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Requirements for Secret Service Responses

The Secret Service is required to determine within 20 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) after the date of receipt of a request whether to comply with the request under the FOIA. The Secret Service must provide the requester reasons if the request is denied in whole or in part. Secret Service must provide information about the right to appeal any adverse determination to the head of the Secret Service or his or her designee under section (a)(6)(A)(i) of the FOIA.

The FOIA permits the Secret Service to extend the 20-day statutory time limit by 10 additional days in unusual circumstances as set forth in the FOIA and DHS Regulation. These circumstances include the need to collect records from field locations, review large numbers of records, and consult with other agencies. The Secret Service must notify requesters of any statutory extensions.

Secret Service may also make a showing of exceptional circumstances based on the amount of material withheld, on the resources devoted to review, or on the number of requests for records by courts or administrative tribunals. Courts may also consider a requester's unwillingness to reasonably limit the scope of his or her request or to agree upon a processing timeframe prior to seeking judicial review.

A delay that results from a predictable Secret Service workload of requests is not an “unusual circumstance” unless the Secret Service demonstrates reasonable progress in reducing its backlog of pending requests. Any statutory extension of time for unusual circumstances may not exceed 10 days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal public holidays). If additional time is needed to process the request, the USSS will notify the requester and provide the requester an opportunity to limit the scope of the request or arrange for an alternative time frame for processing the request.