DOJ Sondra Arquiett incident review order and report

Shawn Musgrave filed this request with the Department of Justice, Office of Information Policy of the United States of America.
Tracking # DOJ-AP-2017- 001533 ; DOJ-AP-2017-001532; AG 15-02856 ; DAG 15-02857 ; ASG 15-02858
Est. Completion Nov. 16, 2016
Status
No Responsive Documents

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 memo, directive or other document that ordered an internal review of agency practices regarding social media accounts in light of the lawsuit filed by Sondra Arquiett and subsequent criticism by Sen. Patrick Leahy.
-Any reports or other documents summarizing findings from the above review.

In a January 2015 article for BuzzFeed (see http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrishamby/justice-department-settles-lawsuit-over-fake-facebook-page#.jrm8ZNpdN), Justice Department spokesman Patrick Rodenbush reportedly indicated that the department "subsequently launched an internal review of agency practices, which is ongoing."

In an October 2014 article for BuzzFeed (see http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrishamby/government-says-federal-agents-can-impersonate-woman-online#.nqLRprw7r), Justice Department spokesperson Brian Fallon was quoted as saying, “The incident at issue in this case is under review by Justice Department officials.”

Given that this FOIA is submitted in my capacity as a journalist who has covered the Department of Justice and law enforcement extensively, I request that I be categorized as a media requester for the purpose of fees. Here is a selection of my published articles on social media and law enforcement:

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2015/apr/06/round-rock-facebook/

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/05/nypd-social-media-policy-allows-catfishing-with-the-proper-paperwork.html

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2014/feb/18/dhs-vancouver-olympics-social-media/

I have also been published in a number of national media outlets on topics including technology used by law enforcement agencies:

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/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/

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2015/jan/12/how-843-lbs-seized-pot-lead-customs-and-border-pro/

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.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: Shawn Musgrave

Hello -

Apologies, but I also meant to include an additional piece of information to help in your search: in a letter dated October 21, 2014, Sen. Leahy wrote that "the Justice Department has indicated that this incident is under review." (A copy of this letter can be found online or attached to this email.)

Best,
Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: MRUFOIA Requests

Mr. Musgrave,

Please see the attached response to your FOIA request. Please note, your request has been assigned tracking number EMRUFOIA040615-1.
Thanks

MRU FOIA

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello,

Per the attached, the FOIA below has been forwarded to DOJ OIP. Please confirm receipt.

Thank you,
Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: Butler, Christina M. (OIP)

Mr. Musgrave,

Attached is our acknowledgement letter to your above-referenced Freedom of Information Act request.
Regards,

Christina M. Butler
Attorney-Advisor
Office of Information Policy
Tel: (202) 616-5476

  • Acknowledgment Letter_Musgrave_AG 15-02856_DAG 15-02857_ASG 15-02858

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello -

Please confirm that I have been classified as a media requester for this FOIA.

Best,
Shawn Musgrave
Investigative reporter, MuckRock

From: Butler, Christina M. (OIP)

Mr. Musgrave,

In response to your inquiry regarding your classification as a media requester, in accordance with Department of Justice regulation 28 C.F.R. § 16.10 (b)(6) (2015), a representative of the news media is any person or entity organized and operated to publish or broadcast news to the public that actively gathers information of potential interest to a segment of the public, uses its editorial skills to turn the raw materials into a distinct work, and distributes that work to an audience. The term ‘‘news’’ means information that is about current events or that would be of current interest to the public. Given your past publication record and as you are currently a staff reporter for MuckRock, individually you have been granted media status. As a “representative of the news media,” you will not be charged search fees.

Christina M. Butler
Attorney-Advisor
Office of Information Policy
Tel: (202) 616-5476

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 April 8, 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 #AG 15-02856 ; DAG 15-02857 ; ASG 15-02858.

Thank you for your help.

From: Butler, Christina M. (OIP)

Mr. Musgrave,

Please be advised that we are still searching for responsive records. We estimate that it will take about two months to process your FOIA requests. This is a preliminary estimate at this time that will likely be modified as our searching is completed, and the volume and complexity of the material is evaluated. We will be able to provide a more accurate estimate once our searches have been completed and we have conducted an initial review of the responsive material.

We appreciate your patience.
Regards,

Christina M. Butler
Attorney-Advisor
Office of Information Policy
Tel: (202) 616-5476

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 April 8, 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 #AG 15-02856 ; DAG 15-02857 ; ASG 15-02858.

Thank you for your help.

From: Butler, Christina M. (OIP)

Mr. Musgrave,
At this time, your request is still being processed. Please be advised that we are still searching for responsive records. As we advised in our e-mail of June 26, 2015, we estimate that it will take about two months to process your FOIA requests; however, we must extend that estimate by approximately three months. As stated in our previous e-mail, this is a preliminary estimate at this time that will likely be modified as our searching is completed, and the volume and complexity of the material is evaluated. We will be able to provide a more accurate estimate once our searches have been completed and we have reviewed the material. Please be assured that we will continue to respond to your status inquiries and provide interim responses, when appropriate.
We appreciate your patience.
Regards,

Christina M. Butler
Attorney-Advisor
Office of Information Policy
Tel: (202) 616-5476

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 April 8, 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 #AG 15-02856 ; DAG 15-02857 ; ASG 15-02858.

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

From: Butler, Christina M. (OIP)

Mr. Musgrave,

At this time, your request is still being processed. Please be advised that we are still searching for responsive records and have located some material that we are reviewing to determine if it is responsive to your request. As we advised in our e-mail of June 26, 2015, we estimate that it will take about two months to process your FOIA requests; however, on August 21, 2015, we extended that estimate by approximately three months. As stated in our previous e-mail, this is a preliminary estimate at this time that will likely be modified as our searching is completed, and the volume and complexity of the material is evaluated. We will be able to provide a more accurate estimate once our searches have been completed and we have reviewed the material. Please be assured that we will continue to respond to your status inquiries and provide interim responses, when appropriate.

We appreciate your patience.
Regards,
Christina M. Butler
Attorney-Advisor
Office of Information Policy
Tel: (202) 616-5476

From: Butler, Christina M. (OIP)

Mr. Musgrave,

At this time, your request is still being processed. Please be advised that we are still searching for responsive records and have located some material that we are reviewing to determine if it is responsive to your request. Please be assured that we will continue to respond to your status inquiries and provide interim responses, when appropriate.
We appreciate your patience.

Christina M. Butler
Attorney-Advisor
Office of Information Policy
Tel: (202) 616-5476

From: Schneider, Allison C. (OIP)

Mr. Musgrave,

I am the new attorney assigned to this request. We are wrapping up our search for responsive documents from the Office of the Associate Attorney General, but searches and review on material from the Offices of the Deputy Attorney General and Attorney General are still ongoing. We will be sure to provide you with status updates as we continue to process your request.

Please don't hesitate to contact me with any additional questions.

Thank you,

Allison C. Schneider
Attorney-Advisor
Office of Information Policy
United States Department of Justice
(202) 514-3642 (Main)
(202) 305-4015 (Direct)

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hi Allison -

Thank you for the update. Do you have a rough estimated completion date for this request?

Best,
Shawn

From: Schneider, Allison C. (OIP)

Shawn,

Please find this Office's response to the above-referenced FOIA request attached.

Thank you,
Allison C. Schneider
Attorney-Advisor
Office of Information Policy
United States Department of Justice
(202) 514-3642 (Main)
(202) 305-4015 (Direct)

From: Schneider, Allison C. (OIP)

Hi Shawn,

In our March 11, 2016 letter to you we provided a 2-3 month estimated date of completion, which still applies. We are continuing our review of potentially responsive records.

Let me know if you have any further questions.
Thanks,
Allison

From: Schneider, Allison C. (OIP)

Hi Shawn,

We are still searching and reviewing records. At this time, we anticipate an additional 2 months to complete processing your request. I apologize for the delay. If you wish to discuss further, feel free to give me a call at the number below.
Thanks,
Allison

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hi Allison -

Thank you for the update.

Best,
Shawn

From: Schneider, Allison C. (OIP)

Hi Shawn,

We are finalizing the searches now. Once the search results are returned and I’m able to review them, I’ll have a better idea of an updated date of completion. I’ll send you a status email next Friday. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Have a nice weekend.

Allison

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hi Allison -

Have a great weekend, too!

-Shawn

From: Schneider, Allison C. (OIP)

Hi Shawn,

No further updates at this time – once I get the search results back I’ll send you an updated status email.
Thanks,
Allison

From: Schneider, Allison C. (OIP)

Hi Shawn,

We are finalizing our review of potentially responsive records and I anticipate having a determination for you within 4-6 weeks. Please let me know if you have any additional questions in the meantime.
Thanks,
Allison

From: Tomasiak, Lisa (OIP)

Hello Mr. Musgrave,

I am the new attorney advisor assigned to work on your request. In response to your status inquiry, please be advised that we are completing our processing of your request and estimate responding to you within the next two weeks. Should this estimation change, we will provide you with an update. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions in the meantime.

Thank you for your patience.

Kind regards,
Lisa M. Tomasiak
Attorney Advisor
Office of Information Policy
U.S. Department of Justice
(202) 514-3642 (Main)

From: Tomasiak, Lisa (OIP)

Mr. Musgrave,

Attached please find a response to your above referenced Freedom of Information Act request. Thank you.

Kind regards,

Lisa M. Tomasiak
Attorney Advisor
Office of Information Policy
U.S. Department of Justice
(202) 514-3642 (Main)

From: Shawn Musgrave

To Whom It May Concern:

I hereby appeal the response of the Office of Information Policy in response to the instant FOIA request, which OIP assigned tracking numbers AG/15-02856 (F) and DAG/15-02857 (F).

In my 04/06/2015 request, I asked for the following records:

-The memo, directive or other document that ordered an internal review of agency practices regarding social media accounts in light of the lawsuit filed by Sondra Arquiett and subsequent criticism by Sen. Patrick Leahy.
-Any reports or other documents summarizing findings from the above review.

In support of my request, I provided the following information, including quotes from Justice Department spokespersons:

-A January 2015 article for BuzzFeed (see http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrishamby/justice-department-settles-lawsuit-over-fake-facebook-page#.jrm8ZNpdN), Justice Department spokesman Patrick Rodenbush reportedly indicated that the department "subsequently launched an internal review of agency practices, which is ongoing."

-An October 2014 article for BuzzFeed (see http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrishamby/government-says-federal-agents-can-impersonate-woman-online#.nqLRprw7r), in which Justice Department spokesperson Brian Fallon was quoted as saying, “The incident at issue in this case is under review by Justice Department officials.”

-An October 2014 letter from Sen. Patrick Leahy to Attorney General Eric Holder about the incident of interest.

In a letter dated November 30, 2016, the Office of Information Policy indicated that no responsive documents had been found in either the Office of the Attorney General of the Office of the Deputy Attorney General.

I hereby appeal the response from the Office of Information Policy on behalf of the above offices. The Justice Department represented via official spokespersons that an internal review was either ongoing or had taken place about the online impersonation of Ms. Arquiett. Such reviews typically require extensive documentation, both at their outset as well as once they are completed. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine how such a review could take place without any records whatsoever being created in light of the interest and criticism of Justice Department actions by a high-ranking, sitting member of Congress.

As such, I ask that you remand this request for good faith search and provision of responsive records.

Respectfully,
Shawn Musgrave

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

01/12/2017 01:27 PM FOIA Request: DOJ-AP-2017-001532

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

01/12/2017 01:28 PM FOIA Request: DOJ-AP-2017-001533

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

DOJ-AP-2017-001533 has been processed with the following final disposition: Affirmed on Appeal -- No records.

  • DOJ-AP-2017-001532, 001533, Musgrave, Shawn, AG, DAG-signed

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