28 CFR 16.6 - Responses to requests.

§ 16.6 Responses to requests.
(a) Acknowledgements of requests. On receipt of a request, a component ordinarily shall send an acknowledgement letter to the requester which shall confirm the requester's agreement to pay fees under § 16.3(c) and provide an assigned request number for further reference.
(b) Grants of requests. Ordinarily, a component shall have twenty business days from when a request is received to determine whether to grant or deny the request. Once a component makes a determination to grant a request in whole or in part, it shall notify the requester in writing. The component shall inform the requester in the notice of any fee charged under § 16.11 and shall disclose records to the requester promptly on payment of any applicable fee. Records disclosed in part shall be marked or annotated to show the amount of information deleted unless doing so would harm an interest protected by an applicable exemption. The location of the information deleted also shall be indicated on the record, if technically feasible.
(c) Adverse determinations of requests. A component making an adverse determination denying a request in any respect shall notify the requester of that determination in writing. Adverse determinations, or denials of requests, consist of: a determination to withhold any requested record in whole or in part; a determination that a requested record does not exist or cannot be located; a determination that a record is not readily reproducible in the form or format sought by the requester; a determination that what has been requested is not a record subject to the FOIA; a determination on any disputed fee matter, including a denial of a request for a fee waiver; and a denial of a request for expedited treatment. The denial letter shall be signed by the head of the component, or the component head's designee, and shall include:
(1) The name and title or position of the person responsible for the denial;
(2) A brief statement of the reason(s) for the denial, including any FOIA exemption applied by the component in denying the request;
(3) An estimate of the volume of records or information withheld, in number of pages or in some other reasonable form of estimation. This estimate does not need to be provided if the volume is otherwise indicated through deletions on records disclosed in part, or if providing an estimate would harm an interest protected by an applicable exemption; and
(4) A statement that the denial may be appealed under § 16.9(a) and a description of the requirements of § 16.9(a).
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§ 16.6 Responses to requests.

(a) In general. Components should, to the extent practicable, communicate with requesters having access to the Internet using electronic means, such as email or web portal.

(b) Acknowledgments of requests. A component shall acknowledge the request and assign it an individualized tracking number if it will take longer than 10 working days to process. Components shall include in the acknowledgment a brief description of the records sought to allow requesters to more easily keep track of their requests.

(c) Grants of requests. Once a component makes a determination to grant a request in full or in part, it shall notify the requester in writing. The component also shall inform the requester of any fees charged under § 16.10 and shall disclose the requested records to the requester promptly upon payment of any applicable fees.

(d) Adverse determinations of requests. A component making an adverse determination denying a request in any respect shall notify the requester of that determination in writing. Adverse determinations, or denials of requests, include decisions that: the requested record is exempt, in whole or in part; the request does not reasonably describe the records sought; the information requested is not a record subject to the FOIA; the requested record does not exist, cannot be located, or has been destroyed; or the requested record is not readily reproducible in the form or format sought by the requester. Adverse determinations also include denials involving fees or fee waiver matters or denials of requests for expedited processing.

(e) Content of denial. The denial shall be signed by the head of the component, or designee, and shall include:

(1) The name and title or position of the person responsible for the denial;

(2) A brief statement of the reasons for the denial, including any FOIA exemption applied by the component in denying the request;

(3) An estimate of the volume of any records or information withheld, such as the number of pages or some other reasonable form of estimation, although such an estimate is not required if the volume is otherwise indicated by deletions marked on records that are disclosed in part or if providing an estimate would harm an interest protected by an applicable exemption; and

(4) A statement that the denial may be appealed under § 16.8(a), and a description of the requirements set forth therein.

(f) Markings on released documents. Markings on released documents must be clearly visible to the requester. Records disclosed in part shall be marked to show the amount of information deleted and the exemption under which the deletion was made unless doing so would harm an interest protected by an applicable exemption. The location of the information deleted shall also be indicated on the record, if technically feasible.

(g) Use of record exclusions.

(1) In the event that a component identifies records that may be subject to exclusion from the requirements of the FOIA pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(c), the component must confer with OIP to obtain approval to apply the exclusion.

(2) Any component invoking an exclusion shall maintain an administrative record of the process of invocation and approval of the exclusion by OIP.

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