43 CFR § 2.20 - When will expedited processing be provided and how will it affect your request?

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§ 2.20 When will expedited processing be provided and how will it affect your request?

(a) The bureau will provide expedited processing upon request if you demonstrate to the satisfaction of the bureau that there is a compelling need for the records. The following circumstances demonstrate a compelling need:

(1) Failure to expedite the request could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual; or

(2) There is an urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged Federal Government activity and the request is made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information.

(i) In most situations, a person primarily engaged in disseminating information will be a representative of the news media.

(ii) If you are not a full time member of the news media, to qualify for expedited processing here, you must establish that your main professional activity or occupation is information dissemination, although it need not be your sole occupation.

(iii) The requested information must be the type of information that has particular value that will be lost if not disseminated quickly; this ordinarily refers to a breaking news story that concerns a matter of public exigency.

(iv) Information of historical interest only or information sought for litigation or commercial activities would not qualify, nor would a news media deadline unrelated to breaking news.

(b) If you seek expedited processing, you must submit a statement that:

(1) Explains in detail how all elements and subcomponents of your request meets each element of one or both of the criteria in paragraph (a) of this section; and

(2) Certifies that your explanation is true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief.

(c) You may ask for expedited processing of your request by writing to the appropriate FOIA contact in the bureau that maintains the records requested any time before the bureau issues its final response to your request. Bureaus will consult with the Office of the Solicitor before granting expedited processing requests and responses to you will include the name and title of the Office of the Solicitor or Office of General Counsel attorney consulted. If only a portion of your request would qualify for expedited processing, we will:

(1) Assign the portion of the request that qualifies for expedited processing a new processing number and place it in the expedited processing track as described in § 2.15;

(2) Place the remainder of the request that does not qualify for expedited processing into the appropriate processing track as described in § 2.15; and

(3) Inform you of the basis for the partial denial of expedited processing and your right to file an appeal as set forth in § 2.20(g) of this subpart.

(d) When making a request for expedited processing of an administrative appeal, submit the request to the appropriate deciding official for FOIA appeals.

(e) The bureau must notify you of its decision to grant or deny expedited processing within 10 calendar days of receiving an expedited processing request.

(f) If expedited processing is granted, the request will be given priority, placed in the processing track for expedited requests, and be processed as soon as practicable.

(g) If expedited processing is denied, the bureau will:

(1) Inform you of the basis for the denial, including an explanation of why the expedited processing request does not meet the Department's expedited processing criteria under this section; and

(2) Notify you of the right to appeal the decision on expedited processing in accordance with the procedures in subpart H of this part.

(h) If you appeal the bureau's expedited processing decision, that portion of your appeal (if it is properly formatted under § 2.59) will be processed before appeals that do not challenge expedited processing decisions.

(i) If the bureau has not responded to the request for expedited processing within 10 calendar days, you may file an appeal (for nonresponse in accordance with § 2.57(a)(8)).

[84 FR 61827, Nov. 14, 2019]

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