Well, this is a long-overdue update that I’m gonna break into two parts and back-date. This is the second part of that two-part update. The first part can be found here. For reference and transparency, it’s September 2, 2022 as I write this update about events that happened on August 17, 2022.
So, I got a call from the FOIA officer handling my case. I didn’t answer, because I refuse to do anything with the government that is not in writing. He left a voicemail, in which he told me they received the narrowing, but that it was still “way too big” and used the word “enormous” to describe the mass of documents they’re having to plow through to find what I asked for. For reference in case you’re not following the request changes or the series here on the blog, I’ve pasted both prior versions below. Changes are bolded.
Original: I am requesting copies of all: 1. records starting on Jan 20, 2021 that contain information
related to the CDC’s decision to remove the mask guidelines for vaccinated Americans on May
13, 2021. 2. communication (emails, internal memos, etc), starting on November 1, 2021, that
led to the development and implementation of the new COVID-19 Community Levels on March 4,
First revision: I am requesting copies of all: 1. scientific documents and communications (emails, internal memos/directives, reports, etc) starting on Jan 20, 2021, that contain information related to the CDC’s decision to remove the mask guidelines for vaccinated Americans on May 13, 2021. 2. communication (emails, internal memos/directives, reports, etc), starting on November 1, 2021, leading to the development and implementation of the new COVID-19 Community Levels on March 4, 2022.
I thought that the first revision was specific enough, but I guess not. So, back to the group chat of my 4 friends and colleagues I went. I re-explained what I was looking for specifically to them and we completely tinkered with the wording and moved things around for more clarity. We discovered I hadn’t clearly specified a “who,” that “related to” was way too broad, and that I didn’t specify an “about” for the second point (leading to and about are not the same thing). After some workshopping, this is what I sent back, with changes bolded.
I am requesting copies of all: 1. electronic mail communications between CDC leadership members spanning dates from Jan 20 and May 13, 2021, about scientific data used to justify the decision to remove the mask guidelines for vaccinated Americans. 2. electronic mail communications between CDC leadership members spanning dates from January 1 and March 4, 2022, about the development and implementation of the new COVID-19 Community Levels.
So, I specified that I wanted emails including scientific data and about the Community Levels. I’ve opened myself up to getting hit with a lot of “deliberative process” redaction, but you can see a lot from what’s missing sometimes, so I’m hopeful. I also narrowed down the dates for the second request to start at the beginning of the year, so there’s not as much to plow through. And now, we wait yet again.
If you are a member of the press who would like to have me write an op-ed or have your organization work with me to shed light on these documents after I receive them, please email email@example.com with the subject line “CDC FOIA Press” and I’ll add you to my contact list for this project and send emails after I complete my review.
I can’t wait to see what all I get back! If you’re interested in keeping up with everything, follow me @derekischmitz on Twitter for short-form informal updates and threads once the info is received and through the “CDC FOIA Request” category on the site here for long-form updates and analysis.
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2 thoughts on “CDC FOIA Update #3”
[…] So, I made it a little more specific. And now, we wait yet again. But, you don’t have to wait, because update #3, the second part of this broken-up update is av… […]
[…] all responsibilities for paying every cent of those fees or b) narrow my request further from the last changes I made on August 17. I didn’t feel as if I could rightfully narrow my request any further without running the […]
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