|Submitted||Jan. 30, 2014|
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To Whom It May Concern:
This is an EXPEDITED Freedom of Information Act request. I hereby request the following records:
Copies of grounding orders to UAS units following the crash landing of a CBP Predator drone near San Diego on 1/27.
I am an editor at MuckRock and regular contributor at VICE/Motherboard on unmanned aerial vehicles. I am writing an article, intended
for a wide public readership via both MuckRock and VICE/Motherboard, about CBP's response to the crash and administration of CBP's UAS/UAV program, and these records will be crucial in my attempt to provide the public with the most accurate possible information.
I am requesting Expedited Processing, which is permitted when there is a "compelling need" for it, defined by two circumstances: a) if "the information is urgently needed by an individual primarily engaged in disseminating information in order to inform the public concerning actual or alleged
Federal Government activity," and/ or, b] if failure to obtain the records "could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual."
VICE/Motherboard, for which I will be writing this piece, is an organization primarily engaged in disseminating information. The MuckRock-Motherboard Drone Census, in particular, has drawn considerable attention to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles by federal government agencies. As a journalist, I have an urgent need to inform the public concerning actual or alleged government activity. If I do not receive this information today or tomorrow, the public may be misinformed about CBP's activities.
I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.
In the event that fees cannot be waived, 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.
Request CBP-2014-013298 has been processed with the following final disposition: Full denial based on exemptions
FOIA Appeal: CBP-2014-013298
This is an appeal of rejection of my request CBP-2014-013298 for the grounding orders for the CBP UAS fleet pursuant to a crash in late January.
The order itself to ground the UAS fleet has already been made public in numerous statements to the public and media. Releasing the order is unlikely to impinge in any way on the investigation of the crash or CBP's handling of the matter. In any case, there are surely portions of the grounding orders that are releasable, and it is inappropriate to withhold the entire document.
For this and any other reasons deemed relevant to the appeal authority, I appeal this rejection.
A letter stating that the request appeal has been succesful.
A copy of documents responsive to the request.