DEA records of Dr. John Buettner-Janusch

Nick Blaylock filed this request with the Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States of America.
Tracking # REFF-2016-03702
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Nick Blaylock

To Whom It May Concern:

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

All records pertaining to Dr. John Buettner-Janusch (December 7, 1924-July 2, 1992). The depth of this search should not be limited in any way by the mention of specific dates and events described herein, which are provided only to aid your record search.

The DEA searched his New York University (NYU) Anthropology laboratory on or around May 17, 1979 in New York City.

On July 16, 1980, following a trial by jury, John Buettner-Janusch, was convicted of (1) conspiracy to manufacture and distribute and possess with intent to distribute certain controlled substances (21 U.S.C. §§ 812, 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(B) and 841(b)(2), ("Count One"); (2) actual manufacture and possession of methaqualone with intent to manufacture and distribute (21 U.S.C. §§ 812, 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(B) and 18 U.S.C. § 2), ("Count Two"); (3) knowingly making false statements to Government investigators (18 U.S.C. § 1001), ("Counts Five and Six"). He was found not guilty by the jury of distribution and possession with intent to distribute a quantity of Cylert pemoline (21 U.S.C. §§ 812, 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(2), ("Count Three") and acquitted by the Court of conspiracy to obstruct justice (18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 1001, 1503 and 1510), ("Count Four").

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.

Sincerely,

Nick Blaylock

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 acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: Nick Blaylock

FOIA APPEAL
DEA Headquarters
ATTN: FOI/PA Unit (SARF)
8701 Morrissette Dr.
Springfield, VA 22152

Re: 16-00753-F (adverse determination letter of July 15, 2016)

Dear DEA Appeals Authority:

This is an appeal of an adverse determination under the Freedom of Information Act.

On July 12, 2016 I submitted a FOIA request to your office concerning Dr. John Buettner-Janusch (dob: 12/07/1924, dod: 07/02/1992).

My FOIA request was placed in the commercial fee category. I appeal.

I have never made any FOIA request as a commercial user. To be clear, I am not selling the information I receive nor has anyone paid me to obtain this information in this specific FOIA request or any that I have ever filed in the past. Additionally, at this time, I have no other commercial motives to make this request.

I suggest the “all other” fee category for this specific request because the primary purpose of this request is my own personal curiosity of a government function. I will be making the records public and they will be reviewed by other members of the news media. However, in this specific case, I am not yet certain if my personal interests will result in turning the information received into a unique work product and published in the news media.

Since I am not yet certain if I will be creating a news media piece with this information, I will not venture to argue this should be billed in the news media fee category. I will however argue that billing in the commercial fee category is an untenable position that must be reversed as the result of this appeal, as there is no commercial interest behind this request.

In researching this “commercial use” classification for MuckRock users, I understand that another agency, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has circulated a memo requiring all requests coming from MuckRock users to be billed using the commercial fee category. The reason one user was given over the telephone was that MuckRock is charging a fee to make FOIA requests on behalf of their users.

First of all, charging a nominal fee for filing a request on another’s behalf is not the same thing as selling the data received. Paying for MuckRock services is more akin to paying a secretary to lick and stamp an envelope. Of course, you would not charge all users who use the services of a secretary commercial use fees.

Further, for this specific request, I can assure you that I have not paid anyone to make this request on my behalf. Additionally, I believe that the decision to consider MuckRock a commercial user of FOIA comes from a misunderstanding of what MuckRock is.

MuckRock is an investigative tools website which provides tools for filing FOIA requests.

MuckRock does sell a subscription service to use these tools. However, the end user is directly communicating with the agency.

In my case, I am personally writing my own FOIA requests and directly sending them to your agency.

I am personally writing this appeal on my own and communicating with you directly. I am using MuckRock to do this for the sake of proper FOIA request tracking. The MuckRock system has created a special email account specific to this FOIA request, so we can communicate about this request and track that communication appropriately. The MuckRock system tracks the date the request was sent and alerts me if too much time passes without a response so I can follow up with you. These tools that MuckRock offers are quite similar to other FOIA users tracking their requests in an Excel spreadsheet; however, MuckRock is far more capable in many ways than Excel. The indiscriminate labeling of MuckRock users as commercial is no more appropriate than labeling all Microsoft Excel users as such.

My relationship with MuckRock is limited to (a) the use of their services to help with managing my FOIA requests and (b) the submission of an occasional freelance news piece to the MuckRock News service. MuckRock News is where MuckRock posts news media work primarily created with the editorial skills of journalists using records released under the freedom of information act as a source to create a unique work product (https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/).

I have no commercial interest in their services. Indeed, the MuckRock Terms of Service “license does not include any resale or commercial use of any MuckRock Services” (https://www.muckrock.com/tos/).
I have no ownership interest in MuckRock. I have no financial interest whatsoever in anything MuckRock does.

I trust that upon re-consideration, you will reverse the decision to bill me as a commercial user.

I appreciate your timely consideration of my appeal in every way possible. In any case, I will expect to receive your decision within 20 business days, as required by the statute.

Thank you for your assistance.

Sincerely,
/s/
Nick Blaylock

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

08/03/2016 03:06 PM FOIA Request: DOJ-AP-2016-004574

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: Nick Blaylock

Hi,

Thanks so much for your help with this request! I really appreciate it.

Sincerely,
Nick Blaylock

From: Drug Enforcement Administration

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

DOJ-AP-2016-004574 has been processed with the following final disposition: Closed for other reasons -- Other -- Moot.

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