of the request.
(c) If a fee is chargeable under Subpart 7 of this part for search or duplication costs incurred in connection with a request for an Agency record, and the requester knows the amount of the fee at the time of the request, the request should be accompanied by a check or money order payable in that amount to the ``National Aeronautics and Space Administration.'' NASA cannot be responsible for cash sent by mail; stamps will not be accepted. If the amount of the fee chargeable is not known at the time of the request, the requester will be notified in the initial determination (or in a final determination in the case of an appeal) of the amount of the fee chargeable (see Sec. 1206.608(c)). For circumstances in which advance payment of fees is required, see Sec. 1206.704.
Sec. 1206.602 Requests in person.
(a) A member of the public may request an Agency record in person at a NASA FOIA Office (see Sec. 1206.401) during the duty hours of NASA Headquarters or the Center.
(b) A request at a FOIA Office must identify the record requested or reasonably describe it as provided in Sec. 1206.601(b).
(c) If the record requested is located at the FOIA Office or otherwise readily obtainable, it shall be made available to the requester upon the payment of any fees that are chargeable (see Subpart 7 of this part), which fees may be paid by a check or money order payable to the ``National Aeronautics and Space Administration.'' If the record requested is not located at the FOIA Office or otherwise readily obtainable, the request will be docketed at the FOIA Office and processed in accordance with the procedures in Sec. 1206.603 and Sec. 1206.604, with any fee chargeable being handled in accordance with Sec. 1206.601(c).
Sec. 1206.603 Procedures and time limits for initial determinations.
(a) Except as provided in Sec. 1206.608, an initial determination on a request for an Agency record, addressed in accordance with Sec. 1206.601(a) or made in person at a NASA FOIA Office shall be made, and the requester shall be sent notification thereof, within 20-working days after receipt of the request, as required by 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6).
(b) An initial determination on a request for an Agency record by mail not addressed in accordance with Sec. 1206.601(a) shall be made, and the requester shall be sent notification thereof, within 20-working days after the correspondence is recognized as a request for an Agency record under the ``Freedom of Information Act'' and received by the appropriate NASA FOIA Office. With respect to such a request, unless an initial determination can reasonably be made within 20-working days of the original receipt, the request will be promptly acknowledged and the requester notified of the date the request was received at that FOIA Office and that an initial determination on the request will be made within 20-working days of that date.
(c) If it is determined that the requested record (or portion thereof) will be made available, and if the charges are under $250, NASA will either send a copy of the releasable record and a bill for the fee or send the initial determination and a bill for the fee to the requester. In the latter case, the documents will be released when the fee is received. If the fee chargeable is over $250, a request for payment of the fee will always be sent with the initial determination, and the records will be mailed only upon receipt of payment. When records are sent before payment is received, the fact that interest will be charged from the 31st day after the day of the response shall be stated in the response. The date of the mailing of an initial determination, with or without the records(s), shall be deemed to satisfy the time limit for initial determinations.
(d) Any notification of an initial determination that does not comply fully with the request for an Agency record, including those searches that produce no documents, shall include a statement of the reasons for the adverse determination, include the name and title of the person making the initial determination, and notify the requester of the right to appeal to the Administrator, or the Inspector General, as appropriate, under Sec. 1206.605.
(e) If the requester demonstrates a ``compelling need'' as defined in Sec. 1206.101(r) for records, NASA shall provide expedited processing of the request. NASA will inform the requester as to whether the request for expedited processing has been granted within 10 working days after the date of the request.
Sec. 1206.604 Request for records that exist elsewhere.
(a) If a request for an Agency record is received by a FOIA Office not having cognizance of the record (for example, when a request is submitted to one NASA Center or Headquarters and the requested record exists only at another NASA Center), the FOIA Office receiving the request shall promptly forward it to the NASA FOIA Office having cognizance of the record requested. That Center shall acknowledge the request and inform the requester that an initial determination on the request will be sent within 20 working days from the date of receipt by such Center.
(b) If a request is received for Agency records which exist at two or more Centers, the FOIA Office receiving the request shall undertake to comply with the request, if feasible, or to forward the request (or portions thereof) promptly to a more appropriate Center for processing. The requester shall be kept informed of the actions taken to respond to the request.
(c) If a request is received by a NASA FOIA Office for a record of another agency, the requester shall promptly be informed of that fact, and the request shall be returned to the requester, with advice as to where the request should be directed.
Sec. 1206.605 Appeals.
(a) A member of the public who has requested an Agency record in accordance with Sec. 1206.601 or Sec. 1206.602, and who has received an initial determination which does not comply fully with the request, may appeal such an adverse initial determination to the Administrator, or, for records as specified in Sec. 1206.504, to the Inspector General under the procedures of this section.
(b) The Appeal must:
(1) Be in writing;
(2) Be addressed to the Administrator, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546, or, for records as specified in Sec. 1206.504, to the Inspector General, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546;
(3) Be identified clearly on the envelope and in the letter as an ``Appeal under the Freedom of Information Act'';
(4) Include a copy of the request for the Agency record and a copy of the adverse initial determination;
(5) To the extent possible, state the reasons why the requester believes the adverse initial determination should be reversed; and
(6) Be sent to the Administrator or the Inspector General, as appropriate, within 30 calendar days of the date of receipt of the initial determination.
(c) An official authorized to make a final determination may waive any of the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section, in which case the time limit for the final determination (see Sec. 1206.607(a)) shall run from the date of such waiver.
Sec. 1206.606 Request for additional records.If, upon receipt of a record (or portions thereof) following an initial determination to comply with a request, the requester believes that the materials received do not comply with the request, the requester may elect either to request additional records under the procedures of Sec. 1206.601 or Sec. 1206.602, or to file an appeal under the procedures of Sec. 1206.605, in which case the appeal must be sent to the Administrator, or to the Inspector General, in the case of records as specified in Sec. 1206.504, within 30 days of receipt of the record (or portions thereof), unless good cause is shown for any additional delay.
Sec. 1206.607 Actions on appeals.
(a) Except as provided in Sec. 1206.608, the Administrator or designee, or in the case of records as specified in Sec. 1206.504, the Inspector General or designee, shall make a final determination on an appeal and notify the requester thereof, within 20 working days after the receipt of the appeal.
(b) If the final determination reverses in whole or in part the initial determination, the record requested (or portions thereof) shall be made available promptly to the requester, as provided in the final determination.
(c) If the final determination sustains in whole or in part an adverse initial determination, the notification of the final determination shall:
(1) Explain the basis on which the record (or portions thereof) will not be made available;
(2) Include the name and title of the person making the final determination;
(3) Include a statement that the final determination is subject to judicial review under 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4); and
(4) Enclose a copy of 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4).
Sec. 1206.608 Time extensions in unusual circumstances.
(a) In ``unusual circumstances'' as that term is defined in Sec. 1206.101(f), the time limits for an initial determination (see Sec. 1206.603 and Sec. 1206.604) and for a final determination (see Sec. 1206.607) may be extended, but not to exceed a total of 10-working days in the aggregate in the processing of any specific request for an Agency record.
(b) If an extension of time under this section would be required, the requester shall be promptly notified of the reasons therefor and the date when a determination will be sent.
(c) If a record described in a request cannot be located within the 20-working-day time limit for an initial determination, after consultation with a professional NASA employee who is familiar with the subject area of the request, that fact normally will justify an initial determination that the record requested cannot be identified or located, rather than a decision that an extension of time under this section would be appropriate.
(d) In exceptional circumstances, if it would be impossible to complete a search for or review of Agency records within the 20-working-day period for an initial determination, an official authorized to make an initial determination or the designee may seek an extension of time from the requester. If such an extension of time can be agreed upon, that fact should be clearly documented and the initial determination made within the extended time period; if not, an initial determination that the record cannot be identified or located, or reviewed, within the 20-working-day time limit shall be made under Sec. 1206.603. ``Exceptional circumstances'' do not include a delay that results from a predictable Agency workload of requests unless the Agency demonstrates reasonable progress in reducing its backlog of pending requests. Refusal by the requester to reasonably modify the scope of a request or arrange an alternative time frame for processing the request shall be considered as a factor in determining whether exceptional circumstances exist.
Sec. 1206.609 Litigation.In any instance in which a requester brings suit concerning a request for an Agency record under this part, the matter shall promptly be referred to the General Counsel together with a report on the details and status of the request. In such a case, if a final determination with respect to the request has not been made, such a determination shall be made as soon as possible, under procedures prescribed by the General Counsel in each case.
Sec. 1206.610 Notice to submitters of commercial information.
(a) General policy. Upon receipt of a request for commercial information pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, NASA shall provide the submitter with notice of the request in accordance with the requirements of this section.
(b) Notice to submitters. Except as provided in paragraph (g) or (h) of this section, the Agency shall make a good faith effort to provide a submitter with prompt notice of a request appearing to encompass its commercial information whenever required under paragraph
(c) of this section. Such notice shall identify the commercial information requested and shall inform the submitter of the opportunity to object to its disclosure in accordance with paragraph (d) of this section. If the submitter would not otherwise have access to the document that contains the information, upon the request of the submitter, the Agency shall provide access to, or copies of, the records or portions thereof containing the commercial information. This notice shall be provided in writing upon the request of the submitter. Whenever the Agency provides notice pursuant to this section, the Agency shall advise the requester that notice and opportunity to comment are being provided to the submitter.
(c) When notice is required. Notice shall be given to a submitter whenever the information has been designated by the submitter as information deemed protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the Act, or the Agency otherwise has reason to believe that the information may be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4.
(d) Opportunity to object to disclosure. Through the notice described in paragraph (b) of this section, the Agency shall afford a submitter a reasonable period within which to provide the Agency with a detailed statement of any objection to disclosure. This period shall not exceed 10 working days from the date after which the Agency can reasonably assume receipt of notice by the submitter, unless the submitter provides a reasonable explanation justifying additional time to respond. If the Agency does not receive a response from the submitter within this period, the Agency shall proceed with its review of the information and initial determination. The submitter's response shall include all bases, factual or legal, for withholding any of the information pursuant to Exemption 4. Information provided by a submitter pursuant to this paragraph may itself be subject to disclosure under the FOIA. Submitters will not be provided additional opportunities to object to disclosure, and, therefore, should provide a complete explanation of any and all bases for withholding any information from disclosure.
(e) Notice of intent to disclose. The Agency shall carefully consider any objections of the submitter in the course of determining whether to disclose commercial information. Whenever the Agency decides to disclose commercial information over the objection of a submitter, the Agency shall forward to the submitter a written statement which shall include the following:
(1) A brief explanation as to why the Agency did not agree with any objections;
(2) A description of the commercial information to be disclosed, sufficient to identify the information to the submitter; and
(3) A date after which disclosure is expected. Such notice of intent to disclose shall be forwarded to the submitter in a reasonable number of working days prior to the expected disclosure date.
(f) Notice of FOIA lawsuit. Whenever a requester brings suit seeking to compel disclosure of commercial information covered by paragraph (c) of this section, the Agency shall promptly notify the submitter. Whenever a submitter brings suit against the Agency in order to prevent disclosure of commercial information, the Agency shall promptly notify the requester.
(g) Exceptions to notice requirements. The notice requirements of this section do not apply if--
(1) The information has been published or otherwise made available to the public.
(2) Disclosure of the information is required by law (other than 5 U.S.C. 552);
(3) The submitter has received notice of a previous FOIA request which encompassed information requested in the later request, and the Agency intends to withhold and/or release information in the same manner as in the previous FOIA request;
(4) Upon submitting the information or within a reasonable period thereafter,
(i) The submitter reviewed its information in anticipation of future requests pursuant to the FOIA,
(ii) Provided the Agency a statement of its objections to disclosure consistent with that described in paragraph (e) of this section, and
(iii) The Agency intends to release information consistent with the submitter's objections;
(5) Notice to the submitter may disclose information exempt from disclosure pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7).
(1) An additional limited exception to the notice requirements of this section, to be used only when all of the following exceptional circumstances are found to be present, authorizes the Agency to withhold information which is the subject of a FOIA request, based on Exemption 4 (5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4)), without providing the submitter individual notice:
(i) The Agency would be required to provide notice to over 10 submitters, in which case, notification may be accomplished by posting or publishing the notice in a place reasonably calculated to accomplish notification.
(ii) Absent any response to the published notice, the Agency determines that if it provided notice as is otherwise required by paragraph (c) of this section, it is reasonable to assume that the submitter would object to disclosure of the information based on Exemption 4; and,
(iii) If the submitter expressed the anticipated objections, the Agency would uphold those objections.
(2) This exemption shall be used only with the approval of the Chief Counsel of the Center, the Attorney-Advisor to the Inspector General, or the Associate General Counsel responsible for providing advice on the request. This exception shall not be used for a class of documents or requests, but only as warranted by an individual FOIA request.