On March 6, 2012 (the date is faintly visible in the upper right hand corner of the letter attached below; it’s clearer in the original) I received a letter from the FOIA division of the Executive Office of the United States Attorneys informing me that one half of my request, “Request Number: 2012-484,” had been denied.
You have requested records concerning a third party (or third parties). Records pertaining to a third party generally cannot be released absent express authorization and consent of the third party, proof that the subject of your request is deceased, or a clear demonstration that the public interest in disclosure outweighs the personal privacy interest and that significant public benefit would result from the disclosure of the requested records. Since you have not furnished a release, death certificate, or public justification for release, the release of records concerning a third party would result in an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy and would be in violation of the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. [sec.] 552a. These records are also generally exempt from disclosure pursuant to sections (b) (6) and (b)(7)(C) of the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. [sec.] 552.
I decided to not to contest this ruling for the time being and to wait to see what my other request — “12-485: U.S. v. Paul Volkman (public records only)/OHS” — would yield. And, anyway, the letter hadn’t identified who the ” third party (or third parties)” concerned in request “2012-484” were. So how could I request their permission?