Employee misconduct in chemical weapons stores

Brandon Smith filed this request with the U.S. Army Materiel Command of the United States of America.
Tracking # FP-15-014343/FA-15-0005 ; F-15-011827
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Brandon Smith

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the records enumerated below, created in the following date range: Jan. 1, 1995 to March 1, 2015.

This request has been sent to the U.S. Army Materiel Command. Similar requests have been sent to the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center, the Office of the Inspector General, and the Office of Special Counsel.

Please note that, throughout this FOIA request, the catch-all term "the facilities" is used to refer to all chemical weapons storage and/or disposal facilities at Blue Grass Army Depot (KY) and U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot (CO). Also, we define "employee" or "personnel" to mean any government or military employee, as well as any employee of a U.S. government contractor working at those facilities.

+ Any rules or regulations regarding conduct by employees of the facilities that are unique to those facilities.

+ Any public records of reprimand or disciplinary action against employees of the facilities, whether or not the employees were physically present at the facilities at the time of the infraction.

+ Organizational charts of the personnel at the facilities in question.

+ Office of Inspector General (OIG) reports about personnel at the facilities that
were found inconclusive or unsubstantiated.

+ OIG reports about personnel at the facilities that were substantiated and/or lead to disciplinary action, including description of the disciplinary action itself.

+ Any substantiated complaints made under the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) by the facilities' personnel; copies of all correspondence with the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) regarding those complaints; copies of all reports or rulings by the Office of Special Counsel regarding the complaints.

+ The number of WPA complaints made by facilities' personnel that are still being evaluated by OSC; the number of WPA complaints made by facilities' personnel that were found to be inconclusive or unsubstantiated.

+ Any substantiated allegations of sexual harrassment/assault occurring at or by facilities' personnel.

+ Any declassified records, or records that by law should be declassified, of unauthorized access at the facilities, and all reports on the subsequent investigation into that access.

+ Declassified and/or public records of detected computer network breaches, hacks, or other unauthorized computer access into servers or workstations intended for use by facilities' employees.

The request is not for commercial use. The documents are being requested by a member of the news media for use in a news report, and will eventually be made available to the general public free of charge via the public information service MuckRock.com.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I request that you 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. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions about my request.

Sincerely,

Brandon Smith

From: USARMY Redstone Arsenal USAMC Mailbox FOIA

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

Electronically Sent:

AMCIO-IAR March 13, 2015

MuckRock News,
ATTN: Brandon Smith
DEPT MR 16460, PO Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

SUBJECT: FOIA Request (FOIA Reference Number: FP-15-011827/ FA-15-0022)

Dear Mr. Smith:

This letter formally responds to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request received by this office on March 2, 2015, requesting information on records of employee misconduct at all chemical weapons storage and/or disposal facilities at Blue Grass Army Depot (KY) and US Army Pueblo Chemical Depot (CO). Your FOIA request reference number is FP-011827/FA-15-0022. Please refer to this reference number when corresponding with this office concerning your request.

The HQ AMC FOIA office is not the owner of the requested records; therefore, I’m referring your request to AMC APG Legal Center, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate that has purview for the information that you are requesting. The AMC APG Legal Center FOIA Office contact information is:

AMC APG Legal Center,
Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, ATTN: CMA FOIA Office
6001 Combat Drive, Room C3-127
Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21005
ALC-APG E-FOIA address: usarmy.apg.usamc.mbx.alc-apg-FOIA@mail.mil

Upon receipt of your request, the AMC APG FOIA Office will advise you how they will process your request. Additionally, they may refer your request to the appropriate subcomponent to review, make a release determination, and provide a formal response to you.

Thank you for your time. If you need further assistance from this office, please call or e-mail me at Gregory.d.turner12.civ@mail.mil or call me at (256) 450-7061.

Very Respectfully,

Gregory D. Turner
HQ AMC G6, Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Request Officer (FOIA/PA)
4400 Martin Road, Redstone Arsenal, Al 35898
Phone: 256-450-7061, DSN: 320-7061, Fax: 256-450-8812

FOIA Email: usarmy.redstone.usamc.mbx.foia@mail.mil
NIPR Email: Gregory.d.turner12.civ@mail.mil
SIPR Email: Gregory.d.turner12.civ@mail.smil.mil

From: MuckRock

Hello,

This FOIA request has been forwarded to your office for processing. Confirmation of receipt and an estimated date of completion would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

From: U.S. Army Materiel Command

The request has been forwarded from one agency to another agency or department for further review or follow up.

From: Johnson, Valaria R (Ria) CIV (US)

Electronically Sent:

AMSEL-LG March 26, 2015

MuckRock News,
ATTN: Brandon Smith
DEPT MR 16460, PO Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

SUBJECT: FOIA Request (FOIA Reference Number: FP-15-011827/ FA-15-0022)

Dear Mr. Smith:

This letter formally responds to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request referred from Army Material Command FOIA Office to this office on March 18, 2015, where you are requesting information on records of employee misconduct at all chemical weapons storage and/or disposal facilities at Blue Grass Army Depot (KY) and US Army Pueblo Chemical Depot (CO). Your FOIA request reference number is FP-15-014343/FA-15-0005. Please refer to this reference number when corresponding with this office concerning your request.

Our attorneys are reviewing your fee waiver request and I will contact you to let you know their decisions.

Thank you for your time. If you need further assistance from this office, please call or e-mail me at Valaria.r.johnson.civ@mail.mil or call me at (443) 861-5232.

Thank You,

Valaria (Ria) R. Johnson
ALC APG Paralegal Specialist & FOIA Officer
CMA HQPrivacy Officer
APG ADR/Mediation Program Advisor
443-861-5232

From: Johnson, Valaria R (Ria) CIV (US)

Electronically Sent:

AMSEL-LG April 2, 2015

MuckRock News,
ATTN: Brandon Smith
DEPT MR 16460, PO Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

SUBJECT: FOIA Request (FOIA Reference Number: FP-15-011827/ FA-15-0022)

Dear Mr. Smith:

This letter is in response to your request for a waiver of all fees associated with the processing of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated March 18, 2015, where you are requesting information on records of employee misconduct at all chemical weapons storage and/or disposal facilities at Blue Grass Army Depot (KY) and US Army Pueblo Chemical Depot (CO). Your FOIA request reference number is FP-15-014343/FA-15-0005. Please refer to this reference number when corresponding with this office concerning your request.

In accordance with AR 25-55, The Department of the Army Freedom of Information Act Program, Section 6-103, a decision to waive or reduce fees is made on a case-by-case basis; and based on your request we are in need of further information in order to approve or deny your request. lAW AR 25-55, and McClellan Ecological Seepage Situation v. Carlucci, 835 F.2d 1282, 1286 (9th Cir. 1987) outlines six criteria that should be considered in granting a fee waiver request. Please provide additional information for us to consider in meeting each criteria:

a. How does the subject of your request concern identifiable operations or activities of the Government?

b. How is your requested information meaningfully informative in relation to the subject matter of the request?

c. How does the information requested contribute to the public's understanding at large as opposed to individual or a narrow segment of interested persons?

d. How does the information requested contribute significantly to the public's understanding of government operations or activities?

e. How is the information requested not considered for commercial interest?

f. Will there be any cost to receive the information requested from your organization?

Please provide these answers within the next 30 days in order for the processing of your request to continue. If no response is given within 30 days following receipt of this letter, your case will be administratively closed.

If you consider this response to be an adverse action you may administratively appeal in writing to the Secretary of the Army. Since all appeals must first go through the Initial Denial Authority, (Ruth Flanders), any such appeal should be addressed to this office for forwarding to the Army General Counsel, which is the U.S. Army appellate authority. You are advised that any appeal filed should reach the appellate authority no later than 60 days following receipt of this letter.

Should you have questions regarding this response, I can be reached at (43)861-5232.

Sincerely,

Valaria (Ria) R. Johnson
ALC APG Paralegal Specialist & FOIA Officer
CMA HQPrivacy Officer
APG ADR/Mediation Program Advisor
443-861-5232

From: Brandon Smith

Dear Ms. Johnson:

I will respond to each point individually.

a. How does the subject of your request concern identifiable operations or activities of the Government?

While the government may contract with one or more private entities to complete the work being done at the sites in question, all the materials stored at the sites are ultimately owned and managed by the government. Since I am seeking all government-held records of all discipline, that includes all government-held records of discipline even if it concerns an employee of a private contractor.

b. How is your requested information meaningfully informative in relation to the subject matter of the request?

If you wish to challenge me on this point, please challenge me with specific questions. That is, I do not see a meaningful difference (in the context of my request) between the "requested information" and the "subject matter of the request."

c. How does the information requested contribute to the public's understanding at large as opposed to individual or a narrow segment of interested persons?

I am not planning to report my findings in a trade journal of military operations or weapons of mass destruction (if such a journal even exists). I am intending to report my findings in a general-interest news outlet, for a general audience, as I have done with the vast majority of my reporting since 2006. By definition of our status in the journalism profession, only I (the journalist) and my editors can determine what is of interest to a broad swath of the public. We believe this material is.

d. How does the information requested contribute significantly to the public's understanding of government operations or activities?

The U.S. is one of the few nations left in the world (even fewer among wealthy nations) to maintain a stockpile of chemical weapons. I intend to report on the (now long-delayed) process of disposing of said chemical weapons. Any information pertaining to this process, including but not limited to disciplinary records, is germane to "the public's understanding of government operations or activities."

e. How is the information requested not considered for commercial interest?

The information disclosed in response to this FOIA request will not be used outside the context of reporting one or more news stories.

f. Will there be any cost to receive the information requested from your organization?

I believe this question pertains to the public's ability to access these documents, once they are released to me (and thus the outlet I ultimately publish in). There will be no cost to the public to access these documents from us. They will be made freely available to the public on a site like muckrock.com.

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 March 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 #FP-15-014343/FA-15-0005 ; F-15-011827.

Thank you for your help.

From: Johnson, Valaria R (Ria) CIV (US)

Mr. Brandon Smith,

I just received an approval for your fee waiver and as you are fully aware not all of the records requested full under the purview of my office. I can answer the following portions of your request:

Records created in the following date range: Jan. 1, 1995 to March 1, 2015 at Blue Grass Army Depot (KY) and U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot (CO).

+ Any rules or regulations regarding conduct by employees of the facilities that are unique to those facilities.

+ Any public records of reprimand or disciplinary action against employees of the facilities, whether or not the employees were physically present at the facilities at the time of the infraction.

+ Organizational charts of the personnel at the facilities in question.

+ Any substantiated allegations of sexual harassment/assault occurring at or by facilities' personnel.

+ Any declassified records, or records that by law should be declassified, of unauthorized access at the facilities, and all reports on the subsequent investigation into that access.

+ Declassified and/or public records of detected computer network breaches, hacks, or other unauthorized computer access into servers or workstations intended for use by facilities' employees.

The additional organizations that you included in this request should be able to answer the remainder of your request.

Please let me know if you have any questions:

Thank You,

Valaria (Ria) R. Johnson
ALC APG Paralegal Specialist & FOIA Officer
CMA HQ Privacy Officer
APG ADR/Mediation Program Advisor
443-861-5232

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 March 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 #FP-15-014343/FA-15-0005 ; F-15-011827.

Thank you for your help.

From: Johnson, Valaria R (Ria) CIV (US)

Mr. Smith,

This is an interim release determination response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request #FP-15-014343/FA-15-0005; F-15-011827 dated May 7, 2015. I apologize in advance for our lateness. Your request is being processed in accordance with Title 5 United States Code 552, The Freedom of Information Act. Your request was assigned CMA FOIA #FP-15-014343/FA-15-0005 ; F-15-011827.

Portions of the records received and reviewed are exempt from release under FOIA exemption (b) (6) personal information contained in government files when privacy interest in material outweighs public benefit to be gained by the release of such material.

However, as a releasing agent only, I may not deny your request, but must instead refer it to the Initial Denial Authority (IDA), if you request such referral in writing. Please advise this office in writing no later than July 30, 2015, if you desire to take the steps necessary to initiate the formal denial process. This response should not be construed as a denial of any portion of your request. When responding please refer to CMA FOIA #FP-15-014343/FA-15-0005 ; F-15-011827.

Point of contact is the undersigned, CMA FOIA Officer, 443-861-5232, email: valaria.r.johnson.civ@mail.mil. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have questions.

Sincerely,
//ORIGINAL SIGNED//
VALARIA R. JOHNSON
FOIA OFFICER, CMA

From: Johnson, Valaria R (Ria) CIV (US)

Mr. Smith,

This is a 2nd interim release determination response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request #FP-15-014343/FA-15-0005; F-15-011827 dated May 7, 2015. I apologize in advance for our lateness. Your request is being processed in accordance with Title 5 United States Code 552, The Freedom of Information Act. Your request was assigned CMA FOIA #FP-15-014343/FA-15-0005 ; F-15-011827.

Portions of the records received and reviewed are exempt from release under FOIA exemption (b) (6) personal information contained in government files when privacy interest in material outweighs public benefit to be gained by the release of such material.

However, as a releasing agent only, I may not deny your request, but must instead refer it to the Initial Denial Authority (IDA), if you request such referral in writing. Please advise this office in writing no later than July 30, 2015, if you desire to take the steps necessary to initiate the formal denial process. This response should not be construed as a denial of any portion of your request. When responding please refer to CMA FOIA #FP-15-014343/FA-15-0005 ; F-15-011827.

Point of contact is the undersigned, CMA FOIA Officer, 443-861-5232, email: valaria.r.johnson.civ@mail.mil. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have questions.

Sincerely,
//ORIGINAL SIGNED//
VALARIA R. JOHNSON
FOIA OFFICER, CMA

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