Freedom Of Information Isn't Free: NIST Requires $19,112.29 In Order To Provide WTC Investigation Photos & Footage

The following is a July 18, 2008 Freedom of Information Act reply from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, within which it is explained why NIST requires a pre-payment of $19,112.29 for search and reproduction costs for materials obtained for its World Trade Center building collapse studies.

Dear Mr. Monaghan,

This letter is in response to your December 17, 2007 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) requesting "the 6,899 photographs and over 300 hours of video recording reportedly in the possession of NIST, of the World Trade Center site following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001." Your request was assigned FOIA Log #08-18.

For the purpose of the FOIA, it was previously determined that you are in the "all other requesters" category, for which chargeable services include search and duplication of responsive documents excluding the cost of the first 2 hours of search and the first 100 pages of duplication. We initially estimate the cost to process your FOIA Request to be $19,112.29. Upon receipt of a check or money order payable to the "United States Treasury" in the amount of $19,112.29, we will begin the search and duplication of responsive documents. Since this is just an estimate, if the actual cost for search and duplication of responsive documents is less than the estimate, the overage will be refunded promptly. Likewise, if the actual cost for search and duplication of responsive documents is more than the estimate, you will be required to pay the difference. Please be advised that these charges are assessed whether or not responsive documents are located and whether or not any of these documents are exempt from disclosure under FOIA.

Please forward your check or money order to me at the following address:

NIST Freedom of Information Act Officer
Mail Stop 1710
100 Bureau Drive
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-1710

If we do not receive a check or money order from you within thirty calendar days of the date on this letter, we will assume that you are no longer interested in receiving the documents requested and your FOIA request will be closed.

NIST reference to the requested records:

6,977 segments of video footage, totaling in excess of 300 hours. The media videos included
both broadcast material and outtakes. Additionally, NIST received videotapes recorded by
more than 20 individuals.

6,899 photographs from at least 200 photographers. As with the videos, many of the
photographs were unpublished.

Call their bluff

Whilst many would consider those charges excessive, divided amongst the number of 911 truth movement supporters it is a paltry sum. I would be happy to contribute $5 towards a fund to call their bluff. Are you in a position to set up such a fund perhaps using PayPal? If the request is closed by NIST after 30 days can it not be re opened ?



Great Post Aidan. NIST is Ridiculous.

My suggestions:

Have them show you the formula for determining the cost. Ask for documentation showing how long that formula has been the standard. Ask for a list of other request for information that you can compare this one to. Do they all require payment within 30 days? I know NIST is under the Department of Commerce, but should they be attempting to make a profit from FOIA compliance?

At these prices, you should be able to get all the documents, photos and videos within a week.

You can call their bluff and do this too. They are not mutually exclusive. Do both.

Thanks Aidan for your important work.

The Truth Will Be Known.

Good suggestions

Here's another idea: Ask for just one photo of the wreckage of Flight #93 after it was supposedly pulled out of that hole in the ground it supposedly disappeared into.

JFK on secrecy and the press

NIST Said At Least 50% Of Work Won't Be Released

The NIST FOIA officer who signed the FOIA called me before sending the notice and advised that after contacting approximately 50% of the rights holders of the work in question, they were told that they want their work returned and not released. So there is a strong possibility the public may never see most or all of the images in question.


It is generous of you to offer a donation, however I do not plan to pursue the FOIA further. With potentially all of the work becoming unavailable, it seems odd that NIST would still ask for the search costs.

I believe key evidence of mass murder & high treason trumps the

"rights holders" rights to keep the images private for themselves!

Consider mass emailing truth messages. More info here:

So this is their dog and pony show?

Of course you know you could count on a donation from me, however, the fact that their "afterthought "phone call to you basically expressing that only 50% of the rights holders would be available for "review only", with no releases, is basically moot. They covered their @ss on any disclosures with this offer.


"if the actual cost for search and duplication of responsive documents is more than the estimate, you will be required to pay the difference"

So could you pay $19,112.29, then they start collecting documents, and then they decide they want $100,000 before releasing anything?


.....I can't say i blame you. Further thinking leads me to believe it's more bullshit. I am sure our government is hiding alot of proof that they were involved.
I would love to see ALL the pentagon video's. I still believe anyone with an IQ over thirty that looks at
what us truthers have would never believe the official bulls**t story.
Thank you Adain for all your efforts.

"All Other Requesters"

What exactly is this classification? Is there some way to request this through a University or gov. agency (maybe if the NYC referendum goes through) that would classify as "free" instead? Somebody wanna look into this?


"If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." (4th U.S. President, James Madison, Jr., 1751-1836)


........I will chip in $20...Wish i could give more. If there is a way to donate here at the blogger, i think this information if it's not censored, and nothing withheld may prove worth it in our quest for the truth.

$19,112.29. Ironic that 9/11


Ironic that 9/11 (9,11) is in there . . . in that figure. (The truth of 9/11 is in there somewhere!) : )

Just a coincidence, of course.

And, yes, I would gladly donate to a fundraising project for this if anone decides to take this on.

Summer of Truth

So Will I

"And, yes, I would gladly donate to a fundraising project for this if anone decides to take this on."

I am shocked to read this.

I also would offer donations if a 'fund' was used to obtain these archives.

But would it set a precedent that the 'truth' costs money? I dunno.'

The power that NIST has in this matter is obscene. The whole thing stinks to high hell.

"Upon receipt of a check or money order payable to the "United States Treasury" in the amount of $19,112.29, we will begin the search and duplication of responsive documents"

America is a shopping mall with psychopaths having a clearance sale.

My Lai/Zapruder Exception to Copyright Law


There is a possible exception to the copyright law principle that the owner of the copyright can prevent others from duplicating or reproducing the copyrighted work. As one court summarizes the principle:

Citing the exclusive photographs of the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War and the Zapruder home movie of the assassination of President John Kennedy as examples, Nimmer proposes that "where the 'idea' of a work contributes almost nothing to the democratic dialogue, and it is only its expression which is meaningful," copyright protection of the expression should be limited in the interest of public access to information necessary to effective public dialogue. Id. at 1 - 82-1 - 84. Nimmer explains:

No amount of words describing the "idea" of the massacre could substitute for the public insight gained through the photographs. The photographic expression, not merely the idea, became essential if the public was to fully understand what occurred in that tragic episode. It would be intolerable if the public's comprehension of the full meaning of My Lai could be censored by the copyright owner of the photographs. . . .

Similarly, in the welter of conflicting versions of what happened that tragic day in Dallas, the Zapruder film gave the public authoritative answers that it desperately sought; answers that no other source could supply with equal credibility. Again, it was only the expression, not the idea alone, that could adequately serve the needs of an enlightened democratic dialogue.

Id. at 1 - 83-1 - 84.

Nimmer recognizes, however, that denying copyright protection to news pictures might defeat the ultimate First Amendment goal of greater public access to information by inhibiting or destroying the business of news photography. Id. at 1 - 84.1-1 - 85. The treatise therefore suggests a news photograph in which idea and expression are inseparable should be subject to a compulsory licensing scheme unless within a month of its making, the photograph appears in the newspapers, magazines or television news programs servicing a given area. Id. at 1 - 85. n5

In case you don't know, Nimmer is the most authoritative book on copyright law.

Therefore, Aidan could write to NIST and cite the above My Lai/Zapruder exception, and demand that NIST release all of the videos, photos, etc.

If you need help, you could ask an IP attorney like James Gourley (I can write him if you'd like) to see if he would be willing to assist.

Therefore, Aidan could write

Therefore, Aidan could write to NIST and cite the above My Lai/Zapruder exception, and demand that NIST release all of the videos, photos, etc.

Great idea -- It's worth a try, after all this work.

Sounds like an appeal is in order

or the same FOIA could be submitted by an org or person that would qualify under exempt?

9/11 Family Steering Committee Review of the 9/11 Commission Report:

Complete 9/11 Timeline

Great work Aidan

These FOIA requests of yours are probably some of the most important work done to uncover and resolve heretofore hidden knowledge about what happened on 9/11.

Please keep it up.

As for this FOIA reply requiring $19k to respond, I believe it is absolutely worthwhile to discover a) how NIST respond and b) what they have considered in making their reports, even if ~50% of the material may not be released (it can still be viewed right?). This will lay bare the terrain for future requests and help clarify the state of knowledge.

I understand it will be a lot of work but if there ever was a good reason for 9/11 truth fund-raising, this is one!

There's an old-fashioned expression to describe this:

It's called "the runaround."

Of course all the most direct evidence of MIHOP that the perps and their henchmen knowingly had access to has already been either destroyed or hidden outside official government archives.

I would contribute

I would happily contribute as well.

Any difference refunded could be sent to the FEALGOOD Foundation.

$5.00 per person would be great. That would work out to about 3,823 separate donations of $5.00. Aiden, I recommend that you set this up. These photos would also encompass my building 7 south side photo request I presume. Is that not the case? Set up a pay pal and physical address for checks, as everyone does not have paypal. This could be done in a very short time.

Thanx FO

However, the primary problem is that NIST has advised me over the phone that they are in the process of contacting the rights holders of the works in question and that after contacting approaximately 50% of these parties, that virtually all do not want NIST releasing their works.

It seems the best second option is get the NYC ballot initiative on the ballot, get it passed and then supoena these records.

I like this idea

of supporting the FealGood Foundation with unused funds.

Anyhoo, if at some point you want a donation, I'm in.

You are doing great work

You are doing great work. Unfortunately, there is a lot of resistance to 9/11 information being released.
Arabesque: 911 Truth

FOIA "unprecedented fees"

Aidan, I don't know if this is of use:

"This is the first release of documents obtained by EPIC about the Total Information Awareness program following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Defense Department. EPIC v. Department of Defense, No. 02-1233 (D.C. Dist. Ct. 2002).

The Department of Defense attempted to block the public release of these documents by imposing unprecedented fees on EPIC, a public interest research organization. EPIC challenged the fee determination, and a federal district court ruled for EPIC and against the Department of Defense. The court held that EPIC is entitled to "preferred fee status" under the FOIA and ordered the Pentagon to "expeditiously" process EPIC's almost year-old request for information concerning Admiral John Poindexter and the Information Awareness Office."
A 9/11/2008 Resolution: Start Your Own 9/11 Blog

FOIA advice

I've occasionally gotten a letter from a government agency telling me they would want money for searching for something, but I have always haggled and have not yet had to pay anything for searches (although you have to pay duplication costs). I have a few comments:

(1) Write back and ask them how they got that number, suggesting it is excessive. They presumably thought of a number (say 20 bucks) and then multiplied it by the number of items (over 7000). Probably, they know where all the damn photos are and they are next to each other, so it is not actually going to take fifteen minutes to find each photo. The resulting amount should be a lot less because the photos will be in a big pile.

(2) You can authorise them to incur costs up to a certain amount. You can say give me the two free hours, then I'll pay 200 bucks max, then stop, I'm not paying more than 200 bucks for searches (you would have to pay duplication on top of that, but it shouldn't be that much).

(3) Claim that you're not an other requester, but the news media - this is a bit iffy if you only have a blog, but it is at least worth making the argument. The news media category does cover some stuff on the internet, not just traditional papers and TV stations. If you have ever disseminated stuff you got from FOIA, then you should make that very clear. If you could get a bigger media outlet to say it would publish anything you got, then that would probably do it. You can even claim a fee waiver and, if they don't give it to you, conditionally agree to pay costs up to a certain amount. This means they have to start searching before the fee waiver issue is resolved.

(4) You could also withdraw part of the request, for either the videos or the photos.

Generally, institutions are swamped with FOIA stuff and often send slightly nasty letters out at the start to put people off. If you give them a robust response, they might just change their tune.



1) Sue the government immediately that the NIST fees are "unreasonable" and "excessive" and that they present an unfair burden on you financially. Look for a pro bono lawyer.

2) Approach a PUBLISHER to front you the money and get a book out of it. Publish in book form all the material, and you will be in a good position to spread this word.

3) Appeal, as others have written.

I like option 2. Check out all the publishers who have done previous 9/11 books. What about partnering with David Ray Griffin (or others) to get this info?

The Loose Change guys made some money, no?

Alex Jones has a lot of ad revenue floating around.

This should not be dropped so lightly.

70 Disturbing Facts About 9/11

John Doraemi publishes Crimes of the State Blog

johndoraemi --at--

As Cindy says, Horseshit!

This is horseshit!

" and duplication of responsive documents...$19,112.29"

What the fuck else have they been doing for seven fucking years but searching and duplicating documents and imagery?

They obviously want to run out some kind of clock. A liberty doomsday clock? After which all questioners are turned over to the Department of Extermination?

Flush the Nauseating Institute of Shits and Turds!

"But truthfully, I don't really know. We've had trouble getting a handle on Building No. 7."
~Dr. Shyam Sunder - Acting Dir. Bldg. & Fire Research Lab. (NIST)
"We are [still] unable to provide a full explanation of the total collapse." (NIST)

Photographer names

OK then, let's create a list of the known photograhers at the site and contact them.