Department of Homeland Security Monitoring of Occupy Sandy

Dustin Slaughter filed this request with the Department of Homeland Security of the United States of America.
Tracking # 2014-FEFO-00248
Est. Completion None
Status
Withdrawn

Communications

From: Dustin Slaughter

Expedited Processing Requested

To Whom It May Concern:

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

Any and all information the Department of Homeland Security may have related to cooperation, coordination or interoperability regarding the grassroots disaster relief effort known as "Occupy Sandy".

This request encompasses any law enforcement involvement, including specifically but not limited to the Department of Homeland Security, the New York Police Department and interagency efforts that the Department of Homeland Security may participate in such as the Joint Terrorism Task Forces or Fusion Centers.

The date range for this request is from 31 October 2012 up to and including 24 September 2013.

This request includes, but is not limited to, information reflecting communications involving law enforcement and state and municipal representatives and/or private consultants, private security companies or agencies or analysts pertaining to Occupy Sandy.

I am requesting information reflecting communications about Occupy Sandy, including but not limited to: meetings, electronic communication, phone calls or teleconferences, analysis, deployment of federal law enforcement officers or agents in conjunction with local law enforcement actions and deployment of private security officers in conjunction with local and/or federal law enforcement actions. Your response should include, but is not limited to: files, emails, notes, presentation materials, suspicious activity reports or threat assessments, and other bulletins or memoranda.

I would like to receive the information in electronic format where it is so available.

As a representative of the news media I am only required to pay for the direct cost of duplication after the first 100 pages. Through this request, I am gathering information on the Department of Homeland Security facilitated inter-jurisdictional operations between federal and state law enforcement of nonviolent domestic dissident groups that is of current interest to the public because of previous news coverage regarding active monitoring and repression of grassroots Occupy Wall Street protests across the country.

This information is being sought for dissemination to the general public. I have been researching extensively as a freelance journalist on the Occupy movement and am able to reach a large network through self-publication and by cooperating with others to disseminate information to the public through publications such as Occupy.com, The Public Record, Truthout, and others.

This request is not meant to be exclusive of any other records which, though not specifically requested, would have a reasonable relationship to the subject matter of this request.

If my request is denied in whole or part, I ask that you justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the act. I will also expect to be provided with all segregable portions of otherwise exempt material. Please separately state your reasons for not invoking your discretionary powers to release the requested documents in the public interest. Such statements will be helpful in deciding whether to appeal an adverse determination, and in formulating arguments in case an appeal is taken and written justification may help avoid unnecessary litigation. I, of course, reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to deny a waiver of fees.

As I am making this request as a journalist and this information is of timely value, I would appreciate your communicating with me via email, rather than by mail, if you have questions regarding this request.

I look forward to your reply within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Thank you for your assistance.

Sincerely,

Dustin Slaughter

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 Sept. 24, 2013. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Christopher R. Hawkins

Good Morning Mr. Slaughter,

Please find enclosed within the above attachment an acknowledgement letter for your Freedom of Information Act request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA FOIA 2014-FEFO-00248).

Thank You,

Christopher R. Hawkins, Management Analyst
Records Management Division, Disclosure Branch
DHS/FEMA/MS/OCAO
Email: Christopher.hawkins@dhs.fema.gov
Office: (202)-646-3250
BB: (202) 802-2458

From: Dustin Slaughter

To Whom It May Concern:

As a representative of the news media, I write to insist that the Department of Homeland Security comply with its obligation to respond to one pending Freedom of Information Act request I filed on 24 September 2013 regarding responsive and/or tangentially-related documents [within date range 31 October 2012 up to and including 24 September 2013] indicating any and all DHS monitoring of the grassroots disaster relief group known as "Occupy Sandy".

As previously stated:

"This request encompasses any law enforcement involvement, including specifically but not limited to the Department of Homeland Security, the New York Police Department and interagency efforts that the Department of Homeland Security may participate in such as the Joint Terrorism Task Forces or Fusion Centers...[This request] is not meant to be exclusive of any other records which, though not specifically requested, would have a reasonable relationship to the subject matter of this request."

DHS received this request more than two months ago. In all that time, despite its undisputed statutory duty to do so, DHS has failed to respond with even a letter of acknowledgement of receipt.

Worse, DHS has failed to provide any explanation whatsoever for the delay and has been unwilling to estimate when it will finally be able to comply with its obligations under the FOIA.

As you must know, the Freedom of Information Act was meant to guarantee prompt access to
important government records. To that end, the FOIA grants an agency no more than thirty working days in which to respond to a request. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6).

When an agency fails to respond within that statutory timeframe, it has constructively denied the request. Oglesby v. U.S. Department of Army, 920 F.2d 57, 65 (D.C. Cir. 1990) (“Congress adopted the time limit provision in the FOIA in order to ‘contribute to the fuller and faster release of information, which is the basic objective of the Act.’ (quoting H.R. Rep. No. 93876, 93d Cong., 2d Sess., reprinted (1974) U.S. Code Cong. & Ad. News 6267 at 6271)).

The Department's delay in responding to this request not only flouts its statutory obligations, it also violates the President’s clear direction that when it comes to public information, “openness prevails.” Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Dep'ts and Agencies, 74 Fed.
Reg. 15, 4683 (Jan. 26, 2009). This instruction is unambiguous: “All agencies should adopt a
presumption in favor of disclosure, in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a new era of open Government.”

I therefore urge you to produce records responsive to this request as soon as possible, given this query's attached request for expedited processing, and no later than 27 December 2013.

I am prepared to litigate this matter in the event that the Department fails and/or refuses to comply with its statutory obligation.

I look forward to your help in resolving this matter without further delay. Please do not hesitate to contact me through Muckrock.com with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,
Dustin M. Slaughter

From: Dustin Slaughter

To Whom It May Concern:

Due to the Department's complete failure in complying with its statutory obligation regarding my request, please be advised that I am referring it to the Office of Government Information Services. If this matter cannot be resolved through OGIS, I will be forced to move to litigation.

Sincerely,
Dustin Slaughter

From: McCoy, David

Good afternoon Mr. Slaughter, I have processed your request. Your request has been referred to FEMA's Office of Chief Counsel (OCC) for legal review, to ensure compliance with the FOIA statutes and applicable Department of Homeland Security regulations. If OCC has no matters to amend, the final review determination is routed to the Disclosure Branch Chief for signature and final release. Thank you for your patience. Should you have any questions or concerns, this office can be reached at (202) 212-5061 or electronically at Disclosure-Unit-TeamC@fema.dhs.gov<mailto:Disclosure-Unit-TeamC@fema.dhs.gov>.

FEMA FOIA
Disclosure Branch

David D. McCoy
Management and Program Analyst (FOIA), Disclosure Unit
Mission Support Bureau, OCAO
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Office: 202-212-5061
Mobile: 202-716-6907
Email: david.mccoy@fema.dhs.gov

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 Sept. 24, 2013. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #2014-FEFO-00248.

Thank you for your help.

From: McCoy, David

Good morning Ms. McGuire, your request was returned from OCC to the Disclosure Branch for further processing. Your request has been return to OCC. If OCC has no further matters to amend, the final review determination will be routed to the Disclosure Branch Chief for signature and final release. Thank you for your patience. Should you have any questions or concerns, this office can be reached at (202) 212-5061 or electronically at Disclosure-Unit-TeamC@fema.dhs.gov<mailto:Disclosure-Unit-TeamC@fema.dhs.gov>.

David D. McCoy
Management and Program Analyst (FOIA), Disclosure Unit
Mission Support Bureau, OCAO
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Office: 202-212-5061
Mobile: 202-716-6907
Email: david.mccoy@fema.dhs.gov

From: Dustin Slaughter

Dear Mr. McCoy,

I'm contacting your office to check on the status of case #2014-FEFO-00248. An estimated date of completion would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Dustin Slaughter

From: McCoy, David

Good morning Mr. Slaughter, we are still awaiting the results of the OCC review. Once I receive their response, I will give you a verbal status of their decision and a time frame in which you will receive your formal response. Thanks for your patience.

David D. McCoy
Management and Program Analyst (FOIA), Disclosure Unit
Mission Support Bureau, OCAO
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Office:   202-212-5061
Mobile: 202-716-6907
Email: david.mccoy@fema.dhs.gov

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 Sept. 24, 2013. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #2014-FEFO-00248.

Thank you for your help.

From: McCoy, David

Good morning Mr. Slaughter, your request has been referred to the Disclosure Branch Chief for the final review determination, signature and final release. Thank you for your patience. Should you have any questions or concerns, this office can be reached at (202) 212-5061 or electronically at Disclosure-Unit-TeamC@fema.dhs.gov<mailto:Disclosure-Unit-TeamC@fema.dhs.gov>.

David D. McCoy
Management and Program Analyst (FOIA), Disclosure Unit
Mission Support Bureau, OCAO
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Office: 202-212-5061
Mobile: 202-716-6907
Email: david.mccoy@fema.dhs.gov<mailto:david.mccoy@fema.dhs.gov>

From: Dustin Slaughter

Dear Mr. McCoy,

I greatly appreciate the update.

Just a friendly reminder: on 30 April, you indicated that once OCC review was completed and referred to Disclosure Branch, you would be able to give me a time frame for the release of documents. If you're able to do so, I would be most appreciative.

As always, thanks for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Dustin Slaughter

From: Dustin Slaughter

Good morning Mr. McCoy. I am following up regarding an estimated release date regarding case #2014-FEFO-00248. On 30 April, your office informed me that once OCC review was completed, you could provide a date.

Thanks for your continued time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Dustin Slaughter

From: Dustin Slaughter

Mr. McCoy,

I am following up regarding an estimated release date regarding case #2014-FEFO-00248. On 30 April, your office informed me that once OCC review was completed, you would provide a date.

As you know, the FOIA requires agencies to provide an estimated completion date.

Sincerely,
Dustin Slaughter

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 Sept. 24, 2013. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #2014-FEFO-00248.

Thank you for your help.

From: McCoy, David

Good morning Mr. Slaughter, your request is in final review. I hope to provide you the results shortly. Thanks for your patience.

David D. McCoy
Management and Program Analyst (FOIA), Disclosure Unit
Mission Support Bureau, OCAO
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Office:   202-212-5061
Mobile: 202-716-6907
Email: david.mccoy@fema.dhs.gov

From: McCoy, David

Good afternoon Mr. Slaughter,

Attached is the final response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request, FEMA-2014-FEFO-00248. Should you have any questions or concerns, this office can be reached at (202) 646-5797 or electronically at Disclosure-Unit-TeamC@fema.dhs.gov<mailto:Disclosure-Unit-TeamC@fema.dhs.gov> <mailto:Disclosure-Unit-TeamC@fema.dhs.gov

David D. McCoy
Management and Program Analyst (FOIA), Disclosure Unit
Mission Support Bureau, OCAO
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Office: 202-212-5061
Mobile: 202-716-6907
Email: david.mccoy@fema.dhs.gov<mailto:david.mccoy@fema.dhs.gov>

From: Hawkins, Christopher

Good Afternoon Mr. Slaughter,

This concerns your Freedom of Information Act to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2014-FEFO-00559.

We are currently in need of an additional copy of the request letter you placed on March 20, 2014, regarding processing notes for FOIA 2014-FEFO-00248. The ink from your original letter is very light and illegible. Please provide either another copy in dark, legible ink or you can forward an email with the details of your request.

Upon receipt of the requested information, we will process your request as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your continued patience and we apologize for the delay and any inconvenience this may have caused.

Christopher Hawkins
Management Analyst
Disclosure Branch (FOIA Office)
Records Management Division
Federal Emergency Management Agency
US Department of Homeland Security
Christopher.Hawkins@fema.dhs.gov
Office: (202) 646-3250
FOIA Help Desk: (202) 646-3323

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