DHS-CBP Predator (United States Customs and Border Protection)

Emma Best filed this request with the United States Customs and Border Protection of the United States of America.
Tracking #

CBP-2018-086055

Multi Request DHS-CBP Predator
Status
Processing

Communications

From: Emma Best


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

Memos, emails, letters and reports relating to or mentioning liaising on UAV programs between any combination of the FBI, DHS and CBP, including but not limited to training and the loan of any UAVs such as (but not limited to) the MQ-9 Predator as described in the attached email released through FOIA.

I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I have previously written about the government and its activities, with some reaching over 100,000 readers. As such, as I have a reasonable expectation of publication and my editorial and writing skills are well established. In addition, I discuss and comment on the files online and make them available through non-profits such as the Internet Archive and MuckRock, disseminating them to a large audience. While my research is not limited to this, a great deal of it, including this, focuses on the activities and attitudes of the government itself. As such, it is not necessary for me to demonstrate the relevance of this particular subject in advance.

Additionally, case law states that “proof of the ability to disseminate the released information to a broad cross- section of the public is not required.” Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Dep’t of Justice, 365 F.3d 1108, 1126 (D.C. Cir. 2004); see Carney v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 19 F.3d 807, 814-15 (2d Cir. 1994). Further, courts have held that "qualified because it also had “firm” plans to “publish a number of . . . ‘document sets’” concerning United States foreign and national security policy." Under this criteria, as well, I qualify as a member of the news media.

Additionally, courts have held that the news media status "focuses on the nature of the requester, not its request. The provision requires that the request be “made by” a representative of the news media. Id. § 552(a)(4)(A)(ii)(II). A newspaper reporter, for example, is a representative of the news media regardless of how much interest there is in the story for which he or she is requesting information." As such, the details of the request itself are moot for the purposes of determining the appropriate fee category.

As my primary purpose is to inform about government activities by reporting on it and making the raw data available, I request that fees be waived.

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,

Emma Best

  • E97117542576fd10f1c89a99870c6af52c8eb48d8_Q39565_R338659_D2106633.pdf

From: United States Customs and Border Protection

This message is to confirm your request submission to the FOIAonline application: View Request. Request information is as follows: (https://www.foiaonline.gov/foiaonline/action/public/submissionDetails?trackingNumber=CBP-2018-086055&type=request)
* Tracking Number: CBP-2018-086055
* Requester Name: Emma Best
* Date Submitted: 09/11/2018
* Request Status: Submitted
* Description: To Whom It May Concern:
Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:
Memos, emails, letters and reports relating to or mentioning liaising on UAV programs between any combination of the FBI, DHS and CBP, including but not limited to training and the loan of any UAVs such as (but not limited to) the MQ-9 Predator as described in the attached email released through FOIA.
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,
Emma Best

From: United States Customs and Border Protection

The FOIA request CBP-2018-086055 has had its Tracking Number changed to CBP-OIT-2018-086055. This is normally due to the request being transferred to another agency (for example, EPA to Dept. of Commerce) or to a sub-agency to process it. Additional details for this request are as follows:
* Old Tracking Number: CBP-2018-086055
* New Tracking Number: CBP-OIT-2018-086055
* Requester Name: Emma Best
* Date Submitted: 09/11/2018
* Long Description: To Whom It May Concern:
Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:
Memos, emails, letters and reports relating to or mentioning liaising on UAV programs between any combination of the FBI, DHS and CBP, including but not limited to training and the loan of any UAVs such as (but not limited to) the MQ-9 Predator as described in the attached email released through FOIA.
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,
Emma Best

From: United States Customs and Border Protection

The FOIA request - CBP-OIT-2018-086055 description has been modified. Additional details for this item are as follows:
* Tracking Number: CBP-OIT-2018-086055
* Requester: Emma Best
* Submitted Date: 09/11/2018
* Description: To Whom It May Concern:
Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:
Memos, emails, letters and reports relating to or mentioning liaising on UAV programs between any combination of the FBI, DHS and CBP, including but not limited to training and the loan of any UAVs such as (but not limited to) the MQ-9 Predator as described in the attached email released through FOIA.
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,
Emma Best

From: United States Customs and Border Protection

Emma Best
MuckRock News, 411A Highland Ave DEPT MR 60320 Somerville MA 02144
09/14/2018
CBP-OIT-2018-086055
Dear Emma Best:
This automated notice acknowledges receipt of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) received in the mail from you on 09/11/2018.  Please use the following unique FOIA tracking number CBP-OIT-2018-086055 to track the status of your request.
In the future, please submit your FOIA requests to CBP electronically.  It’s very easy to do, and there are many reasons why filing online is the most expeditious way to submit a FOIA request. How to submit a FOIA request electronically to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)?
To submit a FOIAonline request online simply go to your search engine (i.e., google, etc.) and type FOIAonline, then hit enter.  That will take you to the FOIAonline site.  From there, press the green button on the right “ Create an Account” and follow the prompts to create a FOIAonline account, then press the green button in the middle " Make a FOIA Request" and follow the prompts to submit a FOIA request.
Submitting a FOIA request online is the preferred method (vs. postal mail) for many reasons:
* You will immediately receive a unique FOIA tracking number and acknowledgment that your FOIA request was received by CBP.
* You will be able to track your FOIA request any day/any time through your FOIAonline account.
* You will receive an email to retrieve responsive records or document via your FOIAonline account, when records or documents become available.
* You can view all of your historical FOIA requests via the " dashboard" in your FOIAonline account.
FOIAs requests for travel records require: 1) subject’s name, 2) subject’s date of birth, and 3) third party consent (if applicable).
Sincerely,
U.S. Customs and Border Protection

From: United States Customs and Border Protection

Emma Best
N/A
MuckRock News, 411A Highland Ave DEPT MR 60320 Somerville MA 02144
10/04/2018
CBP-OIT-2018-086055
Dear Emma Best,
After careful review of your FOIA request,  CBP-OIT-2018-086055, we have determined that your request is too broad in scope or did not specifically identify the records which you are seeking. FOIA is not a search mechanism.  Records must be described in reasonably sufficient detail to enable government employees who are familiar with the subject area to locate records without placing an unreasonable burden upon the agency.  For this reason, §5.3(b) of the DHS regulations, 6 C.F.R. Part 5, require that you describe the records you are seeking with as much information as possible to ensure that our search can locate them with a reasonable amount of effort.  Whenever possible, a request should include specific information about each record sought, such as the event that would have created the record, a date range for the request, and subject matter of the records. The FOIA does not require an agency to create new records, answer questions posed by requesters, or attempt to interpret a request that does not identify specific records.
Please update your request by providing the CBP employees name to conduct a mailbox search and timeframe for which you are seeking.
This is not a denial of your request for records. Please resubmit your FOIA request, along with a more detailed description of the records being sought, by logging into your existing FOIAOnline account or creating an account at https://foiaonline.gov. (https://foiaonline.regulations.gov/)
You may contact CBP's FOIA Public Liaison, Charlyse Hoskins, by sending an email via your FOIAonline account, mailing a letter to 90 K St, NE MS 1181, Washington DC, 20229 or by calling 202-325-0150.  The FOIA Public Liaison is able to assist in advising on the requirements for submitting a request, assist with narrowing the scope of a request, assist in reducing delays by advising the requester on the type of records to request, suggesting agency offices that may have responsive records and receive questions or concerns about the agency’s FOIA process. Please notate file number CBP-OIT-2018-086055 on any future correspondence to CBP related to this request.
Additionally, you have a right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) which mediates disputes between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation.  If you are requesting access to your own records (which is considered a Privacy Act request), you should know that OGIS does not have the authority to handle requests made under the Privacy Act of 1974.  You may contact OGIS as follows:  Office of Government Information Services, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road-OGIS, College Park, Maryland 20740-6001, e-mail at ogis@nara.gov; telephone at 202-741-5770; toll free at 1-877-684-6448; or facsimile at 202-741-5769. (mailto:ogis@nara.gov)
Sincerely,
U.S. Customs and Border Protection

From: Emma Best

I am appealing the decision that the request was not specific enough, as it included more than enough information to adequately describe the records sought, and specifically cited existing records that further specify what is being requested and calculate a reasonable search. Case law is firmly on my side on this matter, and the implication that I requested the agency " to create new records, answer questions posed by requesters, or attempt to interpret a request that does not identify specific records" is both incorrect and made in bad faith. The agency's request that I identify the subject of the records is also improper, as I clearly identified this. The events themselves, both in general and a specific example, are also quite clearly framed. There is NO requirement in case law or statute requiring me to limit the request by time range. As said above, case law is firmly on my side - including the recent ruling of Shapiro v. CIA, No. 14-00019, 2016 WL 1069646 (D.D.C. Mar. 17, 2016) (Cooper, J.), which found that "regardless of how onerous it might be to locate them, there can be no dispute about which items are being requested." Per said ruling, "FOIA's reasonable-description requirement does not doom requests that precisely describe the records sought, even if compliance might overwhelm an agency’s response team."

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