Erie County Cellular Tracking Requests (FBI)

Robert Galbraith filed this request with the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America.
Tracking # AP-2015-03997 ; 1326399-000
Status
Rejected

Communications

From: Robert Galbraith

To Whom It May Concern:

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

1. Any and all records of requests made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the Erie County (New York) Sheriff's Office for assistance using cell site simulators, including, but not limited to, investigations on: November 29, 2010; December 9, 2010; January 11, 2011; February 9, 2011; August 15, 2011; November 10, 2011; and January 15, 2014.

2. Any and all records reflecting the number of investigations in which cell site simulators were used with the assistance of the Erie County Sheriff's Office, the number of those investigations that resulted in prosecutions, and the number of those investigations that resulted in convictions.

3. Any and all applications submitted to state or federal courts for warrants, orders, or other authorization (including pen register court orders) for use of Erie County's cell site simulators in criminal investigations, as well as any warrants, orders, authorizations, denials of warrants, denials of orders, denials of authorization, and returns of warrants associated with those applications.

4. Any and all records regarding the use of Erie County's cell site simulators in closed investigations.

5. Date and docket number of any responsive records that are sealed.

6. All associated metadata.

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 is not being made 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,

Robert Galbraith

From: Sobonya, David P. (RMD) (FBI)

Dear Mr. Galbraith,

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>/ or http://www.fbi.gov/foia/. If you require additional assistance please contact the Public Information Officer.

Thank you,

David P. Sobonya
Public Information Officer/GIS
Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS)
FBI-Records Management Division
170 Marcel Drive, Winchester, VA 22602-4843
PIO: (540) 868-4593
Direct: (540) 868-4286
Fax: (540) 868-4391/4997

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

The request has been rejected, with the agency stating that it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of the requested documents.

From: Robert Galbraith

Dear Sir or Madam:

This is an appeal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s decision to withhold records responsive to Freedom of Information Act Request No. 1326399-000, dated April 9, 2015.

On April 9, I requested access to six categories of information, specifically:

1. Any and all records of requests made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the Erie County (New York) Sheriff's Office for assistance using cell site simulators, including, but not limited to, investigations on: November 29, 2010; December 9, 2010; January 11, 2011; February 9, 2011; August 15, 2011; November 10, 2011; and January 15, 2014.

2. Any and all records reflecting the number of investigations in which cell site simulators were used with the assistance of the Erie County Sheriff's Office, the number of those investigations that resulted in prosecutions, and the number of those investigations that resulted in convictions.

3. Any and all applications submitted to state or federal courts for warrants, orders, or other authorization (including pen register court orders) for use of Erie County's cell site simulators in criminal investigations, as well as any warrants, orders, authorizations, denials of warrants, denials of orders, denials of authorization, and returns of warrants associated with those applications.

4. Any and all records regarding the use of Erie County's cell site simulators in closed investigations.

5. Date and docket number of any responsive records that are sealed.

6. All associated metadata.

By letter dated April 24, 2015, which was signed by David M. Hardy, the FBI denied my request in its entirety. The denial letter purports that information responsive to my request is exempt from disclosure under FOIA Exemption 7(E).

I see no reason why this exemption is applicable to my request. Much of the requested information, including all records that may “tend to indicate or reveal locales in which a law enforcement technique may be utilized or would disclose field office capabilities,” has already been made public in response to records requests to the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and by reporting by local and national media. The use of cell site simulators by law enforcement agencies generally, presumably the technique or capability that the FBI seeks to keep secret, is already public knowledge thanks to extensive media coverage. Furthermore, the use of cell site simulators in the particular investigations about which I requested records is also public. Indeed, were it not for the public nature of this information, I would not have known which specific investigations to refer to in my request.

Because responding to my request would not expose any techniques or capabilities that are not already commonly known, I hope that the unjustified denial of my request will be rectified. As the requested information is of timely value, please expedite the consideration of this appeal. In any event, I will expect to receive a decision within 20 business days as is required by statute. Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Sincerely,

Robert Galbraith

From: OIP-NoReply

Please do not reply to this e-mail, as this account is not monitored. To ensure a prompt reply, please direct any inquiries to the contact information listed in the correspondence provided to you. Thank you.

From: OIP-NoReply


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