CBP UAS reinstatement order and investigation findings (EXPEDITED)

Shawn Musgrave filed this request with the United States Customs and Border Protection of the United States of America.
Tracking # CBP-2014-014332
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Shawn Musgrave

To Whom It May Concern:

This is an EXPEDITED Freedom of Information Act request. I hereby request the following records:

-A copy of the order authorizing resumption of UAS (unmanned aerial systems) operations.

-A copy of all investigation findings, recommendations and reports regarding the January 28 UAS crash.

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 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.

Sincerely,

Shawn Musgrave

From: CBPFOIA@cbp.dhs.gov

Request CBP-2014-014332 has been processed with the following final disposition: Full denial based on exemptions

From: Bureau of Customs and Border Protection

The request has been rejected, with the agency stating that the information or document(s) requested are exempt from disclosure.

From: Shawn Musgrave

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
FOIA Appeals, Policy and Litigation Branch
90 K Street, NE, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20229-1177

February 25, 2014

To Whom It May Concern:

This is an appeal of the attached rejection of CBP-2014-014332. The CBP FOIA office has withheld documents in their entirety under law enforcement and ongoing investigation exemptions. However, the UAS reinstatement order itself does not fall under either of these categories. The CBP FOIA office has inappropriately applied a blanket exemption rather than the most narrow exemption necessary to shield exempt information while maximizing public transparency.

For this and any other reason deemed applicable by the appeals authority, I appeal this determination.

Best,
Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello,

A copy of the below appeal was sent more than a week back. Please confirm receipt.

Thank you.

============

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
FOIA Appeals, Policy and Litigation Branch
90 K Street, NE, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20229-1177

February 25, 2014

To Whom It May Concern:

This is an appeal of the attached rejection of CBP-2014-014332. The CBP FOIA office has withheld documents in their entirety under law enforcement and ongoing investigation exemptions. However, the UAS reinstatement order itself does not fall under either of these categories. The CBP FOIA office has inappropriately applied a blanket exemption rather than the most narrow exemption necessary to shield exempt information while maximizing public transparency.

For this and any other reason deemed applicable by the appeals authority, I appeal this determination.

Best,
Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on Feb. 9, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #CBP-2014-014332.

Thank you for your help.

From: Bureau of Customs and Border Protection

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: Bureau of Customs and Border Protection

A cover letter granting the request and outlining any exempted materials, if any.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello,

A letter appealing the denial of this request has not been acknowledged since it was sent on Feb. 25, 2014.

Please advise as to the status of this appeal and when a response should be expected.

Respectfully yours,

From: MuckRock.com

Fax returned as failed.

From: MuckRock

Ms. Burroughs --

In violation of CBP's FOIA obligations, I have not received any acknowledgement of the below appeal (which I sent by both mail and fax, as well as followups per the correspondence below).

Please confirm immediately whether CBP FOIA office has received my appeal for CBP-2014-014332.

Respectfully,
Shawn Musgrave

From: PEGUES, TIMIKIA

Mr. Musgrave,

Please check the status of your request via FOIA online, You should be able to view the status of your request by entering the FOIA number that was provided to you.

Please note:****FOIA online is able to provide status update during the processing of your case.
Thanks

Timikia R. Pegues
Government & Information Specialist
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Customs & Border Protection
Office of the Commissioner
Privacy & Diversity Office
Direct: (202) 325-0283
Fax: (202) 325-0230
Emial: Timikia.R.Pegues@cbp.dhs.gov

From: Shawn Musgrave

Ms. Pegues -

Thank you for your response, but please understand that I have not received any acknowledgement whatsoever of my appeal, whether via email or by mail. CBP FOIA must address this specific issue -- referring me to FOIAOnline is not sufficient.

Respectfully,
Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello,

The spreadsheet sent by Ms. Tell indicates that this request (CBP-2014-014332) is "Closed." However, I submitted an appeal on February 25 (see below) of this determination, and have yet to receive any indication that it has been received despite numerous followups by email and fax.

I have also looked up this request on FOIAOnline, as you suggested. It includes no communications or explanation as to whether the appeal has been received (see attached).

I have mailed the appeal once again to ensure that it is received within the 60 day time limit. Again, I assert that I mailed this appeal on February 25, and that your office has failed to acknowledge it appropriately.

Please clarify, or let me know if I can provide any further clarification.

Respectfully,
Shawn

From: Shawn Musgrave

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
FOIA Appeals, Policy and Litigation Branch
90 K Street, NE, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20229-1177

February 25, 2014

To Whom It May Concern:

This is an appeal of the attached rejection of CBP-2014-014332. The CBP FOIA office has withheld documents in their entirety under law enforcement and ongoing investigation exemptions. However, the UAS reinstatement order itself does not fall under either of these categories. The CBP FOIA office has inappropriately applied a blanket exemption rather than the most narrow exemption necessary to shield exempt information while maximizing public transparency.

For this and any other reason deemed applicable by the appeals authority, I appeal this determination.

Best,
Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: CBP FOIA

To: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requesters
From: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) FOIA Office

This message is on behalf of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Division. Our records show that you currently have a FOIA request for records or documents pending with CBP. We also note that you have not established an individual account in our automated FOIA requests processing system, FOIAonline<https://foiaonline.regulations.gov/foia/action/public/home>. In our effort to make information more readily accessible, we implemented FOIAonline<https://foiaonline.regulations.gov/foia/action/public/home> and I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to click on the following link https://foiaonline.regulations.gov/foia/action/public/home and create your FOIAonline account today. FOIAonline<https://foiaonline.regulations.gov/foia/action/public/home> is very user-friendly - simply follow the prompts to create an account and make a FOIA request. Submitting your FOIA request online is the preferred method (vs. postal mail/fax) for several reasons:

* You will immediately receive a unique FOIA tracking number and acknowledgment that your FOIA request was received by CBP.
* You will be able to track your FOIA request any day/any time through your FOIAonline account.
* You will receive an email to retrieve responsive records or document via your FOIAonline account, when records or documents become available.
* You can view all of your historical FOIA requests via the "dashboard" in your FOIAonline account.

Therefore, given that you have a pending FOIA request with CBP, I strongly encourage you to set-up a FOIAonline account<https://foiaonline.regulations.gov/foia/action/public/home>, so that when responsive records to your request become available, you can be notified electronically and view the records via your FOIAonline account. Please ensure when setting up your FOIAonline account that you use the exact same email address that you provided in the original FOIA request.

In closing, please note that CBP receives a high volume of FOIA requests, and while we are constantly striving to improve service to our customers, you can help us reduce our FOIA backlog by registering @ FOIAonline<https://foiaonline.regulations.gov/foia/action/public/home>. We appreciate your continued patience.

Thank you,
Franklin C. Jones
Executive Director
Privacy and Diversity Office
U.S. Customs and Border Protection

From: Bureau of Customs and Border Protection

A fix is required to perfect the request.

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