22 CFR 1304.5 - Responsibility for responding to requests.
(a) General. In determining which records are responsive to a request, MCC ordinarily will include only records in its possession as of the date it begins its search for records. If any other date is used, the FOIA Officer shall inform the requester of that date.
(b) Authority to grant or deny requests. The FOIA Officer shall make initial determinations either to grant or deny in whole or in part a request for records. When the FOIA Officer denies the request in whole or in part, the FOIA Officer shall notify the requester of the denial, the grounds for the denial, and the procedures for appeal of the denial under § 1304.8.
(c) Consultations and referrals. When a requested record has been created by another Federal Government agency, that record shall be referred to the originating agency for direct response to the requester. The requester shall be informed of the referral. As this is not a denial of a FOIA request, no appeal rights are afforded to the requester. When a requested record is identified as containing information originating with another Federal Government agency, the record shall be referred to the originating agency for review and recommendation on disclosure.
(d) Timing and deadlines.
(1) The FOIA Officer ordinarily shall respond to requests according to their order of receipt.
(2) The FOIA Officer may use multi-track processing in responding to requests. This process entails separating simple requesters that require rather limited review from more lengthy and complex requests. Requests in each track are then processed according to paragraph (d)(1) of this section in their respective track.
(3) The FOIA Officer may provide requesters in the slower track an opportunity to limit the scope of their requests in order to decrease the processing time required. The FOIA Officer may provide such an opportunity by contacting the requester by letter or telephone.
(4) The FOIA Officer shall make an initial determination regarding access to the requested information and notify the requester within twenty (20) working days after receipt of the request. This 20 day period may be extended if unusual circumstances arise. If an extension is necessary, the FOIA Officer shall promptly notify the requester of the extension, briefly providing the reasons for the extension, the date by which a determination is expected, and providing the requester with the opportunity to modify the request so that the FOIA Officer may process it in accordance with the 20 day period. Unusual circumstances warranting extension are:
(i) The need to search for and collect the requested records from field facilities or other establishments that are separate from the office processing the request;
(ii) The need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a lengthy amount of records which are demanded in a single request; or
(iii) The need for consultation with another agency having a substantial interest in the determination of the request, which consultation shall be conducted with all practicable speed.
(iv) If the FOIA Officer has a reasonable basis to conclude that a requester or group of requesters has divided a request into a series of requests on a single subject or related subject to avoid fees, the requests may be aggregated and fees charged accordingly. Multiple requests involving unrelated matters will not be aggregated.
(5) If no initial determination has been made at the end of the 20 day period provided for in paragraph (d)(4) of this section, including any extension, the requester may appeal the action to the FOIA Appeals Officer.
(e) Expedited processing of request. The FOIA Officer must determine whether to grant a request for expedited processing within 10 calendar days of its receipt. Requests will receive expedited processing if one of the following listed compelling reasons is met:
(1) The requester can establish that failure to receive the records quickly could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual; or
(2) The requester is primarily engaged in disseminating information and can demonstrate that an urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity exists.
(f) Providing responsive records. The FOIA Officer shall provide one copy of a record to a requester in any form or format requested if the record is readily reproducible by MCC in that form or format by regular U.S. mail to the address indicated in the request, unless other arrangements are made. At the option of the requester and upon the requester's agreement to pay fees in accordance with § 1304.9, the FOIA Officer shall provide copies by facsimile transmission or other express delivery methods.