ACT II DEA

Emma Best filed this request with the Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States of America.
Tracking # 16-00454-F, DOJ-AP-2016-005434, OJ-AP-2017- 005903
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Appeal

Communications

From: Michael Best

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

Records describing, mentioning or relating to Andrew C. Thornton II (1945–1985), who was a head member of "The Company", a drug smuggling ring in Kentucky. In 1981, he was among 25 men accused in Fresno, California, in a theft of weapons from the China Lake Naval Weapons Center and of conspiring to smuggle 1,000 pounds of marijuana into the United States. On a smuggling run from Colombia, having dumped packages of cocaine off near Blairsville, Georgia, Thornton jumped from his auto-piloted Cessna 404. In the September 11, 1985 jump, he was caught in his parachute and ended up in a free fall to the ground. His dead body was found in the back yard of Knoxville, Tennessee resident Fred Myers.His death has been widely reported. http://articles.latimes.com/1985-09-12/news/mn-21488_1_cocaine

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Michael Best

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

From: DEA.FOIA

Please see attached Signed Status Letter for your FOIA Case Number 16-00454-F

Drug Enforcement Administration
Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Unit
202-307-7596 (Customer Service Line)
202-307-8556 (Fax)

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

A letter stating the requester must agree to or prepay assessed or estimated fees in order for the agency to continue processing the request.

From: Michael Best

Thank you for your follow-up.

I am a member of the news media and request classification as such, along with a waiver of all search fees. I have written widely read articles on law enforcement and national security matters and have agreements with outlets to publish future articles. I am also under a long-term contract to write the Encyclopedia of the OSS (CIA's WW2 predecessor organization).

Thank you!

Michael Best

From: DEA.FOIA

Hello Mr. Best

I am emailing you regarding your email dated Friday, July 15, 2016 at 5:00 AM requesting a follow up regarding your Freedom of Information request submitted on March 22, 2016 seeking information related to Andrew C. Thornton II (1945-1985). Please be advised that a determination letter was sent to you via registered mail dated June 1, 2016 regarding the above request information under FOIA case 16-00454-F at the following address: Michael Best MuckRock DEPT MR 24625 411A Highland Avenue, Somerville, Massachusetts 02144-2516. However, as a courtesy to you, attached is copy of the determination letter and returned registered receipt.

Drug Enforcement Administration
Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Unit
202-307-7596 (Customer Service Line)
202-307-8556 (Fax)

From: Michael Best

I request classification as a member of the news media. I have previously written about national security issues for MuckRock, AND Magazine and Glomar Disclosure. Therefore, I have a reasonable expectation of publication and request a waiver of search fees. The public interest in this case is demonstrated by the well-selling book on the matter, the Bluegrass Conspiracy, and the number of the number of articles that have been written about the man and the web of intrigue surrounding him.

Thank you!

From: DEA.FOIA

Good afternoon Mr. Best,

Request number 16-00454-F is closed and no further action will be taken regarding this request. You may appeal our decision by contacting the United States Department of Justice Office of Information Policy (OIP). Please refer to our determination letter for contact information.

Drug Enforcement Administration
Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Unit
202-307-7596 (Customer Service Line)
202-307-8556 (Fax)

From: Michael Best

I am appealing the closure of this request. As of this date, no notice has been received. This is shown at https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/act-ii-dea-24625/

I had requested media classification in response to a request for search fees and never heard a determination about that.

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

09/20/2016 02:34 PM FOIA Request: DOJ-AP-2016-005434

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

DOJ-AP-2016-005434 has been processed with the following final disposition: Closed for other reasons -- Other -- Moot.

From: Emma Best

I am appealing the closure of this request. I have not been notified or provided any such letter. I provided proof of this in my previous appeal (still viewable here https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/act-ii-dea-24625/) and had the appeal denied on grounds other than what I appealed. Please process the appeal for their failure to properly notify me of the closure, the grounds for the closure, etc. They have declined to explain why.

I am further appealing their determination that I am not news media and therefore was expected to pay search fees. When I tried to correct them on this, they failed to respond.

I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I am freelance writer who has previously written about the government and its activities for MuckRock, Motherboard, Unicorn Riot, AND Magazine and Glomar Disclosure. My articles have been widely read, with some reaching over 100,000 readers. My work has been further discussed in outlets including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and BBC. As such, as I have a reasonable expectation of publication and my editorial and writing skills are well established. In addition, I discuss and comment on the files online and make them available through the non-profit Internet Archive, disseminating them to a large audience. While my research is not limited to this, a great deal of it, including this, focuses on the activities and attitudes of the government itself. As such, it is not necessary for me to demonstrate the relevance of this particular subject in advance. Additionally, case law states that “proof of the ability to disseminate the released information to a broad cross-section of the public is not required.” Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Dep’t of Justice, 365 F.3d 1108, 1126 (D.C. Cir. 2004); see Carney v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 19 F.3d 807, 814-15 (2d Cir. 1994). Further, courts have held that "qualified because it also had “firm” plans to “publish a number of . . . ‘document sets’” concerning United States foreign and national security policy." Under this criteria, as well, I qualify as a member of the news media. Additionally, courts have held that the news media status "focuses on the nature of the requester, not its request. The provision requires that the request be “made by” a representative of the news media. Id. § 552(a)(4)(A)(ii)(II). A newspaper reporter, for example, is a representative of the news media regardless of how much interest there is in the story for which he or she is requesting information." As such, the details of the request itself are moot for the purposes of determining the appropriate fee category. As such, my primary purpose is to inform about government activities by reporting on it and making the raw data available and I therefore request that fees be waived. Per DOJ FOIA guidance, "a requester should be granted a fee waiver if the requested information (1) sheds light on the activities and operations of the government; (2) is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of those operations and activities; and (3) is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester." As this FOIA meets all of those requirements (see above regarding the subject and how I will apply the information), a fee waiver is warranted.

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

08/09/2017 02:20 PM FOIA Request: DOJ-AP-2017-005903

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