FOIA Request Seeks List of BARR Participants

 - June 18, 2009, 11:48 AM

A December 2008 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by investigative journalism organization ProPublica asked the FAA to release the list of requests for aircraft to be blocked under the NBAA Block Aircraft Registry Request (BARR) program. On March 20, NBAA wrote to the FAA, objecting to the release of the BARR data. NBAA argued that voluntarily submitted data such as the BARR requests “is categorically protected from disclosure under the FOIA, provided that it is not ‘customarily’ disclosed to the public by the submitter.” The FAA responded that it “has determined that the requested information does not fall within any exemption under FOIA.” The FAA was to have released the data to ProPublica on June 16. However, on June 15, NBAA filed a “reverse FOIA action” with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia asking that the BARR information not be released, and this has temporarily halted the FAA from fulfilling ProPublica’s FOIA request.