DHS I&A Aug 2015 bulletin re: unmanned aerial vehicles

Shawn Musgrave filed this request with the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Intelligence & Analysis of the United States of America.
Tracking # 2015-IAFO-00214 ; 2016-HQAP-00005
Status
Rejected
Tags

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:

The intelligence bulletin and/or assessment regarding unmanned aerial systems (UAS, aka drones) distributed to law enforcement in August 2015.

Per CBS News (see http://www.cbsnews.com/news/homeland-security-warns-drones-could-be-used-in-attacks/): "CBS News has learned that the Department of Homeland Security has sent an intelligence assessment to police agencies across the country about drones being used as weapons in an attack. The bulletin went out Friday and warned that unmanned aircraft systems or drones could be used in the U.S. to advance terrorist and criminal activities. Law enforcement sources say, "emerging adversary use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems present detection and disruption challenges."

According to federal officials, "The rising trend in UAS incidents within the National Airspace System will continue, as UAS gain wider appeal with recreational users and commercial applications." The bulletin goes on to say, "while many of these encounters are not malicious in nature, they underscore potential security vulnerabilities... that could be used by adversaries to leverage UAS as part of an attack."

Per ABC News (see http://abcnews.go.com/US/sensitive-us-sites-vulnerable-drone-attack-dhs-assessment/story?id=32825708): “We cannot rule [out] the ability of future adversaries to acquire and use a commercially available [drone] as part of an attack within the Homeland," according to the assessment issued Friday by the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis, or I&A. The assessment also describes how drug-trafficking organizations use drones to "monitor law enforcement" along U.S. borders and transport loads, even to people inside prison walls.

Like so many other assessments and bulletins issued routinely by DHS, Friday’s 18-page assessment acts more as an "FYI" than a warning to state and local law enforcement. With recreational use of drones becoming increasingly popular, it will become harder for authorities to detect and stop drones with nefarious intent, according to the assessment.

Since 2012, there have been more than 500 drone "encounters" at sensitive sites across the United States, and 218 of them have been related to the aviation system, the assessment says. “While many of these encounters are not malicious in nature, they underscore potential security vulnerabilities -- that could be used by adversaries to leverage [drones] as part of an attack," the assessment concludes."

Given that this FOIA is submitted in my capacity as a journalist who has covered drones extensively, I request that I be categorized as a media requester for the purpose of fees. Here is a selection of my published articles for 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/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 including drones and other matters pertaining to national security and technologies:

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: Waters, Priscilla

Good afternoon Mr. Musgrave,

Please find attached an acknowledgment of your FOIA request to DHS I&A.

V/r,

Priscilla Waters, J.D.
Office of Intelligence and Analysis
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Officer
Unclass: (202) 447-4883
Unclass: Priscilla.Waters@hq.dhs.gov

"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary." Vince Lombardi

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 Aug. 2, 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 #2015-IAFO-00214.

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

From: I&AFOIA

Good afternoon Mr. Musgrave,

Please find attached the final response to your August 11, 2015 FOIA request to DHS I&A.

V/r,

Priscilla Waters, J.D.
Office of Intelligence and Analysis
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Officer
Unclass: (202) 447-4883
Unclass: Priscilla.Waters@hq.dhs.gov

"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary." Vince Lombardi

From: Shawn Musgrave

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

To Whom It May Concern:

This is an appeal for all redactions in responsive documents for FOIA request 2015-IAFO-00214. As described in the attached letter, entire pages have been withheld unnecessarily in their entirety, rather than withheld in part with partial redactions.

On 08/11/2015, I requested the following documents from the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Intelligence & Analysis: "The intelligence bulletin and/or assessment regarding unmanned aerial systems (UAS, aka drones) distributed to law enforcement in August 2015."

The bulletin in question was widely reported by the media. I included a number of media citations in my original letter.

On 09/24/2015, DHS I&A provided responsive documents. However, 18 pages were withheld in full. Those portions which were not withheld indicate that much of the bulletin was written based off of open-source reporting and court testimony. It is difficult to understand how information that is already public can be withheld pursuant to this FOIA request.

FOIA requires partial release of documents where appropriate. As such, I request that you remand this request back to DHS I&A for reprocessing.

Respectfully,
Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From:


None

From: Meus, Lauren M CIV

Mr. Musgrave:

Please find attached the FOIA Appeal decision issued by Judge Smith's office in the above matter. Should you have any questions, please reach out to the judge's office directly.

Thank you,

Lauren Meus
Hearing Docket Clerk
U.S. Coast Guard

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