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FIA-14-0034 - In the Matter of Associated Press

On July 2, 2014, the Office of Hearings and Appeals issued a decision denying an appeal (Appeal) from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) determination issued by the Office of Information Resources (OIR).  In the Appeal, the Associated Press, Washington Bureau (Appellant), challenged OIR’s determination not to expedite the processing of the Appellant’s FOIA request. The FOIA request sought documents relating to the development and implementation of Intelligence Community Directive 119 (ICD 119).  In its Appeal, the Appellant argued that its FOIA request would “shed light on the development and implementation of a new and more severe standard in the intelligence community’s dealings with the media” and that, without expedited processing, “the public would go without critical up-to-date information about the performance and decision-making of key government officials during a period when there is an urgent and on-going exchange about federal government activity.”  In applying the applicable legal standards to justify expedited processing, OHA found that the subject matter of the Appellant’s FOIA request, while potentially important, did not involve any type of urgent, time-sensitive matter relating to the American public.  Further, OHA found that there was no significantly recognized interest that would be compromised by having the Appellant’s FOIA request processed by the regular procedures employed by the OIR.  Given this analysis, the OHA found that OIR appropriately denied the Appellant’s request for expedited processing.