FOIA Request for 9/11 Flight Envelopes

All other news and developments related to 9/11

FOIA Request for 9/11 Flight Envelopes

Postby hoi.polloi on January 11th, 2010, 9:42 pm

Last Update: May 21, 2016


*
The 9/11 FOIA Saga


A long time ago, it was suggested by 9/11 researcher Elias Davidsson to write letters and uncover the official stances of culprits and/or officials. (http://aldeilis.net/english/category/11 ... ts-of-911/)

It may have even been an "Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth" character like Richard Gage who suggested that someone (not sure why it wasn't them) should file an FOIA for the flight manifests of the alleged hijacked planes.


What is a flight manifest?

Official flight manifests are twin copies of the final documents regarding weight of total passengers, crew, fuel on board and so on, signed by the airline captain and put in two places: the airplane itself and the airport from which the plane departed. It would have a final irrefutably "official" passenger list for all the alleged 9/11 flights. If such a document existed, it would override the stupid and inadequate citation in the 9/11 Commission Report even citing correspondence between commissioners as a source of what they guess might be a passenger list — how foolish and pathetic! (See lower post: viewtopic.php?p=2216787#p2216787 for some official citation.) Which terrorist agency is supposed to have ran away with the flight envelopes containing the manifests?


A call to the FAA

When I was first introduced to the world of the researchers by Simon Shack, who had already done some scouting ahead, as it were, we would occasionally chat about various odd behaviors of officials and what we could do to get a straight answer. So after a few years of casual research and gaining confidence, and with September Clues fairly fresh in my mind, I got to thinking that this would actually be a pretty good idea. (Update: I called the FAA about the flight envelopes as early as 2008 or 2009.) Anyway, the response of the official I spoke with was something like this: No airplane should ever be allowed to take off without doing that paperwork. If any did, the airline would be dissolved by the government immediately and not allowed to fly passengers. I commented that it must be strange that the 9/11 flights never had any flight manifests reported and the official agreed with me; that would be very strange indeed. Then he paused and, as if unable to comprehend such a scenario, insisted: there must be flight manifests. Somewhere. The FAA would have to have them and if not them, some other agency. The fact that the manifests didn't or wouldn't exist was, in short, inconceivable.

I managed to contact another FAA official shortly, and it was determined that all 9/11 data was given to NARA. I confirmed with the airport and the FAA: all 9/11 data.

All. 9/11 data. Was now in the hands of NARA — the National Archives.


FOIA to NARA

Thus began my quest for the 9/11 Flight Manifests, which I hoped would be divulged to the public with my FOIA request. But when I filed the FOIA, NARA replied that — although they were indeed in possession of all 9/11 data — nothing resembling a flight manifest or flight envelope was in their archive.

Borrowing the incredulity of the FAA officials that had convinced me they must exist, I acquired from them a list of all the 9/11 files in their archive (including only short names and descriptions) so that I could hand pick files that may lead me to the ultimate fate of those manifests. They did not want to tell me more information, since they believed that I should know what I'm looking for. A security procedure or obfuscation measure maybe — after all, I can quite rightly be called ignorant for not giving them any further specification about what absolutely should be there. Yet, when I asked for "envelope", "manifest" and "passenger list" files, they said nothing in the archive at all matched those terms.

So, with confidence and a pen, I picked data logs, NORAD/FAA recordings, written documents and anything labeled flight 11, 77, 93, 175, etc. — but without a good way to ask them the actual contents, I defaulted to the principle that more would be better than less at this point. After a long time (the dragging correspondence I had with them is documented in this thread) the files finally were prepared. I had apparently, according to NARA, selected a mishmash of useless, unrelated, and seemingly minimal data describing the bare minimum of alleged "research" done by "officials" in response to the 9/11 drill-that-was-never-an-actually-proven-terrorist-attack. Yet, what choice had they given me? The manifests don't exist, and what they have prepared all barely resembles anything that would be part of an official investigation into the massive conspiracy the government says exists.

And so, ultimately, this bizarre collection has a largely artificial air to it, as if presented by agents dabbling in stretching the truth with forged seals and so on, but not with the experience/intoxication levels of the low level calviphiles that hammered out the official CNN vicsim propaganda. I invite you to take a look at what they claim is a generous sample from "all 9/11 data" supposedly in possession by NARA.

http://www.septclues.com/NARA-FOIA/NW_35023/
(Warning: some sound files are extremely long and dull large and may take some time to tolerate or believe download.)

---

The following is a record of my attempts to acquire flight data about the supposed flights which were allegedly hijacked on 9/11.

---

It started with a conversation about the existence of the "envelope" for all flights which leave American airports -- and the sudden realization that apparently nobody else has filed FOIA requests to receive this data ... and thus all the data that would have to list all terrorists and passengers in a final list that could not change. Since one copy goes with the pilot and one stays on the ground, there should have been absolutely no confusion about the passengers as there apparently are.

This is how I filled in their form:


09/29/2009 01:32

To:
_________@FAA

Subject:
Request under the Freedom of
Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552

Fee category:



I request that a copy of the following documents (or documents containing
the following information) be provided to me:

I am requesting something known as ''THE ENVELOPE'' for the four alleged
hijacked flights on 9/11. I am specifically looking for a document in this
envelope, signed by the aircraft Captain on each flight, which contains the
final passenger manifest,the destination, the amount of fuel on board, the
names of the pilot and flight attendants, etc., and the time the door of
the aircraft was closed.

This document is supposed to be in this envelope when it is handed to the
chief Flight Attendant, who hands it to a terminal employee. The chief
flight attendant then closes the door and this document remains on the
ground in airline custody. It is required by the FAA, and is what is opened
in case of a crash. Every person on board, including late arrivals or
supposed hijackers would be accounted for.

I would like this document for the four apparent flights of AA11, AA77
(both American Airlines), and UA175 and UA93 (both United Airlines).

In order to determine my status to assess fees, you should know that my fee
category is: an individual seeking records for personal use and not for
profit.

The maximum dollar amount I am willing to pay for this request is $50.
Please notify me if the fees will exceed $25.00 or the maximum dollar
amount I entered.

I request a waiver of all fees for this request. Specific explanation for
waiver of fees:

1. This document may reveal complicity of traitorous factions within our
government who allowed the crime of 9/11 to take place and protected its
operants.
2. This document may reveal names of individuals complicit who have
positions in our government and who want to undermine the present
administration.
3. This document will help the American people understand who was
responsible for the 9/11 terror event.
4. The American people may be able, with cooperation of loyal American
government persons, to oust the traitors and try them for war crimes
against Americans.
5. I have no explanation of how this information could be commercially
exploited. As an important element of the public record, it may appear in
books or newspapers or magazines. However, the nature of the information
may be so controversial that no commercial interest will print it.
Therefore, it is nigh guaranteed that commercial interests are at the
lowest level possible.
6. I have no further explanation as to how this information could be
commercially exploited. I have no commercial interest in this information
whatsoever, and I think the American people will benefit in social and
political understanding strictly.

I request expedited processing of the request and provide a justification
below. I believe a compelling need exists to warrant expedited processing
because there is an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an
individual.

Please see above explanations and the reason for expedition should be
urgently clear.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,
________




This was the FAA's first response:


Mr. ______:

All Federal Aviation Administration records related to September 11, 2001
have been sent the National Archives and Records Administration, which now
has legal custody of the files.

You may wish to contact NARA at:

Ms. Martha Wagner Murphy
Special Access and FOIA Staff (NWCTF)
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001

Please let us know if you will withdraw your request to the FAA.

Thank you
Joann
FOIA Program Office
202-267-7950






Just in case I misread, I sent this response:


I will submit the request to the FAA in case anything comes out of it.
It seems organizations in our government are sometimes unwilling to
talk to one another about this issue.

I will also send a new request to NARA and forward this e-mail to them.

Thank you so much for your help!
Sincerely,
________





which was responded to:


The FAA does not have any records -- all records were sent to NARA, who now has legal custody of the records.




But just to be completely Kafka-esque, I ventured:



I understand. Is there any further this request can go in the FAA, please?

Thank you so much!




And finally received this seemingly definitive response:


Mr. ______:

Sorry, but there is no other office involved in the 9/11 issue. One office
collected all records on the 9/11 hijackings. On September 14, these FAA
records were officially transferred to NARA. All requests for 9/11 records
are to be sent to NARA at the address provided to you in an earlier email.

Thank you
FAA FOIA office




So, I thanked them for their time and continued my pursuit at NARA.


Then, a separate request specifically to NARA:



Date: Tue, 06 Oct 2009 12:58:56
Subject: FOIA Request
To: foia@nara.gov

National Archives,

I have been referenced your office by the FAA, and I have forwarded ahead of this e-mail the response I received from them in regards to this request. In that response, I was told that all information pertaining to 9/11 was transfered to your offices. Presumably, the information I have submitted a request for is regarded by the FAA as pertaining to 9/11. So I am now submitting the request to you. I am asking that a copy of the following documents (or documents containing the following information) be provided to me:





Some weeks passed, and I received a physical envelope with the message that my request has been processed and I could seek updates at an e-mail address at NARA.

My requests to that address have thus far yielded no response whatsoever.
Last edited by hoi.polloi on May 22nd, 2016, 5:17 am, edited 10 times in total.
Reason: adding links on first post
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Postby hoi.polloi on September 11th, 2010, 7:48 pm

UPDATE

Labeled August 30, 2010 [grayed out personal info]

[st]Image

Image

Image

Image[/st]

[UPDATE: Must locate these documents again ... sorry for inconvenience! -HP]

My planned response follows: (suggestions/additions/subtractions please?)


David G. Paynter,

I have just received your letter dated August 30, 2010. Thank you for writing about this most crucial case.

If I understand your letter correctly, I am worried about being forced into a choice between only 2 options:

1. Request that you stay on as my remote researcher with the amount of information you have identified as relevant to my search for "the envelope" described; or,

2. Appeal to the Deputy Archivist to address my request (by October of this year) and hope they can find anything related to my requests, which include:

- the final passenger manifests of each flight (AKA any final list of passengers)
- the destinations of each flight
- the amount of fuel on board each flight
- the names of the pilot and flight attendants for each flight
- the time the doors of each aircraft were locked for takeoff
- the copy of this information which remains on the ground in a file about that aircraft

If this information is not immediately apparent, I would like to request that I receive all digital information from JFK airport or the FAA about those flights.

I cannot and will not play a remote 'official terminology' guessing game with your office. Especially if I have to wait a year for every response. The request is extremely straight forward. If 'the envelope' is not a real term for anything, please send me what I have requested that is allegedly in the envelope (i.e.; final passenger list, final passenger manifest, time of door closing, names of pilots and flight attendants, etc.) If 'the envelope' containing this information is a term that roughly describes the information I'm seeking, I would like the information in the envelope. Am I to conclude that such a document does not actually exist for ANY of the 4 famous airlines said to be hijacked on September 11, 2001? If it does not exist, please understand 'The Envelope' itself is not the main body of my request. I am requesting information about the four flights.

In addition, I would like to deepen my request to include what the official passenger list is for each flight, all the times logged for the aircraft arriving at the airport, disembarking its previous passengers, loading up the passengers that were destined for LAX and SFO, closing the doors and taking off. Any list in which every person on board is listed, including late arrivals or hijackers, would be accounted for is a list I would like to see. I would like to know those airplanes' regular routes. If this type of information is outside the scope of my FOIA request (ADRRES #33067) then I will fill out another FOIA request for that information at a later date, but I would not like to give up pursuit of the current subject.

Since I have been left waiting for almost a year for some kind of response, and I am anxious to hear more, I am going to request that you please send me the document you described so that we can proceed with the research, but I will also submit my request to the Deputy Archivest to do another search for what I termed "the Envelope" as I have been assured that this document should exist for all real airplanes taking off from JFK in 2001.

Thank you,
Mr. ___________



Am I forgetting anything? Being too harsh? Need more research? Help out ... gotta get an appeal in the mail by end of September.
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Postby hoi.polloi on September 13th, 2010, 7:25 pm

I guess I will take the lack of response as a trust in my decisions/writing skills? B)
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Postby hoi.polloi on September 13th, 2010, 9:31 pm

Okay, I have significantly lightened the tone. Here is my request:


NARA c/o Mr. David G. Paynter,

I have just received your letter dated August 30, 2010. Thank you for writing about this crucial issue. I am pleased that you have offered to pursue the case further and for offering to send me the file referenced (a copy of the directory). Please send me that document. I am sorry that you failed to find what I am seeking. I was expecting the persons assigned to address my case would be knowledgeable about FAA and DOT matters and would be able to find documentation of the load manifest outside of any particular FAA hard drive, or a flight log that would certainly have been permanently stored in the NARA records by well within the end of 2001 for security and historical purposes.

It has been almost a year since my request was filed and, in that time, no final passenger list has been acquired for any of the four flights. In fact, none has been released since September 11, 2001 or ever. The new information you have given me is that no relevant information to my FOIA request regarding passengers on September 11, 2001 can be located within FAA or NARA documentation. After 9 years, no final list of passenger deaths can be agreed upon by our countrymen and countrywomen. This is a patriotic conundrum. How is it that we still don't know who did or did not die on 9/11? Hopefully you appreciate the importance of my FOIA request.

Although you mention searching for some of the terms I requested, you did not mention searching for any passenger lists or flight loads. You also are asking me to provide you with official terminology for the term "the envelope" or a load manifest form. I cannot provide serial numbers; I do not know them. I assure you that a load is always documented and retained for several months after every flight. Today, a load manifest or preflight load report must be retained 12 full months after the flight. If NARA failed to collect and store this document during the time of its allowed existence, we might presume it officially never existed or is of no interest to the government's investigation of 9/11, which is a deeply disturbing concept.

I urge you to help me find all related flight documentation attached to my request. The load manifests must remain on the ground, at the airport. Perhaps your search would be easier if you went to http://www.faa.gov and examined section 665 of the FAA's required FARS documents, specifically on "Load manifests".

In your letter, it seems I was given the following choices:

1. You stay on as my remote researcher with the amount of information you have identified as relevant to my request
2. I appeal to the Deputy Archivist to address my request (by October of this year)

Since you have outlined these for me, I would like to make both choices. Please pursue this public document. Please send me the file you have offered so we can proceed. While you are working on that, I can appeal to the Deputy Archivist to do their own search for 'the envelope' as you have offered. Then we will have more than one NARA employee on this important matter.

If you cannot find a final domestic passenger manifest or load manifest in the FAA, DOT or NARA's collection, or you lose the trail, please reference another office that my FOIA request can be sent to.

Thank you very much.
Cordially,
Mr. _____________
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Postby hoi.polloi on September 19th, 2010, 5:55 pm

While that goes out there, undoubtedly to be ignored at NARA for another year, I thought I would take a look at the documentation Mr. Paynter recommended I examine - namely, the 9/11 Commission Report's summary of findings for the four "hijacked flights", which they refer to as a Staff Monograph(?!?)

The list of the flight passengers is summarized in the September 12, 2005 version in the following way:

AA11

The aircraft had a capacity of 158 passengers: 9 seats in first class, 30 in business class, and 119 in coach.[35] On September 11, the flight carried 81 passengers (including the 5 terrorists) with 2 pilots and 9 flight attendants, for a total of 92 people on baord.

All 9 of the first-class seats were occupied, 2 of them by hijackers Waleed al Shehri and Wail al Shehri. Nineteen of the 30 seats in business class were occupied (49 percent), 3 by hijackers Atta, Omari, and Suqami.[36] Fifty-three of the 119 coach seats were occupied (44 percent), none of them by hijackers.




UA175

The aircraft had a capacity of 168 passengers: 10 in first class, 33 in business class, and 125 in coach. The flight carried 56 passengers (including 5 hijackers) with 2 pilots and 7 flight attendants, for a total of 65 people on board.

Nine of the 10 first-class seats were occupied, including 2 by hijackers Banihammad and Mohand al Shehri. Eleven of the 33 business-class seats were occupied, 3 by hijackers Shehhi, Hamza al Ghamdi, and Ahmed al Ghamdi; and 36 of the 125 coach seats were occupied, none by hijackers.[137]




AA77

The aircraft had a capacity of 176 passengers, 22 in first class and 154 in coach. On September 11, 2001, the flight carried 58 passengers (including 5 hijackers) with 2 pilots and 4 flight attendants for a total of 64 people on baord. Fifteen of the 22 first-class seats were occupied, 3 by hijackers. Forty-three of the 154 economy seats aboard were occupied, 2 by hijackers.[233]




UA93

On September 11, 2001, the flight carried 37 passengers (including 4 hijackers) with two pilot [could they mean 'pilots'? - hp] and 5 flight attendants for a total of 44 people on board.

Ten passengers were seated in first class, including all four of the hijackers; the other 27 were in coach. There was no business class on Flight 93.[303]




The following - as bizarre as these "references" are - are all that are given for the various ways these compilations were written up with "citation" but without any apparent use of a load manifest document:

References
36 [ONLY reference given for passenger seating for AA11]

AAL Record "Passenger Name List Flight 11/September 11", undated.


137 [ONLY reference given for passenger seating for UA175]

FAA report, "Executive Summary Chronology of a Multiple Hijacking Crisis, September 11, 2001," September 17, 2001; UAL report, Flight 175, Flight Data Recap; UAL response to Commission questions for the record, May 13, 2004.


233 [ONLY reference given for passenger seating for AA77]

Wednesdays were the next lowest at 40.3 percent. AAL report,"Average Load Factor by Day-of-Week," undated (for Flights 11 and 77 from June 11, 2001 to Sept. 9. 2001); and AAL report, email response from Christopher R. Christensen to Commission questions for the record, January 20, 2004.


303 [ONLY reference given for passenger seating for UA93]

UAL response to Commission questions for the record, April 5, 2004.



In other words, no AAL Record or document named "Passenger Name List Flight 175/September 11" or any flight besides AA11 seems to have been written up for them to reference. The reference given for AA77 appears to be a "gaff" in which the reference for the load percentage paragraph that follows the passenger seating breakdown is conveniently confused as a reference for the latter! Slick. Reminds me of the CNN pages that would skip vicsims when you clicked "next". As for flight 93, its reference given for the passenger seating is the same citation given for the previous two citations. That's some boring interview! (I imagine it went something like this, "So United Airlines ... uh ... how many passengers would you say are normally on this flight compared to how many were on during the terrorist hijackings of September 11, 2001 now known as Patriot Day? More passengers usually? Or perhaps it was fewer passengers? Take your time in answering ... I see. Well that was our main concern. Would you say this is slightly more or a lot more? Hm. Hm. Great. Well I guess we have one more question ... you know ... to satisfy those liberal weirdos out there. Could you tell us how many terrorists had purchased first class tickets? One? Two? Okay. Great. Well, I guess we're done with this interview ... what? Load manifests? Do we want to see them? I don't know what you're talking about. Get out of my office!")


This pathetic document must be seen to be believed! This crass excuse for a fake 'declassified' pile of poorly strung-together lies is astoundingly insulting to our intelligence as information consumers. http://archives.gov/legislative/research/9-11/
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Postby fred on September 19th, 2010, 6:24 pm

Hoi, I don't have experience with FOIA data requests, but here is how I would approach it.

He says he has a computer hard drive that he received from the FAA with their information on the September 11 hijackings. You want that drive!

I would use the exact same language he used to request a copy of that hard drive. For 50 you could buy a nice big usb-powered hard drive and have him put a copy of the entire disk on your hard drive. A 10 4GB USB flash drive would probably do the job as well.

Your letter should take the form of:

Dear David Paynter, thank you for your letter of Aug 29, 2010 in reference to ADRRES #33067. The hard disk you described in your letter is exactly what I was looking for, I am so glad you found it. These days the "envelope" is stored electronically on a computer hard drive, and what the FAA provided you is precisely what we need for our research.

I will gladly pay to have the contents of that drive copied to the hard disk I have enclosed with my return-postage-paid USPS shipping envelope. The enclosed drive works on PC, Mac, and Unix computers and I will gladly assist your office in any way to make a copy of the hard disk the FAA provided to you. The retail store Best Buy charges 10 to copy an entire hard disk, and the procedure takes less than 10 minutes, but it is something that you can easily do in your office and I will gladly pay for any costs you incur up to 100 to copy the contents of the computer disk drive you received from the FAA with information on the September 11 hijackings. The drive you have in your possession is vitally important to our research, is unique, and cannot be substituted by the 9-11 commission report you referenced in your letter. I would appreciate it if you could make a copy of it today and send it back to me in the enclosed envelope.

Thank you, I will call you on ____ to follow up on this request.

Sincerely,

___

---

Asking for the drive throws the ball squarely in his court and sets you up so that you can follow up with your Congressman and Senator if they don't give it to you. He's admitted he has something you need for your research (which conveniently fits in a USPS priority mail flat rate box), so get whatever it is that he has and don't make him have to do any work searching.

Don't let him make you guess serial numbers, jargon, or code names; get the entire hard disk so that you can search it yourself. I don't know a lot about FOIA, but I do know that sometimes people get boxes of documents.

Get the whole thing before they tell you it's been lost or accidentally destroyed.
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Postby hoi.polloi on September 19th, 2010, 11:21 pm

Hm. Interesting ... I will send another e-mail requesting the hard drive as well. I don't have much money right now to plop a hundred bucks on a hard drive and mail off into oblivion.

I see what you are saying, and that hard drive should be public knowledge by now since they've already admitted to removing data that they found unsuitable for release. The logical conclusion - if we are understanding this correctly, and I think we might be - is that *all* the data in the drive is now fit for public release.

Let me see if I can afford it. 100 is a lot of money for me. [Edit: I just read more carefully where you suggest a cheapy little 4 gig USB dongle. Now that is more in my price range! Do you think it's okay if I ask how many gigs are on the FAA drive? I guess that might be mistaken for unwillingness to use information.]

---

P.S. As a follow up to the numbers given by the "Commission Report" web site, here are the number of simulated deaths (vicsims) and simulated madmen (simmads) according to CNN numbers

AA11: 88 vicsims + 5 simmads = 93 sims

UA175: 59 vicsims + 5 simmads = 64 sims

AA77: 59 vicsims + 5 simmads = 64 sims

UA93: 40 vicsims + 4 simmads = 44 sims

Only the last two numbers counted by CNN "match" official counts and those are both without adequate citation in the "Commission Report" figures. As for the first two, I hope you will have noticed that AA11 has an extra non-terrorist passenger. And possibly even more bizarrely, CNN forgot entirely a victim that was supposed to be in UA175. How did the Commission come up with an extra passenger? Who is this mystery-sim?

I suppose the closest thing to a load manifest we have for AA11 listed 92 for them. So why is there an extra vicsim in the AA11 crash? And a missing one in the UA175? Did one UA175 victim somehow rocket so hard into the tower that they switched reservations to AA11?

Was their grounded load manifest paper changed to reflect which flight they were "found" with? Two more ridiculous errors to add to the official passenger confusion!

There is no excuse for a missing sim from UA175 in the CNN site or an extra sim for AA11.

I think we do need that hard drive, Fred! We're doing better research into 9/11 than the government's own published papers!
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Postby hoi.polloi on September 20th, 2010, 12:15 am

How about something like this (backing off of throwing a hard drive in our Lockheed Martin mailing system) - slightly tamer but still relevant I feel:


Mr. Paynter,

Thank you again for your letter of Aug 30, 2010 in reference to ADRRES #33067. After due consideration, the hard disk you described in your letter is what I was looking for. I am glad you found it. These days the "envelope's" contents are stored electronically on a computer hard drive, and what the FAA provided you is precisely what we need to close this request file.

I will gladly pay to have the contents of that drive copied to a hard disk.

A store-bought hard drive will work on PC, Mac/Unix and Linux computers and I will gladly assist your office in any way to make a copy of the hard disk the FAA provided to you by sending you a hard drive of adequate capacity if you tell me how many blank gigabytes I should be sending you. The retail store also charges 10 to copy an entire hard disk, and the procedure takes less than 10 minutes, but it is something that you can easily do in your office and I will gladly pay for any costs you incur up to 100 to copy the contents of the computer disk drive you received from the FAA with information on the September 11 hijackings to a blank drive I can send you.

The drive you have in your possession is vitally important to the American public, is unique, and cannot be substituted by the 9/11 "Commission Report" files you've referenced in your letter.

I would appreciate it if you could make a copy of it today and send it back to me in an envelope - even on DVDs or CDs if that's the only method available. Otherwise, let me know a hard drive size to send you to collect the files and I will purchase it and mail it express!

Thank you, and I will call you shortly should you be unable to follow up on this request.

Sincerely,
Mr. ___________



I am reluctant to make a phone call just yet because phone calls do not have legal trails unless they agree to be recorded.
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Postby fred on September 20th, 2010, 5:24 pm

Unless there are hours of video on his hard disk [there won't be] I think it's unlikely that the data would exceed a few gigabytes. Send him a 10 USB drive and maybe a 2 package of blank DVD's in case the files he has exceed the capacity of your device (unlikely).

You might offer in your letter to send a bigger drive if it's necessary, and for him to tell you how much data is required.

I wouldn't write anything that gives him any excuse to spend time doing anything other than sending you a copy of the data he has. Asking him how many MB of data there are on the drive gives him a chance to spend a year trying to figure that out.

I would guess that most FAA computers were old in 2001 and that he has megabytes of data rather than gigabytes.

Offer to reimburse him for reasonable costs up to a some dollar amount (maybe 30). I'm guessing that they will just copy the files onto your disk for free since they didn't have to buy anything for you. It's the sort of request that he can fulfill by plugging in your USB stick and the hard drive he has from the FAA, hit copy, and go get some coffee. Then he puts the thumb-drive and unused DVDs in your padded mailer and is done with your request for a while.

The letter they sent you sounds like it's actually written by a real person who is trying to work with you and offering to help, so I think there's a good chance that he will just hook up the hard disk and your USB stick and try to get to your request answered so he can answer the next one.

Once you have the disk you can send in more targeted requests after you see what's missing that should obviously be there.

It would be odd if the FAA were sending a bunch of classified national security secrets to the National Archives coordinator. I suspect he can just copy the data he has for you and move on. Maybe there will be something interesting there.
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Postby fred on September 20th, 2010, 6:37 pm

Just send him these along with your request and a return-postage-paid self-addressed Priority Mail envelope. In the worst case that they steal your storage devices and never respond, then you're out less than 25.

8GB USB drive for 11 http://www.jr.com/daneelec/pe/DNL_DAZMP08GCAN/

5-Pack of blank DVD-RW for 6 http://www.jr.com/sony/pe/SON_5DPW47L1_SL_SL_T/

If they send your items back blank you can use the drive for something else. You can record Gossip Girl, Lady Gaga, and Elton John's Greatest Hits on the DVDs and still have a few left over to burn copies of September Clues. :)

I suspect that you're dealing with a regular person with a normal job in the Government at NARA and not some 9-11 insider with a hidden agenda. The insiders are the people who put whatever he sends you into the FAA's records in the first place.

In 2010 the National Archives certainly have computers with USB ports and DVD writers. I think there's a good chance they'll honor your request.
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Postby hoi.polloi on September 20th, 2010, 7:10 pm

I'm going to Best Buy right now! :)

I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Postby hoi.polloi on September 21st, 2010, 8:39 pm

I found an 8-gig drive for more in the realm of 25 bucks, but at least it is immediately in my possession instead of paying just as much to have an 11 shipped to me as fast.

Now it was sitting here in a self-addressed stamped envelope and I realize ... where the heck am I supposed to send this letter anyway? I'd better give him a phone call. (Just to be sure ... your recommendation is that I mail this to the address this was sent from, even though he may not actually be at that address? I presume he is or else why would the letterhead have it?) But if you say a preliminary phone call and e-mail are less than desirable because it allows for discussion, Mr. Paynter certainly didn't invite an obvious mailing address. So I ultimately just stuffed the SASE and letter in a larger envelope and shipped it off to College Park c/o David C. Paynter.

Here is a copy of the printed page I enclosed:


Mr. Paynter,

Thank you again for your letter of Aug 30, 2010 in reference to ADRRES #33067. After due consideration, the hard disk you described in your letter is what I was looking for. I am glad you found it. These days the "envelope's" contents are stored electronically on a computer hard drive, and what the FAA provided you is precisely what we need to close this request file.

I will gladly pay to have the contents of that hard drive. So I have enclosed an 8-gigabyte pen drive that I purchased at Best Buy. It works on PC, Mac/Unix and Linux computers. A retail store charges 10 to copy an entire hard disk, and the procedure takes less than 10 minutes, but it is something that you can easily do in your office and I will gladly pay for any costs you incur up to 100 to copy the contents of the computer disk drive you received from the FAA - the disk with information on the September 11 hijackings - onto this USB.

The drive you have in your possession is vitally important to the American public, is unique, and cannot be substituted by the 9/11 Commission Report files you've referenced in your letter. I would appreciate it if you could make a copy of it today and send it to me in the enclosed self-addressed envelope. If the USB device I sent is not enough space, the envelope has ample room for any extra DVDs/CDs needed to store the whole drive. But hopefully this drive has more than enough space to make a full copy.

Thank you, and I will call you to follow up on this request.

Sincerely,
Mr. ___________
______________
______________
_______




Hopefully the shipping was of an adequate quality. I guess we'll see how much they want something like this to get "lost" in their sorting. ^_^
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Postby hoi.polloi on September 29th, 2010, 4:41 pm

According to http://www.usps.com/shipping/trackandconfirm.htm the USB dongle arrived!


Expected Delivery Date: September 23, 2010
Class: Priority Mail?
Service(s): Delivery Confirmation?
Status: Delivered

Your item was delivered at 9:36 am on September 23, 2010 in COLLEGE PARK, MD 20740.
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Postby fred on September 29th, 2010, 4:55 pm

Now the ball is in his court. I don't see why he shouldn't honor your request. The information was presumably given to the national archives because it's of historical importance. The data shouldn't contain sensitive national security information like missile launch codes or secret submarine warfare battle plans. He should copy what he has and send it back to you.

It will be interesting to see how they respond.
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