Rojas v. FAA 5 Prompts Agency to Revise Policy Documents

In a sworn declaration by Michele L. Root, Director of the Office of Investigations, the FAA alleges that its previous policy documents were the reason why not all FOIA exemptions were applied to the records at issue in Rojas v. FAA 5. This is what FAA alleges is what caused the ‘human error’ earlier in the litigation. As a result of this case, the FAA alleges it is revising its policy to prevent this ‘error’ from occurring again.

The judge did not accept this argument, and ordered that records be released nevertheless.

5. It was AEO500s policy and practice that, in response to any FOIA request wherresponsive records exist , AEO-500 wou ld perform a search, collect responsive records , and review those records for all applicable exemptions. According to all records and notes availablethis search was conducted by Elaine Stone Arthur , AEO 500 Manager, in accordance with thASH Policy Guidance estab lished and in practice in 2015.

6. I have no information in the files to indica te if any additional record s, that were considered nonresponsive to FOIA 2015-009570 , were fully reviewed for other FOIA exemptions , other than those cited in the initial release dated November 13, 2015. Other such FOIA exemptions might have included exemption (2), which protects records related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency and exemption (5), which protects the integrity of the deliberative or policymaking processes within the agency by exempting mandatory disclosur e of opinion , conclusion, and recommendations included within inter-agency or intra-agency memoranda or letters.

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8. Currently AXI, as the new Office of Investigations for ASH, has re-examined its process and practices to ensure that our policy and guidance is in compliance with all applicable FOIA and PA rules, standard use practices , and new statutes. Our current Policy Guidance has been rewritten and is currently in draft and will be sent to FAA s Office of Chief Counsel (AGC) .

33-2 Decl M Root