DEA National LPR Program documents

Shawn Musgrave filed this request with the Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States of America.

It is a clone of this request.

Tracking # 16-00135-AP, DOJ-AP-2017-005898
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Appeal

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:

-The concept of operations (CONOPS) for the DEA's National License Plate Reader Program.
-All MOU/MOA or other agreements between the DEA and state/local participants in the DEA's National License Plate Reader Program.
-All annual, semiannual, quarterly, monthly or weekly reports completed as part of the DEA's National License Plate Reader Program.
-All reports summarizing mission successes, highlights or lessons learned from the DEA's National License Plate Reader Program.

Per an RFI published by the DEA (see https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=a0459e93674685daf7c08cfa3db0ed2e&tab=core&tabmode=list&= ; see also attached RFI document):
"The DEA National License Plate Reader Program (NLPRP) is a complex camera and alerting system that is used as an investigative tool to monitor and target roadway conveyances commonly used to transport bulk cash and other contraband.
[....] The DEA has deployed LPR equipment throughtout the southwest border in the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona & California. [....] Locations: East Texas: 12 Locations; West TX & New Mexico: 21 Locations; Arizona: 6 Locations; California: 6 Locations"

Given that this FOIA is submitted in my capacity as a journalist who has covered the DEA and license plate readers extensively, I request that I be categorized as a media requester for the purpose of fees. Here is a selection of my published articles on drones:

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 matters pertaining to national security and technologies:

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.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/

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

As the requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com and pertains to a matter of considerable public interest, I further request a full waiver of all fees.

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: Shawn Musgrave

Apologies — I neglected to attach the RFI. Attached here.

Thank you,
Shawn Musgrave
Reporter, MuckRock

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

An acknowledgement letter, 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

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, with the agency stating that the information or document(s) requested are exempt from disclosure.

From: Shawn Musgrave

To Whom It May Concern:

I hereby appeal the denial in full of my FOIA request submitted to the Drug Enforcement Administration on August 12, 2015, which the DEA assigned tracking number 15-00767-F.

In characteristic fashion — and in violation of both the spirit and letter of the Freedom of Information Act — the DEA has denied my request for records by invoking exemptions in broad fashion and without any specific explanation as to their application to the records in question.

Some of these exemptions are patently inapplicable. For instance, in its response dated July 8, 2016 (attached), the DEA FOIA office invokes exemption b(7)(c) as part of its justification to deny my request. This exemption covers — by the DEA's own attached explanation — records which "could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." The requested records comprise agency records which are by no means relevant to personal privacy. Even in the unforeseeable circumstance in which the requested records include personal or private information, such information could be redacted.

The DEA did not include any specific explanation to justify its invocation of this or any of the above exemptions. This is impermissible under the FOIA. As such, I insist that this request be remanded to the DEA for a good faith search and provision of responsive documents, including provision of such documents in part if portions of the documents must be withheld.

At risk of overemphasizing the nature of this request, each category of requested documents are agency and/or administrative records. Such a document as a CONOPS cannot be construed to include personal or otherwise private information. The program at hand — the National LPR Program — is a matter of public knowledge, as the agency itself put out public requests for contract bids. There is no justification for withholding the entirety of the requested records.

Respectfully,
Shawn Musgrave

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

08/01/2016 10:55 AM FOIA Request: DOJ-AP-2016-004436

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

DOJ-AP-2016-004436 has been processed with the following final disposition: Completely reversed/remanded.

  • Musgrave, Shawn, AP-2016-004436 DEA.remand.search.further.processing

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

A letter stating that the request has been rejected.

From: Shawn Musgrave

To Whom It May Concern:

I once again appeal the DEA's blanket rejection of my request to the DEA (original tracking number 15-00767-F, new tracking number 16-00135-AP following remand by OIP).

The DEA's rejection dated December 13, 2016 may seem familiar. This may be because it is virtually identical to the DEA's rejection letter from last summer (dated July 8, 2016). As with last summer's response — which I successfully appealed — the DEA's latest rejection withholds in full 18 pages of responsive documents with barely even cursory explanation as to how the invoked exemptions justify their determination. Notably, the invoked exemptions in the latest rejection letter are the same five sub-exemptions under the b(7) exemption as I successfully appealed before. As before, the DEA politely attaches a one-pager with the text for each exemption, but fails to articulate their application to my request or documents responsive to it.

As such, I refer the appeals officer to my appeal from last July, in which I rebutted each exemption as well as the general indifference the DEA displays to its statutory duty under the FOIA. I have reprinted a copy of that appeal below, with only slight updates as to the current tracking number and date to reflect the slight differences we face not even six months later.

As before, I assert that the DEA has not met its bare obligations under the FOIA. I respectfully urge that this request be remanded for a second time, and that responsive documents be released in whole or in part.

Best,
Shawn Musgrave

====

To Whom It May Concern:

I hereby appeal the denial in full of my FOIA request submitted to the Drug Enforcement Administration on August 12, 2015, which the DEA assigned tracking number 16-00135-AP (originally 15-00767-F).

In characteristic fashion — and in violation of both the spirit and letter of the Freedom of Information Act — the DEA has denied my request for records by invoking exemptions in broad fashion and without any specific explanation as to their application to the records in question.

Some of these exemptions are patently inapplicable. For instance, in its response dated December 13, 2016 (attached), the DEA FOIA office invokes exemption b(7)(c) as part of its justification to deny my request. This exemption covers — by the DEA's own attached explanation — records which "could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." The requested records comprise agency records which are by no means relevant to personal privacy. Even in the unforeseeable circumstance in which the requested records include personal or private information, such information could be redacted.

The DEA did not include any specific explanation to justify its invocation of this or any of the above exemptions. This is impermissible under the FOIA. As such, I insist that this request be remanded to the DEA for a good faith search and provision of responsive documents, including provision of such documents in part if portions of the documents must be withheld.

At risk of overemphasizing the nature of this request, each category of requested documents are agency and/or administrative records. Such a document as a CONOPS cannot be construed to include personal or otherwise private information. The program at hand — the National LPR Program — is a matter of public knowledge, as the agency itself put out public requests for contract bids. There is no justification for withholding the entirety of the requested records.

Respectfully,
Shawn Musgrave

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

01/27/2017 04:42 PM FOIA Request: DOJ-AP-2017-001911

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

DOJ-AP-2017-001911 has been processed with the following final disposition: Completely reversed/remanded.

  • Musgrave, Shawn, AP-2017-001911, DEA, Remand for search and processing

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

The request has been rejected by the agency.

From: Shawn Musgrave

To Whom It May Concern:

This is my third near-identical appeal for the same FOIA request — which the DEA has assigned tracking number 16-00135-AP (originally 15-00767-F). I once again refer to the below appeal, which the DOJ Office of Information Policy has twice upheld — see appeal tracking numbers AP-2017-001911 and AP-2016-004436 — on precisely the same ground.

This latest and third wholesale denial of my request is notable for its consistency. Indeed, the OIP will find the DEA's latest rejection dated June 27, 2017 entirely familiar because it is identical to the DEA's rejection letter from last summer (dated July 8, 2016) and winter (dated December 13, 2016). As with both of those responses — which, again, I successfully appealed, in turn — the DEA's latest rejection withholds in full 18 pages of responsive documents with barely even cursory explanation as to how the invoked exemptions justify their determination. Notably, the invoked exemptions in the both rejection letters are the same five sub-exemptions under the b(7) exemption as I successfully appealed before. As before, the DEA politely attaches a one-pager with the text for each exemption, but fails to articulate their application to my request or documents responsive to it.

As such, I refer the appeals officer to my appeal from last December, in which I rebutted each exemption as well as the general indifference the DEA displays to its statutory duty under the FOIA. I have reprinted a copy of that appeal below, with only slight updates as to the current tracking number and date to reflect the slight differences we face a year after the DEA first attempted to reject my request.

As before, I assert that the DEA has not met its bare obligations under the FOIA. I respectfully urge that this request be remanded for a third time, and that responsive documents be released in whole or in part.

Best,
Shawn Musgrave

====

To Whom It May Concern:

I hereby appeal the denial in full of my FOIA request submitted to the Drug Enforcement Administration on August 12, 2015, which the DEA assigned tracking number 16-00135-AP (originally 15-00767-F).

In characteristic fashion — and in violation of both the spirit and letter of the Freedom of Information Act — the DEA has denied my request for records by invoking exemptions in broad fashion and without any specific explanation as to their application to the records in question.

Some of these exemptions are patently inapplicable. For instance, in its response dated June 27, 2017 (attached), the DEA FOIA office invokes exemption b(7)(c) as part of its justification to deny my request. This exemption covers — by the DEA's own attached explanation — records which "could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." The requested records comprise agency records which are by no means relevant to personal privacy. Even in the unforeseeable circumstance in which the requested records include personal or private information, such information could be redacted.

The DEA did not include any specific explanation to justify its invocation of this or any of the above exemptions. This is impermissible under the FOIA. As such, I insist that this request be remanded to the DEA for a good faith search and provision of responsive documents, including provision of such documents in part if portions of the documents must be withheld.

At risk of overemphasizing the nature of this request, each category of requested documents are agency and/or administrative records. Such a document as a CONOPS cannot be construed to include personal or otherwise private information. The program at hand — the National LPR Program — is a matter of public knowledge, as the agency itself put out public requests for contract bids. There is no justification for withholding the entirety of the requested records.

Respectfully,
Shawn Musgrave

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

08/09/2017 02:22 PM FOIA Request: DOJ-AP-2017-005898

Files

pages

Close