NASA Refuses To Accept Its Own News Media Accreditation (Update)

Keith's update: NASA HQ PAO has informed me that my FOIA request for CASIS documents is now being processed. PAO tells me that the "media" status of NASAWatch is not an issue. The NASA FOIA office has initiated the search for what I have requested and will work with me on the details once FOIA at HQ and JSC get a handle on the size of what is found. I'll let you know what I hear back from NASA. I was very specific about the documents I requested - just the NASA/CASIS Cooperative agreement and regular CASIS status reports and NASA responses. Nothing else. Since Sam Scimemi is the CASIS POC at NASA, he'd have all this within easy reach, yes? After all, CASIS is responsible for 50% of the allocation in the U.S. segment of the ISS - so one would reasonably expect that Scimemi and his staff would take these reports very seriously. When I worked at NASA - even back in the day - I had everything organized in folders for projects I managed - either electronically or on paper so that others could find things if I was not in the office. One would think that this is a simple matter of going to Scimemi's desktop computer, electronically copying the files, dragging them into to an email, and then emailing them to me. Yes, I am applying logic here folks - will all the associated assumptions in so doing.

Keith's 5 April note: I just got this response from NASA on my FOIA request this morning, among other nonsense, it says:

"You have requested a fee waiver and asserted status as a representative of the news media. Please note that while you are a recognized journalist, qualifying for the FOIA fee category as a representative of the news media requires a distinct multi-factored analysis. Representatives of the news media are not granted a fee waiver based solely on an assertion of that FOIA fee category. Therefore, we are asking you to provide justification to warrant news media status. In accordance with Department of Justice guidance, a representative of the news media is defined as 'any person or entity that gathers information of potential interest to a segment of the public, uses its editorial skills to turn the raw materials into a distinct work, and distributes that work to an audience.' The 'news' must also be of current events or of current interest to the public and the requester must substantiate the current interest in each of the documents requested. Please be advised that merely making the information available to the public is not sufficient to qualify for this category. In your request you have also provided links to various articles. Unfortunately, we do not open links provided by requesters. In accordance with NASA FOIA Regulations, 14 CFR § 1206.506, the burden is on the requester to justify an entitlement to a fee waiver. (See CFR § 1206.507 for a discussion on fee categories.) Requests for a waiver or reduction of fees shall be considered on a case-by-case basis using the criteria in this section. These statutory requirements must be satisfied by the requester before properly assessable fees are waived or reduced under the statutory standard."

This response from NASA on my FOIA request really demonstrates some utter lack of communication inside of NASA. NASA HQ PAO has accredited me as news media since 2000. The issue as to whether I was news media was addressed back in 2000 in a series of letters between NASA. NASA OIG, and Congress. In this 4 February 2000 letter from the NASA OIG to Rep. Sensenbrenner NASA OIG noted that NASA created a new media policy to try and deny me accreditation. I found these old NASA HQ press credential badges in a box. I had to go through a full FBI background check to get them. Years later my personal data was part of that Chinese data breach. Why did NASA put me through that and then grant me accreditation if I was not news media? I guess I'll have to go see if I have any more to refute NASA's claim.

What is equally baffling is that I just sent NASA a long FOIA request that specifically addresses (in advance) the nonsense that they threw back at me the last time I tried to file a FOIA request. That time they did not even allow the waiting period to proceed before determining that I was not news media. So this time I added links to my own previous coverage of the topic surrounding my FOIA request plus links to NASA OIG and GAO reports. But they refuse to even open the links to the very evidence that they are seeking about my ability to generate news article and the relevance of the information I have requested including a report by NASA's own Inspector General! This is not how an agency that vows to be open and transparent behaves.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on April 7, 2016 10:12 AM.

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