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27 June 1998
Source: Hardcopy from William H. Payne
See related documents: http://jya.com/whpfiles.htm
U.S. Department of Justice United States Attorney
District of New Mexico
_________________________________________________________________ Post Office Box 607
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87103
June 22, 1998
William H. Payne 13015 Calle de Sandias Albuquerque, New Mexico 87191 Re: Payne v. National Security Agency USDC NM CIV 97-0266 SC/DJS Dear Mr. Payne, Enclosed is a court-endorsed copy of defendant's Motion and Memorandum for Remand of Plaintiff payne's First FOIA Request with Instructions and Request for Stay of Judicial Proceedings. Sincerely, JOHN J. KELLY United States Attorney [Signature (yh)] JAN ELIZABETH MITCHELL Assistant U.S. Attorney JEM/yh Enclosure
UNITES STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW MEXICO
98 JUN 22 AM 10:27
Robert M. Marsh
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW MEXICO
WILLIAM H. PAYNE ) Plaintiff, ) vs. ) CIVIL 97-0266 SC/DJS NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY ) Defendant. )
MOTION AND MEMORANDUM FOR REMAND OF
PLAINTIFF PAYNE'S FIRST FOIA REQUEST WITH INSTRUCTIONS
AND REQUEST FOR STAY OF JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS
As a result of the Court's April 30, 1998, Opinion and Order, there remain two FOIA requests for records before this Court. One is Plaintiff Payne's request for Iranian and Libyan messages and translations, referred to in prior pleadings and the Court's Order as Plaintiff's second request. With regard to this request, the Court has ordered the Agency to provide it with a Classified, in camera ex parte declaration to assist the Court in deciding Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. The other request, Plaintiff Payne's first request concerning technical information on six algorithms, is in a different posture and is the subject of this Motion and Memorandum for Remand.
In its Order, the Court denied Defendant's Motion for Partial Dismissal of Plaintiffs first request, which had been made on the basis that the Plaintiff had not exhausted his administrative remedies. The Defendant's
position was that Plaintiff had been notified that he must pay, in advance, a search fee of $1,267.50 which Plaintiff neither paid nor appealed. Thus, Defendant argued that Plaintiff had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. The Court disagreed with Defendant's position and held that the Plaintiff had exhausted and has stated a claim upon which relief can be granted. (Page 8 of the Court's Opinion and Order). The Court, therefore, denied Defendant's Motion for Partial Dismissal. The Court made no further order nor did it instruct the Agency to take any further action with regard to this request. As to the current status of the first FOIA request, because Mr. Payne did not pay the requested fee, no further action was taken except to close the file and remove it from the queue of FOIA requests being processed by Defendant. Therefore, because no action has been taken by the National Security Agency on Plaintiff's first request, there are no substantive issues pertaining to the FOIA request before the Court.
The National Security Agency is prepared to resume processing Plaintiff's first request for technical information on the six algorithms upon an order of the Court to do so. In its discussion of Plaintiff's right to sue on this request the Court noted, at footnote 17, that "[t]his is not to say that Plaintiff is under no obligation to pay reasonable statutorily allowable search or duplication fees." (Emphasis original.) The Defendant therefore seeks an order from this Court remanding Plaintiff's first request to the Agency for further processing and requests an order instructing Plaintiff Payne to pay the fees requested within a reasonable, but clearly stated period of time. Upon receipt of the search fee, the Agency will
begin the search for the requested records. It must be noted, however, that a search for this material does not imply that all or indeed any of the records collected in the search will be released to Plaintiff. In the experience of the Agency, the type of information requested is likely to contain a high percentage of classified or otherwise exempt information.
The Agency is also prepared to treat this request as though no intervening events occurred which means that it will be placed in the first-in first-out queue where it would have been had it not been closed for failure to pay the requested search fee. The latest statistics from the Agency FOIA Office show that there are 390 requests in this queue and that current estimates indicate that requests received today will be completed in approximately five years. Therefore, as Plaintiff's request would have already been in queue for one and a half years at this time, after receipt of the required fees, processing of Plaintiff's request would be expected to be completed in approximately three and one half years. During the processing time, Defendant respectfully requests that the Court stay any further judicial proceedings concerning Plaintiffs first FOIA request.
Pro se Plaintiff Payne was contacted on June 19, 1998 and does not concur in the granting of this Motion and Memorandum.
WHEREFORE, Defendant respectfully requests that the Court remand Plaintiff's first FOIA request back to the National Security Agency, direct that Plaintiff Payne pay the search or duplication fees, and because there are no substantive issues before the Court on the first FOIA request, stay any further
judicial proceeding on this FOIA request pending processing of said request by the Agency.
JOHN H. KELLY
United States Attorney
JAN ELIZABETH MITCHELL
Assistant U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 607
Albuquerque, NM 87103
Susan A. Arnold
Assistant General Counsel
(Civil Litigation/Admin. Law)
Office of the Chief Counsel
National Security Agency
Ft. George G. Meade, MI) 20755-6000
I HEREBY CERTIFY that a true copy
of the foregoing pleading was mailed
to pro se Plaintiff, on June 22, 1998.
JAN ELIZABETH MITCHELL
Assistant U.S. Attorney
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