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 Report

National Transportation Safety Board
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2009
(October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009)

Click these links for other versions of the report:  XML - PDF
   

Table of Contents

  1. BASIC INFORMATION REGARDING REPORT
  2. MAKING A FOIA REQUEST
  3. ACRONYMS, DEFINITIONS, AND EXEMPTIONS
  4. EXEMPTION 3 STATUTES
  5. FOIA REQUESTS
  6. ADMINISTRATIVE APPEALS OF INITIAL DETERMINATIONS OF FOIA REQUESTS
  7. FOIA REQUESTS RESPONSE TIME FOR PROCESSED AND PENDING REQUESTS
  8. REQUESTS FOR EXPEDITED PROCESSING AND REQUESTS FOR FEE WAIVER
  9. FOIA PERSONNEL AND COSTS
  10. FEES COLLECTED FOR PROCESSING REQUESTS
  11. FOIA REGULATIONS
  12. BACKLOGS, CONSULTATIONS, AND COMPARISONS

I. Basic Information Regarding Report

  1. Name, title, address, and telephone number of person(s) to be contacted with questions about this report:
Melba D. Moye - FOIA Officer
Joy White - FOIA Specialist
Tamara Pleasant Crawford - FOIA Specialist
National Transportation Safety Board
Attn: FOIA Requester Service Center (CIO-40)
490 L’Enfant Plaza, S.W.
Washington, D.C.  20594
(202) 314-6540
  1. Electronic address for this report on the World Wide Web:
  1. Write to the following to obtain a copy of this Report in paper form (include your mailing address in your request):
National Transportation Safety Board
Attn: FOIA Requester Service Center, (CIO-40)
490 L’Enfant Plaza, S.W.
Washington, D.C.  20594-2000
(202) 314-6540

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II. Making a FOIA Request

For basic information on how to obtain FOIA information, visit our web site at ntsb.gov/about/foia.htm.

  1. Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all individual agency components that receive FOIA requests.

    National Transportation Safety Board
    Attn: FOIA Requester Service Center, (CIO-40)
    490 L’Enfant Plaza, S.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20594-2000
    (202) 314-6540

  2. Brief description of why some requests are not granted and an overview of certain general categories of the agency's records to which the FOIA exemptions apply.

    The National Transportation Safety board is an independent Federal agency charged by congress with investigating transportation accidents, determining the probable cause and issuing safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents.

    Requests are made for accident investigation records.  The records most commonly withheld are those protected from release by another statute, those containing proprietary information, and draft reports.  The most commonly redacted information is that involving matters of personal privacy.

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III. Acronyms, Definitions, and Exemptions

  1. Provide any agency-specific acronyms or terms used in this Report.

  2. Definitions of terms used in this Report:

    1. Administrative Appeal - a request to a federal agency asking that it review at a higher administrative level a FOIA determination made by the agency at the initial request level.
    2. Average Number - the number obtained by dividing the sum of a group of numbers by the quantity of numbers in the group. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the average number is 8.
    3. Backlog - the number of requests or administrative appeals that are pending at an agency at the end of the fiscal year that are beyond the statutory time period for a response.
    4. Component - for agencies that process requests on a decentralized basis, a "component" is an entity, also sometimes referred to as an Office, Division, Bureau, Center, or Directorate, within the agency that processes FOIA requests. The FOIA now requires that agencies include in their Annual FOIA Report data for both the agency overall and for each principal component of the agency.
    5. Consultation - the procedure whereby the agency responding to a FOIA request first forwards a record to another agency for its review because that other agency has an interest in the document. Once the agency in receipt of the consultation finishes its review of the record, it responds back to the agency that forwarded it. That agency, in turn, will then respond to the FOIA requester.
    6. Exemption 3 Statute - a federal statute that exempts information from disclosure and which the agency relies on to withhold information under subsection (b)(3) of the FOIA.
    7. FOIA Request - a FOIA request is generally a request to a federal agency for access to records concerning another person (i.e., a "third-party" request), or concerning an organization, or a particular topic of interest. FOIA requests also include requests made by requesters seeking records concerning themselves (i.e., "first-party" requests) when those requesters are not subject to the Privacy Act, such as non-U.S. citizens. Moreover, because all first-party requesters should be afforded the benefit of both the access provisions of the FOIA as well as those of the Privacy Act, FOIA requests also include any first-party requests where an agency determines that it must search beyond its Privacy Act "systems of records" or where a Privacy Act exemption applies, and the agency looks to FOIA to afford the greatest possible access. All requests which require the agency to utilize the FOIA in responding to the requester are included in this Report.

      Additionally, a FOIA request includes records referred to the agency for processing and direct response to the requester. It does not, however, include records for which the agency has received a consultation from another agency. (Consultations are reported separately in Section XII of this Report.)
    8. Full Grant - an agency decision to disclose all records in full in response to a FOIA request.
    9. Full Denial - an agency decision not to release any records in response to a FOIA request because the records are exempt in their entireties under one or more of the FOIA exemptions, or because of a procedural reason, such as when no records could be located.
    10. Median Number - the middle, not average, number. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the median number is 7.
    11. Multi-Track Processing - a system in which simple requests requiring relatively minimal review are placed in one processing track and more voluminous and complex requests are placed in one or more other tracks. Requests granted expedited processing are placed in yet another track. Requests in each track are processed on a first in/first out basis.
      1. Expedited Processing - an agency will process a FOIA request on an expedited basis when a requester satisfies the requirements for expedited processing as set forth in the statute and in agency regulations.
      2. Simple Request - a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in its fastest (non-expedited) track based on the low volume and/or simplicity of the records requested.
      3. Complex Request - a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in a slower track based on the high volume and/or complexity of the records requested.
    12. Partial Grant/Partial Denial - in response to a FOIA request, an agency decision to disclose portions of the records and to withhold other portions that are exempt under the FOIA, or to otherwise deny a portion of the request for a procedural reason.
    13. Pending Request or Pending Administrative Appeal - a request or administrative appeal for which an agency has not taken final action in all respects.
    14. Perfected Request - a request for records which reasonably describes such records and is made in accordance with published rules stating the time, place, fees (if any) and procedures to be followed.
    15. Processed Request or Processed Administrative Appeal - a request or administrative appeal for which an agency has taken final action in all respects.
    16. Range in Number of Days - the lowest and highest number of days to process requests or administrative appeals.
    17. Time Limits - the time period in the statute for an agency to respond to a FOIA request (ordinarily twenty working days from receipt of a perfected FOIA request).

  3. Include the following concise descriptions of the nine FOIA exemptions:

    1. Exemption 1: classified national defense and foreign relations information
    2. Exemption 2: internal agency rules and practices
    3. Exemption 3: information that is prohibited from disclosure by another federal law
    4. Exemption 4: trade secrets and other confidential business information
    5. Exemption 5: inter-agency or intra-agency communications that are protected by legal privileges
    6. Exemption 6: information involving matters of personal privacy
    7. Exemption 7: records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, to the extent that the production of those records (A) could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings, (B) would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, (C) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, (D) could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, (E) would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or (F) could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual
    8. Exemption 8: information relating to the supervision of financial institutions
    9. Exemption 9: geological information on wells

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IV. Exemption 3 Statutes

A. For Initial Requests

Statute

Type of Information Withheld

Case Citation

Number of times
Relied upon per component

 Total Number of
Times Relied upon
by Agency

49 U.S.C. §
1114(c)(1) 

Any portion of cockpit voice recording (CVR), or the portions of a transcript of a CVR that the Board did not find relevant to an investigation

NA

2

2

49 U.S.C. §
1114(f) 

Any information relating to Board participation in foreign aircraft accidents, where the country conducting the investigation has not issued its report or 2 years have not elapsed from the date of the accident.

NA 1 1

B. For Appeals

Statute

Type of Information Withheld

Case Citation

Number of Times Relied upon per Component

Total Number of Times Relied upon by Agency

NONE N/A N/A N/A N/A

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V. FOIA Requests

A.  Received, Processed and Pending FOIA Requests
Component Number of Requests Pending As of Start of Fiscal Year Number of Requests Received In Fiscal Year Number of Requests Processed in Fiscal Year Number of Requests Pending as of End of Fiscal Year
Agency Overall

36

319

307

48

 
B.(1) Disposition of FOIA Requests All Processed Requests
Component

Number of Full Grants

Number of Partial Grants/ Partial Denials

Number of Full Denials Based on Exemptions

 Number of Full Denials Based on Reasons Other than Exemptions

TOTAL

No records

All Records Referred to Another Component or Agency

Request withdrawn

Fee-related reason

Records not reasonably described

Improper FOIA request for other reason

Not agency record

Duplicate request

Other *Explain in chart below

Agency Overall

41

72 119 52 1 4 0 1 7 8 2 0 307

B.(2) Disposition of FOIA Requests Other Reasons for Full Denials Based on Reasons Other than Exemptions
Component Description of “Other” Reasons for Denials from Chart B (1)& Number of Times Those Reasons Were Relied upon TOTAL
Agency Overall 0 0

B.(3) Disposition of FOIA Requests Number of Times Exemptions Applied
Component (b)(1) (b)(2) (b)(3) (b)(4) (b)(5) (b)(6) (b)(7)(A) (b)(7)(B) (b)(7)(C) (b)(7)(D) (b)(7)(E) (b)(7)(F) (b)(8) (b)(9)
Agency Overall 0 116 3 14 158 47 109 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

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VI. Administrative Appeals of Initial Determinations of FOIA Requests

A. Received, Processed and Pending Administrative Appeals
Component  Number of
as of Start of Fiscal Year
 Number of Appeals Received in Fiscal Year  Number of
Processed in Fiscal Year
Number of Appeals Pending as of End of Fiscal Year
Agency Overall 1 9 7 3
 
B. Disposition of Administrative Appeals All Processed Appeals
Component Number Affirmed
on Appeal
Number Partially Affirmed & Partially
Reversed/Remanded on Appeal
Number Completely
Reversed/Remanded on Appeal
Number of Appeals
Closed for Other Reasons
TOTAL
Agency Overall 5 0 0 2 7
 
C.(1) Reasons for Denial on Appeal Number of Times Exemptions Applied
Component (b)(1) (b)(2) (b)(3) (b)(4) (b)(5) (b)(6) (b)(7)(A) (b)(7)(B) (b)(7)(C) (b)(7)(D) (b)(7)(E) (b)(7)(F) (b)(8) (b)(9)
Agency Overall 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

C.(2) Reasons for Denial on Appeal Reasons Other than Exemptions
Component No records Records Referred At Initial Request Level Request withdrawn Fee-related reason Records not reasonably described Improper Request for Other Reasons Not an agency record Duplicate Request or
Appeal
Request In Litigation Appeal Based Solely on Denial of Request for Expedited Processing Other

*Explain
in chart
below
TOTAL
Agency Overall 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2

C.(3) Reasons for Denial on Appeal Other Reasons
Component Description of “Other” Reasons for Denial onAppeal from Chart C (2) & Number of TimesThose Reasons Were Relied upon TOTAL
Agency Overall 0 0

C.(4) Response Time for Administrative Appeals
Component SIMPLE COMPLEX EXPEDITED PROCESS
Median
Number
of Days
Average
Number
of Days
Lowest
Number
of Days
Highest
Number
of Days
Median
Number
of Days
Average
Number
of Days
Lowest
Number
of Days
Highest
Number
of Days
Median
Number
of Days
Average
Number
of Days
Lowest
Number
of Days
Highest
Number
of Days
Agency Overall 16 16 16 16 17.5 18.5 0 45 NA NA NA NA

C.(5) Ten Oldest Pending Administrative Appeals
Component 10th Oldest Appeal and Number of Days Pending
9th 8th 7th 6th 5th 4th 3rd 2nd Oldest Appeal and Number of Days Pending
Agency Overall 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 09/29/2009
1
08/24/2009
27
06/23/2009
71

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VII. FOIA Requests Response Time for Processed and Pending Requests

 

A. Processed Requests Response Time for All Processed Perfected Requests
Component SIMPLE COMPLEX EXPEDITED PROCESS
Median
Number
of Days
Average
Number
of Days
Lowest
Number
of Days
Highest
Number
of Days
Median
Number
of Days
Average
Number
of Days
Lowest
Number
of Days
Highest
Number
of Days
Median
Number
of Days
Average
Number
of Days
Lowest
Number
of Days
Highest
Number
of Days
AGENCY
OVERALL

1

3.59

0

21

11

29.51

0

392

NA

NA

NA

NA


B. Processed Requests Response Time for Perfected Requests in Which Information Was Granted
Component SIMPLE COMPLEX EXPEDITED PROCESS
Median
Number
of Days
Average
Number
of Days
Lowest
Number
of Days
Highest
Number
of Days
Median
Number
of Days
Average
Number
of Days
Lowest
Number
of Days
Highest
Number
of Days
Median
Number
of Days
Average
Number
of Days
Lowest
Number
of Days
Highest
Number
of Days
AGENCY
OVERALL

4

4.38

0

15

32.5

49.77

0

392

NA

NA

NA

NA


C. Processed Requests -- Response Time in Day Increments

Simple Requests
Component < 1 Day

1-20
Days

21-40
Days

41-60
Days

61-80
Days

81-100
Days

101-120
Days

121-140
Days

141-160
Days

161-180
Days

181-200
Days

201-300
Days

301-400
Days

401+
Days

TOTAL

AGENCY
OVERALL
15

28

1

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

44


Complex Requests
Component < 1 Day

1-20
Days

21-40
Days

41-60
Days

61-80
Days

81-100
Days

101-120
Days

121-140
Days

141-160
Days

161-180
Days

181-200
Days

201-300
Days

301-400
Days

401+
Days

TOTAL

AGENCY
OVERALL
30

138

35

18

13

10

5

6

1

1

1

2

2

NA

262


Requests Granted Expedited Processing
Component < 1 Day

1-20
Days

21-40
Days

41-60
Days

61-80
Days

81-100
Days

101-120
Days

121-140
Days

141-160
Days

161-180
Days

181-200
Days

201-300
Days

301-400
Days

401+
Days

TOTAL

AGENCY
OVERALL
NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA


D. Pending Requests All Pending Perfected Requests

Component

SIMPLE

COMPLEX

EXPEDITED PROCESSING

Number
Pending

Median
Number
of Days

Average
Number
of Days

Number
Pending

Median
Number
of Days

Average
Number
of Days

Number
Pending

Median
Number
of Days

Average
Number
of Days

AGENCY
OVERALL

2

13

13

36

21

37

NA

NA

NA


E. Pending Requests Ten Oldest Pending Perfected Requests
Component

10th Oldest
Request and
Number of
Days Pending

9th

8th

7th

6th

5th

4th

3rd

2nd

Oldest Request
and Number of
Days Pending

AGENCY
OVERALL

08/05/2009
40

08/05/2009
40

08/05/2009
40

07/29/2009
45

07/21/2009
57

06/29/2009
69

06/29/2009
69

03/17/2009
164

02/03/2009
171

12/19/2008
206

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VIII.  Requests for Expedited Processing and requests for Fee Waiver

A. Requests for Expedited Processing
Component

Number Granted

Number Denied

Median Number of
Days to Adjudicate

Average Number of
Days to Adjudicate

Number Adjudicated
Within Ten Calendar Days

AGENCY
OVERALL

0

1

0

0

1


B. Requests for Fee Waiver
Component

Number Granted

Number Denied

Median Number of
Days to Adjudicate

Average Number of
Days to Adjudicate

AGENCY
OVERALL

2

1

0

0

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IX. FOIA Personnel and Costs

Personnel & Costs

Component

PERSONNEL

COSTS

Number of
Full-Time FOIA Employees

Number of Equivalent
Full-Time FOIA Employees

Total Number of
Full-Time FOIA Staff

Processing Costs

Litigation-Related Costs

Total Costs

AGENCY OVERALL

2.00*

6.00

8.00

$957,795.60

$389.57

$958,185.17

* Personnel and offices that search for responsive records are not included in the count for full-time FOIA employees

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X. FEES COLLECTED FOR PROCESSING REQUESTS

Fees Collected
Component

Total Amount of Fees Collected

Percentage of Total Costs

AGENCY OVERALL

$12,058.65

99.80

XI. FOIA Regulations (Including Fee Schedule)

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XII. Backlogs, Consultations, and Comparisons

    A. Backlogs of FOIA Requests and Administrative Appeals
    Component

    Number of Backlogged
    Requests as of End of Fiscal Year

    Number of Backlogged
    Appeals as of End of Fiscal Year

    AGENCY OVERALL

    48

    3


    <><><><><><><><><>
    B. Consultations on FOIA Requests Received, Processed, and Pending Consultations
    Component

    Number of Consultations Received
    from Other Agencies
    that Were Pending at
    Your Agency as of
    Start of the Fiscal Year

    Number of Consultations
    Received from Other
    Agencies During the
    Fiscal Year

    Number of Consultations Received
    from Other Agencies
    that Were Processed by
    Your Agency During
    the Fiscal Year

    Number of Consultations Received
    from Other Agencies
    that Were Pending at
    Your Agency as of
    End of the Fiscal Year

    AGENCY
    OVERALL

    NA

    NA

    NA

    NA


    C. Consultations on FOIA Requests Ten Oldest Consultations Received from Other Agencies and Pending at Your Agency
    Component

    10th Oldest
    Consultation and
    Number of
    Days Pending

    9th

    8th

    7th

    6th

    5th

    4th

    3rd

    2nd

    Oldest Consultation
    and Number of
    Days Pending

    AGENCY
    OVERALL

    0

    0

    0

    0

    0

    0

    0

    0

    0

    0


    D. Comparison of Numbers of Requests from Previous and Current
    Annual Report Requests Received, Processed, and Backlogged

    Component

    NUMBER OF REQUESTS RECEIVED

    NUMBER OF REQUESTS PROCESSED

    Number Received During Fiscal Year
    from Last Years Annual Report

    Number Received During Fiscal Year
    from Current Annual Report

    Number Processed During Fiscal Year
    from Last Years Annual Report

    Number Processed During Fiscal Year
    from Current Annual Report

    AGENCY OVERALL

    224

    319

    189**

    307


    ** 311 FOIA requests were processed in old database.

    Number of Backlogged Requests
    Component

    Number of Backlogged Requests
    as of End of the Fiscal Year from Previous Annual Report

    Number of Backlogged Requests
    as of End of the Fiscal Year from Current Annual Report

    AGENCY OVERALL

    36

    48


    E. Comparison of Numbers of Administrative Appeals from Previous and Current
    Annual Report Appeals Received, Processed, and Backlogged

    Component

    NUMBER OF REQUESTS RECEIVED

    NUMBER OF REQUESTS PROCESSED

    Number Received During Fiscal Year
    from Last Years Annual Report

    Number Received During Fiscal Year
    from Current Annual Report

    Number Processed During Fiscal Year
    from Last Years Annual Report

    Number Processed During Fiscal Year
    from Current Annual Report

    AGENCY OVERALL

    9

    9

    8

    7


    Number of Backlogged Appeals
    Component

    Number of Backlogged Appeals as of End of
    the Fiscal Year from Previous Annual Report

    Number of Backlogged Appeals as of End of
    the Fiscal Year from Current Annual Report

    AGENCY OVERALL

    0

    0

    F. Discussion of Other FOIA Activities (Optional)

    Agency has hired a contractor to assist with FOIA processing and tracking of all incoming requests.

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    NTSB FOIA Contacts

    Chief FOIA Officer: Robert Scherer
    Director, Office of the Chief Information Officer

    The Chief FOIA Officer is a senior official who oversees the NTSB's FOIA program.

    FOIA Public Liaison: Melba D. Moye
    Chief, Records Management Division, (202) 314-6540

    The FOIA Public Liaison serves as the supervisory official to whom a FOIA requester can raise concerns about the service the FOIA requester has received from the FOIA Requester Service Center, following an initial response from the Service Center staff.

    FOIA Requester Service Center for the NTSB: (202) 314-6540 or (800) 877-6799 The FOIA Requester Service Center specialists assist FOIA requesters seeking information concerning their FOIA requests or the agency's FOIA response.