DEA policy on preserving text messages

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

It is a clone of this request.

Tracking # 15-00535-F
Status
Completed

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 policy and guidance documents regarding the preservation of text messages.

A 2011 Attorney General memo (see http://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/oip/legacy/2014/07/23/electronic-communications.pdf) directed that, "Each component should provide guidance to affected employees on how to preserve the various messaging formats (text, SMS, 1M, PIN, etc.), or any other e-communication that may contain potentially discoverable information. Where an e-communication containing potentially discoverable information cannot be preserved electronically or printed, the agency's inability to do so should be documented so that the preservation approach can be explained in court."

Per a March 2015 report from the Justice Department Office of the Inspector General (see https://oig.justice.gov/reports/2015/e1504.pdf#page=61): "It is ATF and DEA policy that all substantive case-related text messages be preserved and potentially be made available during discovery. [....] The ODAG also informed us that the DEA’s current policy regarding the preservation of electronic communications for discovery purposes is not entirely consistent with the Deputy Attorney General’s March 30, 2011, memo [....] We were notified that the ODAG is currently working with the DEA to ensure consistent policies."

Given that this FOIA is submitted in my capacity as a journalist who has covered federal law enforcement 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 MuckRock:

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 other national media outlets on topics regarding federal law enforcement:

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: Drug Enforcement Administration

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello -

Per my extensive publication history on range of topics relevant to the DEA and federal law enforcement, I am appropriately most appropriately categorized as a media requester, rather than as a "non-commercial, non-media" requester. The DEA itself has categorized me as a media requester for the purpose of fees in the past. Please correct this and confirm that I have been categorized as a media requester for the purpose of fees.

Respectfully,
Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

From: DEA.FOIA

Good Morning Mr. Musgrave,
This is in further response to your recent email dated June 5, 2015, to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Unit (SARF) regarding your request, “to categorized you as a media requester, rather than as a non-commercial, non-media requester.”

As you are aware, the FOIA provides for three categories of requesters. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(ii). Department of Justice regulations define a "representative of the news media" as "any person or entity organized and operated to publish or broadcast news to the public." Production or Disclosure of Material or Information, 80 Fed. Reg. 18099, 18111 (Apr. 3, 2015) (to be codified at 28 C.F.R. pt. 16.10(b)(6)).

For this request number 15-00535-F. SARF has determine to change your category to media.

Your patience in this matter is appreciated. If you have any questions or wish to discuss reformulation for the processing of your request, you may write to me at DEA Headquarters Attn: FOI/PA Unit (SARF) 8701 Morrissette Drive Springfield, Virginia 22152. Lastly, you may contact our FOIA Public Liaison at 202-307-7596 to discuss any aspect of your request.

Respectfully,

DEA FOIA

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 May 19, 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 #15-00535-F.

Thank you for your help.

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 May 19, 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 #15-00535-F.

Thank you for your help.

From: DEA.FOIA

Mr. Musgrave,

This is in response to your recent email dated August 14, 2015, to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Unit (SARF) regarding your request. Your request has been sent to a DEA program office for review and release determinations. We are awaiting response from that office and will forward that information to you as soon as possible.

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 May 19, 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 #15-00535-F.

Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

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

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

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