Cloud-Nine (Homeland Security Investigations)

Emma North-Best filed this request with the Department of Homeland Security of the United States of America.
Multi Request Cloud-Nine
Due Dec. 17, 2018
Est. Completion None
Awaiting Response


From: Emma North-Best

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

Files mentioning the dark net market Cloud-Nine, which operated at the web address xvqrvtnn4pbcnxwt.onion between 2014-02-11 and 2014-11-05.

I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I have previously written about the government and its activities, with some reaching over 100,000 readers in outlets such as MuckRock, Motherboard, Property of the People, AND Magazine, Unicorn Riot, and more. 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 non-profits such as the library Internet Archive and and the journalist non-profit, MuckRock, 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 my primary purpose is to inform about government activities by reporting on it and making the raw data available, I request that fees be waived.

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.


Emma Best

From: Department of Homeland Security

Good morning Ms. Best,

We have received 85 emails through MuckRock of your requests for files mentioning certain Dark Net items. At this point, based on the limited information you have provided, we cannot conduct an adequate search. We would need more information in order for any of these requests to be perfected and for us to have a place to search for responsive records. Your request description should include, the type of record you are seeking, the DHS component you believe created and/or controls the records, the precipitating event that you believe warranted the creation of records and the time period that you believe the records or files were created and compiled.

The DHS Privacy Office processes for the Headquarters program offices. I believe records related to your request, if they exist, would be under the purview of the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD). Please find their contact information here:

National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD)<>
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
FOIA Officer: Toni Fuentes
Phone: 703-235-2211
Fax: 703-235-2052
NPPD Website<>

I would also suggest that items in your request can be combined into one request, for easier tracking and processing. As you know, MuckRock uses an email system that sends separate and distinct emails for each item.

Thank you,

The Privacy Office
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
245 Murray Lane SW
Washington, D.C. 20528-0655
Phone: 202-343-1743 or 866-431-0486
Fax: 202-343-4011

From: Emma North-Best

None of those were supposed to go to your office. I'm EXTREMELY sorry for that mistake.