FBI-JSOC MOU/MOA (U.S. Special Operations Command - USSOCOM)

Shawn Musgrave filed this request with the U.S. Special Operations Command - USSOCOM of the United States of America.
Tracking # 15-AC-0023-A1
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Appeal
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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 document or documents — often called memorandum of understanding (MOU) or memorandum of agreement (MOA) that outline the current relationship between the FBI and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC)

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not 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,

Shawn Musgrave

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 11, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

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 11, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: USSOCOM FOIA

Hello Mr. Musgrave,

Please find attached the official acknowledgement letter for your recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request addressed to the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) regarding Memorandum of Understanding or Memorandum of Agreement that outline the current relationship between the FBI and the Joint Special Operations Command. We assigned your request USSOCOM Control Number 2014-126.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at FOIA@socom.mil.
Regards,
USSOCOM FOIA Team

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 11, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #2014-126.

Thank you for your help.

From: USSOCOM FOIA

Mr. Musgrave,

I understand that we have not provided you with a final response to your
request as of this date and we apologize for any inconvenience.

According to DoD Regulation 5400.7-R, all FOIA requests are processed in a
first-in, first-out basis and/or based upon complexity, whether it involves
sensitive records, voluminous records, extensive searches, consultation
among DoD components or other agencies, and our administrative workload.
When this request, 2014-126, was acknowledged June 2014, we had a
considerable backlog, we acknowledged receipt of your request, and notified
you that our estimated date of completion is six to nine months.

We are processing FOIA requests as expeditiously as possible and as soon as this
request is finalized, we will provide you with a response.

Thank you for your patience and, again, we apologize for the delay.

v/r

Connie

Connie H. Rupp
USSOCOM FOIA/PA/CL Officer
MacDill AFB, FL 33621
Phone: 813 826-4030
DSN: 299-4030
Red: 299-5990
JWICS: rc06973@socom.ic.gov

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 11, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #2014-126.

Thank you for your help.

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 11, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #2014-126.

Thank you for your help.

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 11, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #2014-126.

Thank you for your help.

From: USSOCOM FOIA

Mr. Musgrave,

Attached is a final response letter to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request you submitted to U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM FOIA 2014-126).
Regards,

USSOCOM FOIA Team

From: Shawn Musgrave

OSD/Joint Staff Freedom of Information, ATTN: Appeals Office
1155 Defense Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301-1155

November 26, 2014

To Whom It May Concern:

This is an appeal for the rejection of FOIA 2014-126 by the UNITED STATES SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND via the attached letter dated November 19, 2014.

In its response letter, USSOCOM FOIA staff invoke exemptions 2, 3, 5 and 6 in withholding one responsive document in its entirety. None of the cited exemptions is applicable to the requested memorandum of agreement/memorandum of understanding requested herein.

As outlined in the rejection letter, exemption 2 pertains to "information that is related solely to agency internal personnel rules and practices." A MOU or MOA as requested here specifically pertains to the relationship among one or more government agencies. It is unclear how exemption 2 applies at all. If it does apply to any portion of the requested document, such portion(s) may be redacted in part, and their existence does not justify withholding the document in full.

As outlined in the rejection letter, exemption 3 "pertains to personnel in sensitive, routinely deployable and overseas units." Again, an MOU or MOA specifically covers the relationship between two agencies, and as such it is unclear how exemption 3 is applicable to the present FOIA request. If it does apply to any portion of the requested document, such portion(s) may be redacted in part, and their existence does not justify withholding the document in full. In any case, USSOCOM has merely cited the exemption without providing justification as to its applicability.

As outlined in the rejection letter, exemption 5 pertains to "inter- and intra-agency records which are both deliberative in nature as well as part of the decisionmaking process." An MOU/MOA is a formal agreement that has been concluded between two agencies. If it has been concluded, it could not be considered deliberative. USSOCOM has provided no indication as to whether the document it identified via its search is a draft MOU/MOA (again, the agency provided precious little detail whatsoever in its rejection). But if invocation of exemption 5 is in this vein, additional scrutiny is merited given that the JSOC relationship between the FBI and USSOCOM goes back to 2006, at least, per media reports. (See, for instance, the Washington Post review: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/inside-the-fbis-secret-relationship-with-the-militarys-special-operations/2014/04/10/dcca3460-be84-11e3-b195-dd0c1174052c_story.html). Agencies cannot classify documents as "draft" indefinitely simply to avoid disclosure.

Finally, as outlined in the rejection letter, exemption 6 pertains to "personal information that, if disclosed, would result in a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." Here, once again, the applicability of the exemption is unclear and USSOCOM has provided zero justification or detail. An MOU/MOA pertains to the relationship between government agencies. Any potential invasions of privacy could be addressed via partial redactions, and a wide-stroke claim as USSOCOM makes here does not justify withholding the requested document in full.

In light of the above, I respectfully request that you remand this request back to USSOCOM for an additional search and release of responsive documents.

Respectfully,

Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: U.S. Special Operations Command - USSOCOM

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello -

Please advise as to the status of this appeal.

Best,
Shawn Musgrave
Reporter, MuckRock

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