DHS FOIA staff "Musgrave" and "MuckRock" emails Apr 23 to May 2, 2014

Shawn Musgrave filed this request with the Department of Homeland Security of the United States of America.
Tracking # 2014 HQFO-00492 ; 2014-HQAP-00066
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 emails, memos and other correspondence/communications sent or received by staffers in the DHS Privacy Office, including but not limited to Mia Day, on April 23 and May 2, 2014 that include the following keywords:

"Musgrave"
"MuckRock"

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

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: Busch, Maura

Shawn,

As per our phone conversation regarding your above FOIA request for emails sent by DHS PRIV staffers and Mia Day on April 23 and May 2, 2014, please reply via email that you have
amended your request so that you are now only seeking emails sent by Mia Day from April 23, 2014 through May 2, 2014.

Thank you in advance for your continued cooperation.

V/R,

Maura Busch
Government Information Specialist
Privacy Office
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Main: 1.866.431.0486
Direct: (202) 343-1742
Fax: (202) 343-4011
Visit our FOIA website<http://www.dhs.gov/foia>

From: Busch, Maura

Shawn,

Here is our ack ltr for this one.

Had an issue sending it out via FX so just emailing it to you.

Please reply to my email to you from yesterday that you agreed to amend the request as set forth in the ltr-we need it for the
Administrative record.

Thanks.

Maura Busch
Government Information Specialist
Privacy Office
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

From: Shawn Musgrave

Received. I concur with this narrowing of the request as indicated in the acknowledgement letter.

Please let me know if I can provide any further clarification.

Best,
Shawn Musgrave

From: Busch, Maura

thx

From: Busch, Maura

Shawn,

Here is the revised ack ltr combining the two requests.

Maura Busch
Government Information Specialist
Privacy Office
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

From: Shawn Musgrave

Maura -

I affirm the revision of this request and closing of 2014-HQFO-00494, but will be appealing the commercial categorization right now.

-Shawn

From: Shawn Musgrave

Ms. Busch -

A copy of the appeal below has been sent to the indicated address.

Thank you.

========

Associate General Counsel (General Law)
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Mailstop 0655,
Washington, D.C. 20528

May 8, 2014

To Whom It May Concern:

This is an appeal of fee category for FOIA 2014 HQFO-00492.

In its acknowledgement letter (attached), the Department of Homeland Security Privacy Office has categorized me as a commercial requester for the purposes of fees.

As I have appealed repeatedly over the past several months, DHS and its component agencies persist in categorizing me as commercial (and in some cases of more gracious "administrative error," as non-commercial/other) when my correct category for the purposes of fees under FOIA is as a representative of the news media.

Just as appeals authorities for DHS have found to be the case in recent FOIA determinations (see, for instance, the determination of appeal 20014-HQAP-00032 as submitted by Robert Delaware, another MuckRock user), here DHS has failed to substantiate its basis for determining that I intend to use the requested information for commercial purposes. The requested documents will be posted online for free via MuckRock. DHS has provided no basis for determining that my primary interest in these documents are anything other than journalistic.

Furthermore, I have substantiated in numerous previous instances that my intentions for documents requested under FOIA are journalistic in nature. The requested documents will be synthesized into a distinct journalistic work that will be disseminated to the public. My basis for this claim is not only that the requested documents will be posted in full online for the general public on MuckRock (although such posting is relevant as it relates to widespread dissemination in the public interest). My history of publication in a number of outlets — including via MuckRock's news coverage, as well as a range of print and online publications — substantiates my claim sufficiently to justify my categorization as a journalist for this request. In particular, I have written widely on issues of transparency and FOIA.

In keeping with the 2007 FOIA amendments and procedures for determining fee status as a journalist, here is a sampling of recent articles as proof of publication history:

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2014/may/08/ofcourse-dhs-secretary-janet-napolitano-used-email/

betaboston.com/news/2014/03/05/a-vast-hidden-surveillance-network-runs-across-america-powered-by-the-repo-industry/

www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/12/14/boston-police-suspend-use-high-tech-licence-plate-readers-amid-privacy-concerns/B2hy9UIzC7KzebnGyQ0JNM/story.html

www/bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/04/08/big-brother-better-police-work-new-technology-automatically-runs-license-plates-everyone/1qoAoFfgp31UnXZT2CsFSK/story.html

http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/syracuse-home-to-an-air-force-drone-squadron-banned-drones

http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/the-nypd-is-foia-proof

bostonherald.com/news_opinion/opinion/op_ed/2013/11/state_often_keeps_public_in_dark

The above is more than sufficient basis for amending my fee categorization from commercial to representative of the news media. In light of the above, I request that my categorization be changed immediately, and that DHS and its component agencies cease their ridiculous claims that my requests are appropriately categorized as commercial for the purposes of FOIA fees.

Respectfully,

Shawn Musgrave

From: Lasko, Linda

Mr. Musgrave,

Attached, please find our acknowledgment of receipt of your appeal of the response to FOIA case 2014-HQFO-00492.

Sincerely,

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

202-343-1743 (Main FOIA Number)

Visit our FOIA website

This communication, along with any attachments, is covered by federal and state law governing electronic communications and may contain confidential and legally privileged information. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, use or copying of this message is strictly prohibited. If you have received this in error, please reply immediately to the sender and delete this message. Thank you.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hi Maura,

Sorry I missed your calls -- the first voicemail was not clear as to the scope of your proposal to narrow the provided records. I'm fine with not receiving any acknowledgement letters or official correspondence that have already been provided to me, if that was your proposal?

Per the second voicemail, it is fine with me that Mia Day conducted the search for responsive documents, provided that the search was adequate and thorough.

Best,
Shawn

From: Busch, Maura

Yes that is it thx....response is in for review.

From: foia@hq.dhs.gov

From: Meus, Lauren M CIV

Mr. Musgrave:

Please find attached the FOIA Appeal decision issued by Judge Metry's office.

Thank you,

Lauren Meus
Hearing Docket Clerk

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