Monday, February 28, 2011

USAID: Mistaken keystroke delayed response to FOIA

USAID's Sylvia Lankford explains delay

Those dastardly typos.
A USAID official today said she did respond to my Dec. 30 FOIA request, as required by law, but the agency's letter never reached me because of a typo.
I am relieved to know that my request wasn't lost and is in the works.
My Dec. 30 letter requests information about companies that submitted bids to do pro-democracy work in Cuba, the kind of work that landed Alan Gross in jail.
I emailed several USAID officials on Sunday after the agency failed to respond to my letter.
Sylvia Lankford, USAID's FOIA team leader, replied this morning:
Hi Ms. Eaton,
Thanks for your inquiry. I reviewed our records and found that we had received your request. We sent the attached acknowledgement letter to you dated January 6. (Download PDF of letter). After further investigation, I found that an extra letter was inadvertently placed in your e-mail address. That is why you did not receive the letter.

Our record further shows that a request for documents was sent to our Office of Acquisition and Assistance. We await a response from them. After we receive the documents, we will need to send a letter (submitter notification) to the submitter of the proposals. Section 1 of Executive Order 12600 requires that submitters of confidential commercial information be given the opportunity to address how the disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to cause substantial competitive harm. After this step is completed, we will then review the documents to determine which FOIA exemptions to apply. Then a copy of all available information will be sent to you. This is the process.

Your processing category is News Media. There is no charge for Search and Review. Duplication fee is 20 cents per page after the first 100 pages. At this point, we do not know how many pages are over 100. Please provide an amount you are will to pay after the first 100 pages.

We regret the delay in responding to your request.

Note: Please acknowledge receipt of this communication.

Sylvia Lankford
FOIA Team Leader

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