Central Intelligence Agency
About the agency
"The CIA is an independent agency responsible for providing national security intelligence to senior US policymakers."
Per its Annual FOIA Report for 2015, the CIA, "consistently protects, among other things, classified national security information, information relating to intelligence sources and methods, and organizational information from release under the FOIA."
Requester suggestions, tips and guidance
The CIA rejected a FOIA request by MuckRock regarding emails mentioning the CIA's online FOIA request portal that was down in 2014. The CIA replied to the FOIA, citing that, "the request has been rejected as being too vague, burdensome or otherwise unprocessable." In a lawsuit between MuckRock and the CIA regarding the release of the CREST database, the CIA defended the slow process in releasing the file by claiming that the files would need to be updated to a different format that was releasable. The attorney on behalf of the CIA argued that because there was no public interest in the CREST files that MuckRock requested, there would be a charge of $108,000 to process all of the files for distribution. The CIA also began to shut down CREST terminals that allow individuals to look up and print out files that were available on the database.
Appeals suggestions, tips and guidance
If a request submitted to CIA is deemed overly broad, the FOIA officer responsible for processing your request will often have helpful suggestions for narrowing its scope -- for example, by limiting the search to specific records custodians. In many instances, these suggestions are helpful and still honor the spirit of your original request, negating the need for an administrative appeal that would challenge the agency's decision. (Often it is Allison Fong, Information and Privacy Coordinator, who provides a more limited scope while ensuring that the Agency performs a meaningful search.)
Other times, however, an administrative appeal of the CIA's response to a FOIA request is necessary. Often the CIA will issue a Glomar response in which the CIA refuses to confirm or deny the existence of the records sought. Overcoming the CIA's Glomar can be difficult, but filing an administrative appeal is the first step. After all, in President Obama's Executive Order 13526, it states that "no information may remain classified indefinitely."