DEA National LPR Initiative CONOPS and annual budgets

Shawn Musgrave filed this request with the Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States of America.
Tracking # 15-00103-AP
Status
Rejected

Communications

From: Shawn Musgrave

To Whom It May Concern:

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

All concept of operations (CONOPS) and annual budgets for the National License Plate Reader (LPR) Initiative promulgated since December 2008.

Per documents released to the ACLU in response to a FOIA request (see https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/33780-33791%202014.03.31%20response.pdf#page=8): "In December 2008, DEA launched the National License Plate Reader (LPR) Initiative. The National LPR Initiative is a complex camera system [...] and strategic investigative tool that monitors and targets roadway conveyances commonly used to transport bulk cash and other contraband."

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.

Sincerely,

Shawn Musgrave

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

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, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #15-00306-F.

Thank you for your help.

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello -

Please confirm that I have been designated as a member of the news media for the purpose of fees. Here is a selection of my published articles on MuckRock pertaining to Justice Department components and law enforcement technologies:

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2015/jan/12/how-843-lbs-seized-pot-lead-customs-and-border-pro/

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2015/mar/03/us-marshals-service-conceal-key-details-millions-s/

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2015/feb/27/while-dodging-direct-question-fbi-commits-obama-st/

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2015/feb/27/while-dodging-direct-question-fbi-commits-obama-st/

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2015/feb/12/fbi-and-justice-department-cant-find-drone-privacy/

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2015/jan/22/air-force-knows-how-many-mq-9-drones-it-wants-cant/

I have also been published in a number of national media outlets on topics including LPR and other matters pertaining to national security and law enforcement technologies:

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/04/08/big-brother-better-police-work-new-technology-automatically-runs-license-plates-everyone/1qoAoFfgp31UnXZT2CsFSK/story.html

www.betaboston.com/news/2014/03/05/a-vast-hidden-surveillance-network-runs-across-america-powered-by-the-repo-industry/

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-us-spent-360-million-on-border-drones-thanks-to-this-flimsy-report

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-air-force-says-it-needs-precisely-52-new-reaper-drones-cant-explain-why

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/do-the-fbis-drones-invade-your-privacy-sorry-thats-private

https://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/05/nypd-social-media-policy-allows-catfishing-with-the-proper-paperwork.html

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2014/12/03/the-pentagon-finally-details-its-weapons-for-cops-giveaway

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/do-the-fbis-drones-invade-your-privacy-sorry-thats-private

https://news.vice.com/article/fbi-agent-who-killed-boston-bombing-suspects-friend-was-twice-accused-of-police-brutality

Thank you,
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, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #15-00306-F.

Thank you for your help.

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

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

From: Shawn Musgrave

Director, Office of Information Policy (OIP)
United States Department of Justice
1425 New York Avenue, N. W., Suite 11050
Washington, DC 20530

To Whom It May Concern:

I hereby appeal the rejection in full of FOIA request 15-00306-F, in which I requested the following documents from the Drug Enforcement Administration on 02/09/2015:

"All concept of operations (CONOPS) and annual budgets for the National License Plate Reader (LPR) Initiative promulgated since December 2008."

Per documents released to the ACLU in response to a FOIA request (see https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/33780-33791%202014.03.31%20response.pdf#page=8): "In December 2008, DEA launched the National License Plate Reader (LPR) Initiative. The National LPR Initiative is a complex camera system [...] and strategic investigative tool that monitors and targets roadway conveyances commonly used to transport bulk cash and other contraband."

In its attached final response, the DEA claims that the requested documents must be withheld in full per exemptions b(5) and b(7)(E). However, the DEA has not met its obligations to explain with specificity how the requested documents contain information that must be withheld pursuant to these two exemptions, nor has the DEA explained why the requested documents must be withheld in full, rather than released in part.

Furthermore, the very nature of the requested documents belies the DEA's response.

First, budgets and concept of operations (CONOPS) documents are prepared in advance of a given initiative. The initiative at hand has been operational since 2008. A completed document does not fall under the b(5) exemption, as it is no longer "deliberative" once completed. Furthermore, the requested budgetary and administrative project documents do not qualify as inter- or intra-agency communications. The b(5) exemption seems not to apply, and the DEA has supplied no further information to justify its invocation for the present FOIA request.

The b(7)(E) exemption likewise is inappropriate as applied here. This exemption covers documents whose release "would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law."

The DEA's use of license plate readers is not classified or secret. The federal government has issued a number of public requests for proposal and other materials regarding the DEA's use of license plate readers. Particular sections of the requested documents might be suitable for redaction under b(7)(E), but certainly not the documents in their entirety.

In light of the above, I request that you remand this request back to the DEA for a good faith search and provision of responsive documents.

Respectfully,
Shawn Musgrave
Investigative reporter, MuckRock

From: OIP-NoReply

Please do not reply to this e-mail, as this account is not monitored. To ensure a prompt reply, please direct any inquiries to the contact information listed in the correspondence provided to you. Thank you.

From: OIP-NoReply

Please do not reply to this e-mail, as this account is not monitored. To ensure a prompt reply, please direct any inquiries to the contact information listed in the correspondence provided to you. Thank you.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello -

Per OIP's determination, DEA must conduct another good faith search for responsive records and provide such documents per obligations under FOIA. Please confirm that the DEA is searching for said documents.

Thank you,
Shawn Musgrave

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: 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: Drug Enforcement Administration

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

From: Coast Guard

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

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: 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: Drug Enforcement Administration

The request has been rejected by the agency.

From: DEA.FOIA

Good Evening Mr. Musgrave:

As a courtesy to you, this is in regard to your email dated 3/22/17 asking about the status of your request, 15-00103-AP. As a courtesy attached is a copy of the determination letter dated 3/21/17 mailed to the address given in your initial FOIA request on 2/9/2015. If you have any questions with regard to your FOI Request you may contact the assigned GIS Specialist S. Miller
Thank you
DEA FOIA

Respectfully yours,
Jewell Carroll
Program Specialist
Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Unit (SARF)
(Desk) 202-307-4006; (fax) 202-307-8556
FOIA/PA Main Phone Line 202-307-7596

  • Mr. Musgrave signed status letter for FOIA Case Number 15-00103-AP

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