Email metadata of Michael Hutson

Evan Anderson filed this request with the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America.
Tracking # 1347603-000, DOJ-AP-2016- 003316
Status
Rejected

Communications

From: Evan Anderson

To Whom It May Concern:

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

All email metadata belonging to the email account of Michael Hutson, who uses the email address Michael.Hutson@ic.fbi.gov. I am specifically seeking the "To," "From," and "Date" fields. I am not seeking the "Subject" field at this time. The time frame for which I am seeking records is between his first day as an FBI employee and the date this request is processed.

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,

Evan Anderson

From: Early, Holly H. (RMD) (FBI)

Dear Mr. Anderson,

The FBI has received your Freedom of Information Act/Privacy (FOIPA) request and it will be forwarded to Initial Processing for review. Your request will be processed under the provisions of FOIPA and a response will be mailed to you at a later date.

Requests for fee waivers and expedited processing will be addressed once your request has been assigned an FOIPA request number. You will receive written notification of the FBI’s decision.

Information regarding the Freedom of Information Act/Privacy is available at http://www.fbi.gov<http://www.fbi.gov>/, http://www.fbi.gov/foia/ or http://www.justice.gov/oip. If you require additional assistance please contact the Public Information Officer.

Thank you,

Holly Early
Public Liaison/GIS
Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS)
FBI-Records Management Division
170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
PIO: (540) 868-4593
Direct: (540) 868-4854
Fax: (540) 868-4391/4997
E-mail: foiparequest@ic.fbi.gov<mailto:foiparequest@ic.fbi.gov>
Questions E-mail: foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov<mailto:foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov>

Do you have further questions about the FOI/PA process? Visit us at http://www.fbi.gov/foia

Please check the status of your request online at http://www.fbi.gov/foia by clicking on the CHECK STATUS OF YOUR FOI/PA REQUEST under the FOIA INDEX located on the right side of the page. Status updates are performed on a weekly basis.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

A fix is required to perfect the request.

From: Evan Anderson

Hi,

I am confused. In your response, you state that I am seeking "records concerning one or more third party individuals." Are you referring to Michael Hutson, or other individuals whose email addresses would be included in the records provided to me? Is it the position of your agency that email addresses are private information? Does this position cover all email addresses, or only those associated with private individuals not associated with any government agency? Please clarify so I can tailor my request appropriately.

Thank you,
Evan

From: Early, Holly H. (RMD) (FBI)

Dear Evan,

Yes, the response you received refers to Michael Hutson. Email addresses belonging to individuals and the data associated with them are considered records concerning a third party.

In the absence of express authorization from the Michael Hutson, proof of his death, or a clear demonstration that public interest in disclosure outweighs personal privacy, the FBI can neither confirm nor deny the existence of any records responsive to your request, which, if they were to exist, would be exempted from disclosure pursuant to FOIA Exemptions 5 U.S.C. §§552 (b)(6) and (b)(7)(C).

Thank you,

Holly Early
Public Liaison/GIS
Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS)
FBI-Records Management Division
170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
PIO: (540) 868-4593
Direct: (540) 868-4854
Fax: (540) 868-4391/4997
E-mail: foiparequest@ic.fbi.gov<mailto:foiparequest@ic.fbi.gov>
Questions E-mail: foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov<mailto:foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov>

Do you have further questions about the FOI/PA process? Visit us at http://www.fbi.gov/foia

Please check the status of your request online at http://www.fbi.gov/foia by clicking on the CHECK STATUS OF YOUR FOI/PA REQUEST under the FOIA INDEX located on the right side of the page. Status updates are performed on a weekly basis.

From: Evan Anderson

Hi,

Michael Hutson is on a Joint Terrorism Task Force with the FBI. I am not sure who the third party you refer to is. Please clarify.

Thank you,
Evan

From: Early, Holly H. (RMD) (FBI)

Dear Evan,

Michael Hutson is the third party. He maintains a privacy interest regarding his email address. You must provide a waiver, or clearly demonstrate how public interest in the requested information outweighs Mr. Hutson’s privacy interest.

Thank you,

Holly Early
Public Liaison/GIS
Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS)
FBI-Records Management Division
170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
PIO: (540) 868-4593
Direct: (540) 868-4854
Fax: (540) 868-4391/4997
E-mail: foiparequest@ic.fbi.gov<mailto:foiparequest@ic.fbi.gov>
Questions E-mail: foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov<mailto:foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov>

Do you have further questions about the FOI/PA process? Visit us at http://www.fbi.gov/foia

Please check the status of your request online at http://www.fbi.gov/foia by clicking on the CHECK STATUS OF YOUR FOI/PA REQUEST under the FOIA INDEX located on the right side of the page. Status updates are performed on a weekly basis.

From: Evan Anderson

To Whom It May Concern:

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

All email metadata belonging to the email account of Michael Hutson, a member of a Joint Terrorism Task Force. I am specifically seeking the "To," "From," and "Date" fields. I am not seeking the "Subject" field at this time. The time frame for which I am seeking records is between his first day as an FBI employee and the date this request is processed.

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,

Evan Anderson

From: Early, Holly H. (RMD) (FBI)

Dear Mr. Anderson,

The FBI has received your additional correspondence regarding your Freedom of Information Act/Privacy (FOIPA) request and it has been forwarded to the assigned analyst for review. If appropriate, a response will be forthcoming.

You have requested records concerning one or more third party individuals. The FBI recognizes an important privacy interest in the requested information. You may receive greater access to these records (if they exist) by providing one of the following: (1) an authorization and consent from the individual(s) (i.e., express authorization and consent of the third party); (2) proof of death (i.e., proof that your subject is deceased); or (3) a justification that the public interest in disclosure outweighs personal privacy (i.e., a clear demonstration that the public interest in disclosure outweighs personal property interests).

The U. S. Department of Justice CERTIFICATION OF IDENTITY (Authorization to Release Information to Another Person)-FORM DOJ-361<http://www.fbi.gov/foia/u.s.-department-of-justice-form-361-certification-of-identity> can be used to provide consent. The form is also available at http://www.fbi.gov<http://www.fbi.gov>/, http://www.fbi.gov/foia/<http://foia.fbi.gov> or http://www.justice.gov/oip/. Note-please provide the following information on the OPTIONAL: Authorization to Release Information to Another Person line: Your name, title/business (if applicable) and a complete and current mailing address. Acceptable forms of proof of death include; obituaries, death certificates, recognized sources that can be documented, written media, Who’s Who in America, FBI file that indicates person is deceased or the Social Security Death Index. A waiver or proof of death is not required if date of birth is 100 years ago or greater. Note-a web link in itself does not satisfy proof of death.

Please return the form or letter to one of the following: by mail: FBI, Attn: FOIPA Request, 170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843, by fax: (540) 868-4391/4997 or by e-mail: foiparequest@ic.fbi.gov. You may submit an attachment listing additional information that may aid in locating responsive records. Please place your name and contact information on the attachment.

Information regarding the Freedom of Information/Privacy Act is available at http://www.fbi.gov<http://www.fbi.gov>/ or http://www.fbi.gov/foia/. If you require additional assistance please contact the Public Information Officer.

Thank you,

Holly Early
Public Liaison/GIS
Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS)
FBI-Records Management Division
170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
PIO: (540) 868-4593
Direct: (540) 868-4854
Fax: (540) 868-4391/4997
E-mail: foiparequest@ic.fbi.gov<mailto:foiparequest@ic.fbi.gov>
Questions E-mail: foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov<mailto:foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov>

Do you have further questions about the FOI/PA process? Visit us at http://www.fbi.gov/foia

Please check the status of your request online at http://www.fbi.gov/foia by clicking on the CHECK STATUS OF YOUR FOI/PA REQUEST under the FOIA INDEX located on the right side of the page. Status updates are performed on a weekly basis.

From: Evan Anderson

Is it the position of the FBI that emails of their employees are a matter of privacy? Does the invocation of privacy concerns in response to my FOIA relate specifically to the fact that I am requesting metadata?

From: FOIPAQUESTIONS

Dear Mr. Anderson,

The FBI has received your additional correspondence regarding your Freedom of Information Act/Privacy (FOIPA) request and it has been forwarded to the assigned analyst for review. If appropriate, a response will be forthcoming.

Additional information regarding the FOIPA may be accessed at http://www.fbi.gov/ or http://www.fbi.gov/foia/.

If you require additional assistance please contact me.

Thank you,

Holly Early
Public Liaison/GIS
Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS)
FBI-Records Management Division
170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
PIO: (540) 868-4593
Direct: (540) 868-4854
Fax: (540) 868-4391/4997
E-mail: foiparequest@ic.fbi.gov<mailto:foiparequest@ic.fbi.gov>
Questions E-mail: foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov<mailto:foipaquestions@ic.fbi.gov>

Do you have further questions about the FOI/PA process? Visit us at http://www.fbi.gov/foia

Please check the status of your request online at http://www.fbi.gov/foia by clicking on the CHECK STATUS OF YOUR FOI/PA REQUEST under the FOIA INDEX located on the right side of the page. Status updates are performed on a weekly basis.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

The request has been rejected, with the agency stating that the information or document(s) requested are exempt from disclosure.

From: Evan Anderson

To Whom it May Concern:

The FBI has rejected my FOIA request, copied below, for the email metadata of Michael Hutson, a member of a Joint Terrorism Task Force. Specifically, I requested the following: "All email metadata belonging to the email account of Michael Hutson, who uses the email address Michael.Hutson@ic.fbi.gov. I am specifically seeking the "To," "From," and "Date" fields. I am not seeking the "Subject" field at this time. The time frame for which I am seeking records is between his first day as an FBI employee and the date this request is processed."

The FBI has rejected my request on privacy grounds, but has not explained how disclosure of these records would "constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy," nor how these records "could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." Emails are a matter of public record and are not exempt under FOIA. Emails are frequently requested from the FBI, and the FBI grants those requests. For example, see here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/04/20/fbi-memos-surveillance-secrecy/83280968/

Furthermore, courts have ruled that email metadata falls under the FOIA. See here: https://www.rcfp.org/browse-media-law-resources/news-media-law/news-media-and-law-spring-2011/requesting-metadata-electro

It is unclear if the FBI is arguing that any emails sent to or from Michael Hutson are exempt due to personal privacy, or if this is specifically related to the fact that the request is for metadata. Additionally, the FBI may be arguing that whether or not Michael Hutson is a member of a Joint Terrorism Task Force is something the agency cannot disclose. However, a simple Google search reveals several references in the public record of Michael Hutson being a member of a JTTF. For example, see the last page of this presentation, which appears to have been created by Michael Hutson, in which he identifies himself as a member of a JTTF: http://freepress.org/sites/default/files/associated/11_Terrorism.pdf

Finally, a previous records request with the Pennsylvania State Police revealed that Michael Hutson has both a Pennsylvania State Police email address and an FBI email address. It is therefore a matter of public record that Michael Hutson, at the very least, has an email address with the FBI. The contents of his email account, and the associated metadata, are a matter of public record and not exempt under the FOIA. Please remand this request back to the FBI for a good faith review, as per their obligation under the FOIA.

Thank you,
Evan

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

06/01/2016 01:32 PM FOIA Request: DOJ-AP-2016-003316

From: OIP-NoReply@usdoj.gov

DOJ-AP-2016-003316 has been processed with the following final disposition: Affirmed on Appeal.

Files

pages

Close