I.         Basic Information Regarding Report

            A. Person(s) to be contacted with questions about the report.


                 Name:         Brenda Dolan

                 Title:           Departmental FOIA Officer

                 Address:      U.S. Department of Commerce

                                    Room 6022

                                    1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.

                                    Washington, D.C. 20230

                 Telephone: 202-482-4115

            B. Electronic Address for report on the World Wide Web.


            C. How to obtain a copy of the report in paper form.

                        Write to address or contact person listed in item I. A.


II         How to Make a FOIA Request


                        Instructions are shown on DOC FOIA Home Page at:


                        FOIA requests must be in writing. Send requests to the address

                        in item I. A. or e-mail to

            A. Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all individual agency components and

                 offices that receive FOIA requests.

                                    Brenda Dolan

                                    Departmental FOIA Officer

                                    Office of Executive Assistance Management

                                    Room 6022

                                    1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.

                                    Washington, D.C. 20230



                                    Bobbie Parsons

                                    FOIA Officer

                                    Office of the Secretary

                                    Office of Executive Assistance Management

                                    Room 6022

                                    1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.

                                    Washington, D.C. 20230


                                    Gerald W. Gates

                                    FOIA Officer

                                    Bureau of the Census

                                    Policy Office

                                    Federal Building 3, Room 2430

                                    Suitland, Maryland 20233


                                    Zurefa Ellis

                                    FOIA Officer

                                    Bureau of Economic Analysis/Economic and

                                      Statistics Administration

                                    Office of the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs

                                    Room 4838

                                    1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.

                                    Washington, D.C. 20230


                                    Jennifer Bryan

                                    FOIA Officer

                                    Economic Development Administration

                                    Office of the Chief Counsel

                                    Room 7001

                                    1401Constitution Avenue, N.W.

                                    Washington, D.C. 20230



                                    Dawn Battle

                                    FOIA Officer

                                    Bureau of Export Administration

                                    Office of Administration

                                    Room 6883

                                    1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.

                                    Washington, D.C. 20230


                                    Linda Bell

                                    FOIA Officer

                                    International Trade Administration

                                    Office of Organization and Management Support

                                    Room 4001

                                    1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.

                                    Washington, D.C. 20230


                                    Dan Webster

                                    FOIA Officer

                                    Minority Business Development Agency

                                    Data Resources Division

                                    Room 5084

                                    1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.

                                    Washington, D.C. 20230


                                    Sharon Bisco

                                    FOIA Officer

                                    National Institute of Standards and Technology

                                    Office of the Director for Administration

                                    Room A-525

                                    100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 3200

                                    Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899-3200



                                    Paul F. Roberts, II

                                    FOIA Officer

                                    National Technical Information Service

                                    Office of Administrative Management

                                    Room 209, Forbes Building

                                    Springfield, Virginia 22161



                                    Denise Marshall 

                                    FOIA Officer

                                    National Telecommunications & Information Administration

                                    Office of the Chief Counsel

                                    Room 4713

                                    1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.

                                    Washington, D.C. 20230


                                    Jean Carter-Johnson

                                    FOIA Officer

                                    National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration

                                    NOAA Central FOIA Facility

                                    1315 East-West Highway

                                    Room 10730

                                    Silver Spring, Maryland


                                    Michael Briskin

                                    FOIA Officer

                                    United States Patent and Trademark Office

                                    Box OGC

                                    Washington, D.C. 20231


                                    Philip Greene

                                    FOIA Officer

                                    Technology Administration

                                    Office of the Chief Counsel

                                    Room 4835

                                    1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.

                                    Washington, D.C. 20230



                                    Elizabeth T. Barlow

                                    FOIA Officer

                                    Office of Inspector General

                                    Counsel to the Inspector General

                                    Room 7892

                                    1401 Constitution Avenue, N.W.

                                    Washington, D.C. 20230


                                    The FOIA Officers are also listed at:

                    B. Brief description of the agency’s response -time ranges.

                        The Department of Commerce strives to answer all FOIA requests within

                        the 20 day response time mandated by the Electronic FOIA Amendments.

                        The response time for simple requests is approximately 14 days. The response

                        for complex requests varied from 25 days to a maximum of 106 days.

            C. Brief description of why some requests are not granted.

                        A request for records may be denied if the requested record contains information

                        which falls into one or more of the nine categories listed below. If the requested

                        record contains both exempt and nonexempt information, the nonexempt portions

                        which may reasonably be segregated form the exempt portions will be released to

                        the requester.

                        Categories of Exempt Information


Exemption One: Records which are specifically authorized under criteria established
by an Executive Order to be kept secret in interest of national defense or foreign policy
and are in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive Order.


Exemption Two: Records related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices
of the Department of Commerce.


Exemption Three: Records specifically exempted from disclosure by statute,
provided that such statute:


Requires that the matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no
discretion on the issues: or establishes particular criteria for withholding or


                        refers to particular types of matter to be withheld.

                        Exemption Four: Trade secrets and commercial of financial information obtained

                        from a person that is privileged or confidential.


Exemption Five: Interagency or intra-agency memoranda or letters which would not
be available by law to a private party in litigation with the Department of Commerce.

                        Exemption Six: Personnel, medical, and similar files (including financial files) the

                        disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal



Exemption Seven: Records compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to

                        the extent that the production of such law enforcement records could reasonably

be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings; would deprive a person
of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication; could reasonably be expected
to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; could reasonably be
expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, including a state, local, or
foreign agency or authority or any private institution which furnished records on a
confidential basis; would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement
investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement
investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to
risk circumvention of the law; or could reasonably be expected to endanger the
life or physical safety of any individual.


Exemption Eight: Records that are contained in or related to examination, operating,
or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for use of an agency

                        responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions.


Exemption Nine: Geological and geophysical information and data, including maps,
concerning wells.


III.       Definitions of Terms and Acronyms Used in the Report

            A. Agency-specific acronyms or other terms.

                        OS - Office of the Secretary

                        ESA - Economic and Statistics Administration

                        EDA - Economic Development Administration


                        BIS - Bureau of Industry and Security

                        ITA - International Trade Administration

                        MBDA - Minority Business Development Agency

                        NIST - National Institute of Standards and Technology

                        NTIS - National Technical Information Service

                        NTIA - National Telecommunications & Information Administration

                        NOAA - National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration

                        PTO - Patent and Trademark Office

                        TA - Technology Administration

                        OIG - Office of Inspector General


            B. Basic terms, expressed in common terminology.

                        1. FOIA/PA Request - Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act request. A

                             FOIA request is generally a request for access to records concerning a

                             third party, an organization, or a particular topic of interest. A Privacy Act

                             request is a request for records concerning oneself; such requests are also

                             treated as FOIA requests. (All requests for access to records, regardless of

                             which law is cited by the requester, are included in this report.) 


                        2. Initial Request - a request to a Federal agency for access to records under

                             the Freedom of Information Act.

                        3. Appeal - a request to a federal agency asking that it review at a higher

                             administrative level a full denial or partial denial of access to records under

                             the Freedom of Information Act, or any other FOIA determination such as a

                             matter pertaining to fees.


                        4. Processed Request or Appeal - a request or appeal for which an agency has

                             taken a final action on the request or the appeal in all respects.

                        5. 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 in each

     track are processed on a first-in/first out basis. A requester who has an urgent

                             need for records may request expedited processing (see below).

                        6. Expedited Processing - an agency will process a FOIA request on an expedited

    basis when a requester has shown an exceptional need or urgency for the records
    which warrants prioritization of his or her request over other requests

                             that were made earlier.


                        7. Simple Request - a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing

                 places in its fastest (nonexpedited) track based on the volume and/or complexity
                 of records requested.

                        8. Complex Request - a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing

                             places in a slower track based on the volume and/or complexity of records


                        9. Grant - an agency decision to disclose all records in full in response to a FOIA


                      10. Partial Grant - an agency decision to disclose a record in part in response to a

                             FOIA request, deleting information determined to be exempt under one or

                             more of the FOIA’s exemptions; or a decision to disclose some records in their

                             entireties, but to withhold others in whole or in part.

                      11. Denial - an agency decision not to release any part of a record or records in

                             response to a FOIA request because all the information in the requested records

                              is determined by the agency to be exempt under one or more of the FOIA’s

                             exemptions, or for some procedural reason (such as because no record is

                             located in response to a FOIA request).

                      12. Time Limits - the time period in the Freedom of Information Act for an

                             agency to respond to a FOIA request (ordinarily 20 working days from

                             proper receipt of a “perfected” FOIA request).

                      13. “Perfected” request - a FOIA request for records which adequately describes

                             the records sought, which has been received by the FOIA office of the agency

                             or agency component in possession of the records, and for which there is no

                             remaining question about the payment of applicable fees.

                      14. Exemption 3 Statute - a separate federal statute prohibiting the disclosure of a

                             certain type of information and authorizing its withholding under FOIA subsection (b)(3).

                      15. Median Number - the middle, not average, number, for example, of 3, 7, and

                             14, the median number is 7.

                      16. Average Number - the number obtained by dividing the sum of a group of

                             numbers in the group. For example, of 3, 7, and 14, the average number is 8.


IV.      Exemption 3 Statutes


            A.        List of Exemption 3 statutes relied on by agency during current fiscal year.

                        1. Brief description of type(s) of information withheld under each statute.

                                    13 U.S.C. § 9 - prohibits the use, publication, or examination of any

                                    information collected by the Census Bureau, other than for the

                                    statistical purposed for which the information was supplied.

                                    13 U.S.C. app. § 301(g) - prohibits the disclosure of Shippers’ Export

                                    Declarations, submitted by shippers to the Census Bureau, unless the

                                    Secretary of Commerce determines that nondisclosure would be

                                    contrary to the national interest.

                                    50 U.S.C. app. § 2411(c), Export Administration Act of 1979 § 12(c) -

                                    protects information obtained for the purpose of consideration of, or

                                    concerning, exporting license applications, unless the Secretary of

                                    Commerce determines that release of such information is in the national

                                    interest. This includes not only the applications themselves and the

                                    information contained therein, but also any information relating to an

application, to include information on enforcement or export administration laws and regulations.

                                    16 U.S.C. § 1881(a), Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and

                                    Management Act - pertains to statistical information contained in fishery

                                    management plans which has been submitted by fisheries under section

                                    1853(a)(5). Information which may not be disclosed includes, but in not

                                    limited to, the type and quantity of fishing gear used, catch by species in

                                    numbers of fish or weight thereof, areas in which fishing took place,

                                    number of hauls, and the estimated and actual processing capacities of

U.S. fish processors. The Secretary of Commerce may, however, promulgate regulations that provide for the release of such information in aggregate or summary form which does not disclose the identity or

                                    business of any person that submits statistics. 

                                    35 U.S.C. § 122 - provides that applications for patents shall be kept in

                                    confidence by the Patent and Trademark Office unless disclosure is

                                    necessary to carry out the provisions of any Act of Congress, or in special

                                    circumstances, to be determined by the Commissioner for Patents and

                                    Trademarks. This also includes materials in patent interference files.


                                    41 U.S.C. §§ 253 - protects proprietary or source selection

                                    information in the possession of the Government during the conduct of

                                    any Federal procurement of property or services.

                                    15 U.S.C. § 278n(d)(5) - provides that the FOIA does not apply to

information submitted on a confidential basis, by joint ventures and members
of joint ventures that receive funding under the Department’s

                                    Advanced Technology Program. The Department must withhold

information concerning the business operation or trade secrets possessed by
any business or member of a joint venture that is receiving funding

                                    under the program.


                        2. Statement of whether a court has upheld the use of each statute. If so, then

                             cite example.

                                    13 U.S.C. § 9 - Baldrige v Shapiro, 455 U.S. 355 (1982)

                                    13 U.S.C. § 301(g) - Young Conservative Found v Department of

                                    Commerce, No. 85-3982 (D.D.C. March 25, 1987)

                                    50 U.S.C. § 2411(c) - Export Information Twin Coast Newspapers, Inc.

                                    v Department of Commerce, NO. 78-0978 (D.D.C. November 6, 1979)

                                    16 U.S.C. § 1855(b) - case unknown

                                    35 U.S.C. § 122 - Irons & Sears v Dann, 606 F.2d 1215 (1979): Leeds v

                                    Quigg, 720 F. Supp. 193 (D.D.C. 1989)

                                    41 U.S.C. §§ 253B - National Defense Authorization Act for FY 1997-

                                    case unknown

                                    15 U.S.C. § 278n(d)(5) - Magnuson-Stevenson Act - case unknown

V.        Initial FOIA/PA Access Requests

            A. Numbers of initial requests

                  1. Number of requests pending as of end of preceding fiscal year. 219

                  2. Number of requests received during current fiscal year. 2142


                  3. Number of requests processed during current fiscal year. 2063

                  4. Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal year. 298

            B. Disposition of initial requests.

                  1. Number of total grants 855

                  2. Number of partial grants. 380

                  3. Number of denials. 165

                                    a. Number of times each FOIA exemption used (counting each

                                         exemption once per request)

                                                (1) Exemption 1 4

                                                (2) Exemption 2 27

                                                (3) Exemption 3 114

                                                (4) Exemption 4 129

                                                (5) Exemption 5 161

                                                (6) Exemption 6 144

                                                (7) Exemption 7(A) 12

                                                (8) Exemption 7(B) 0

                                                (9) Exemption 7(C) 47

                                                (10)Exemption 7(D) 2

                                                (11)Exemption 7(E) 10

                                                (12)Exemption 7(F) 0


                  4. Other reasons for nondisclosure (total) 663

                        a. no records 311

                        b. referrals 45

                        c. request withdrawn 70

                        d. fee-related reason 77

                        e. records not reasonably described 31

                        f. not a proper FOIA request for some other reason 16

                        g. not an agency record 1

                        h. duplicate request 12

                        i. other (publicly available information) 100

VI. Appeals of Initial Denials of FOIA/PA Requests

            A. Number of appeals.

                  1. Number of appeals received during fiscal year 73

                  2. Number of appeals processed during fiscal year 78

            B. Disposition of appeals.

                 1. Number completely upheld 25

                  2. Number partially reversed 12

                  3. Number completely reversed 7


a. number of times each FOIA exemption used (counting each exemption once per appeal)


                                    (1) Exemption 1 1


                                    (2) Exemption 2 1

                                    (3) Exemption 3 5


                                   (4) Exemption 4 19

                                    (5) Exemption 5 33

                                    (6) Exemption 6 9


                                    (7) Exemption 7(A) 2

                                    (8) Exemption 7(B) 0

                                    (9) Exemption 7(C) 1

                                    (10)Exemption 7(D) 0

                                    (11)Exemption 7(E) 1

                                    (12)Exemption 7(F) 0

                                    (13)Exemption 8 0

                                    (14)Exemption 9 0

                  4. Other reasons for nondisclosure (total) 34

                                    a. no records 8

                                   b. referrals 1

                                    c. request withdrawn 6


                                   d. fee-related reason 5

                                    e. records not reasonably described 0

                                    f. not a proper FOIA request for some other reason 1

                                    g. not an agency record 0


                                    h. duplicate request 1

                                    i. other (specify)


                                                untimely 8

                                                adequacy of search 1

                                                no response 1

                                                publicly available 2

                                                went to litigation 0

VII. Compliance with Time Limits/Status of Pending Requests

            A. Median processing time for requests processed during the year.

                  1. Simple requests (if multiple tracks used).

                        a. number of requests processed 1126

                        b. median number of days to process 12

                  2. Complex requests (specify for any and all tracks used).

                        a. number of requests processed 937

                        b. median number of days to process 45

                  3. Requests accorded expedited processing.

                       a. number of requests processed 0

                        b. median number of days to process 0


            B. Status of pending requests.

                  1. Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal year 298

                   2. Median number of days that such requests were pending as of that date 55  

VIII. Comparisons with Previous Year(s) (Optional) - FY 2001

            A. Comparison of numbers of requests received 2183

            B. Comparison of numbers of requests processed 2232

            C. Comparison of median numbers of days requests were pending as of end

                  of Fiscal Year 30

            D. Other statistics significant to agency


                        1. Requests received for expedited processing 2

                        2. Requests for expedited processing granted 0

            E. Other narrative statements describing agency efforts to improve timeliness of

                  FOIA performance and to make records available to the public (e.g., backlog-

                  reduction efforts; specification of average number of hours per processed

                  request; training activities; public availability of new categories of records).


                        1.         Send interim responses to requesters on a rolling basis as we

                                    process documents.


                        2.         Provide FOIA and records training for all employees.


                        3.         Continue to monitor and update websites to include more

                                    publicly available information.


                        4.         Enhanced FOIA processing with electronic solutions.



IX. Costs/FOIA Staffing  

            A. Staffing levels.

                  1. Number of full-time FOIA personnel 16

                  2. Number of personnel with part-time or occasional FOIA duties (in total

                       work-years) 11.5

                  3. Total number of personnel 21

            B. Total costs (including staff and all resources).

                  1. FOIA processing (including appeals) 1,380,585.90

                  2. Litigation-related activities (estimated) 525,807.91

                  3. Total Costs 1,906,393.80


                  4. Comparison with previous year(s) (including percentage of change)

                       (optional) Optional data is not provided.  


X.        Fees                        

            A. Total amount of fees collected by agency for processing requests 48,867.20

            B. Percentage of total costs 2.56%

XI. FOIA Regulations (Including Fee Schedule)

                        15 C.F.R. part 4


Office of Privacy and Open Government
Office of the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce

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Page last updated:October 3, 2012