28 CFR 16.6 - Responses to requests.

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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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