I wrestled with myself as to how I should go about presenting this subject, and after much thought I decided that the best thing to do would be to walk my readers through the process from start to finish. In the course of my case investigations with MUFON I have not had the need to write one yet, so I thought this would be the perfect time to do this so that not only will I be prepared when the need arises, but also since this is a lengthy process I will be able to update readers on the responses to my request, and subsequent developments from whatever information I receive. This way there will be a comprehensive step-by-step illustration of the process for others to follow. I will devote issues of my blog to this topic as developments occur.
I would not be doing this if not for the fact that I have the perfect case to write one for, that I am already researching. The sighting of a UFO in San Luis Obispo, CA, on July 7th, 1967 (see issue #6) has not had any other information from Project Blue Book file #11864 released other than the four photographs and the cover sheet I was able to find on Fold3.com. I decided to write the request thanks to a reply I received from Stanton Friedman where he pointed out that I had all the information that I needed to narrow down the scope of my request. This is very fortunate, and fairly rare to be able to provide the case file number, date, and location!
This is a great time to explain what a FOIA request isn't; it is not a guarantee that you will receive anything! There are specific rules for filing a request, and unless they are followed meticulously to the letter, at best your reply will not be timely, or the process can be mind-numbingly stretched out into a fruitless effort by a vague search. Even when done correctly, there is no guarantee that what you are after will be released. If it is deemed vital to the interest of National Security, it will not be released.
There are now two ways that a person may file an FOIA request, either electronically or by mail. I briefly thought about filing my request electronically until I read the part on the website that said "filing electronically with the system implies consent to monitoring", whereas I made the instant decision to to do it the "old fashioned" way (by mail), and to document each step. This should be very interesting to see what kind of a response I receive!