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FIA-12-0001 - In the Matter of Kevin Leary

On January 27, 2012, OHA issued a decision denying a FOIA appeal filed by Kevin Leary of a final determination issued by the DOE Richland Operations Office (RO).  Mr. Leary requested copies of e-mails, the associated metadata, and instant messages for Margot Voogd, Larry Romine and Bryan Foley, from August 1, 2005, through January 31, 2009.  RO informed Mr. Leary that no documents existed.  Mr. Leary then specified that his request include any e-mails sent or received by the above-named individuals during the stated timeframe that were deleted and stored on DOE’s server or back-up tapes.  RO conducted a search of its records but did not locate responsive documents.  In his appeal, Mr. Leary questioned the validity of RO’s response, and requested an additional search for the information that he requested.  RO informed us that a search was conducted using the names that Mr. Leary provided and no deleted e-mails or instant messages were found.  According to RO’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), the subject matter expert, no e-mails relating to the named individuals were maintained for litigation or other purposes.  The CIO confirmed that unless saved, the e-mails are no longer retrievable from the e-mail server after 14 days from the date that they were created.  OHA therefore found that RO had performed an adequate search, reasonably calculated to locate records responsive to Mr. Leary’s request.