Federal Trade Commission (WikiLeaks)

A. O'Brien filed this request with the Federal Trade Commission of the United States of America.
Tracking #




From: Alexa O'Brien

November 27, 2013

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter constitutes a request under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552, and is submitted on behalf of journalist Alexa O’Brien.

I seek any and all documents in the Federal Trade Commission’s possession that pertain to the WikiLeaks website or organization from January 2006 to the present date.

I am a “representative of the news media” for fee waiver purposes. See Project on Military Procurement v. Department of the Navy, 710 F. Supp. 362, 363, 365 (D.C.D. 1989). My work has been published in The Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Guardian UK, Salon, and featured by PBS Frontline, On The Media and Public Radio International. Based on my status as a “news media” requester, I am entitled to receive the requested record with only duplication fees asserted. Further, because disclosure of this information will “contribute greatly to the public understanding of the operation or activities of the government,” duplication fees should be waived.

There is a compelling need for the requested documents such that expedited processing is appropriate. I am engaged in disseminating information. There exists an urgent need to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity. As 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(E)(ii)(I) provides, I will anticipate your determination on our request within ten (10) calendar days.

I requests that in the event that access to any of the requested records is denied pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(b), I be provided with all non-exempt portions which are reasonably segregable. I further request that you describe the deleted material in detail and specify the statutory basis for the denial as well as your reasons for believing that the alleged statutory justification applies in this instance. Please separately state your reasons for not invoking your discretionary powers to release the requested documents. Such statements will be helpful in deciding whether to appeal an adverse determination, and in formulating arguments in case an appeal is taken. I reserve my right to appeal the withholding or deletion of any information and expect that you will list the office and address were such an appeal can be sent.

I requests that documents responsive to this request be provided to me in electronic format on a CD-ROM.

Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this request.


Alexa O’Brien

From: Federal Trade Commission

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: Federal Trade Commission

A cover letter granting the request and outlining any exempted materials, if any.

From: Federal Trade Commission

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: Alexa O'Brien


Dear Mr. Seery,

Please see the following emails between military prosecutors in the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning and the FTC regarding documents that would be responsive to my request.



On 28 November 2010, the Director of the Executive Office of Budget and Management, Jacob Lew sent a "Memo for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies regarding WikiLeaks - Mishandling of Classified Information".

The memo stated that the "significant irresponsible disclosure by WikiLeaks has resulted in significant damage to our national security" and that "[a]ny failure by agencies to safeguard classified information pursuant to relevant laws, including but not limited to Executive Order 13526, Classified National Security Information (December 29, 2009), is unacceptable and will not be tolerated."

The memo directed each department and agency of the federal government that handles classified information to establish "a security assessment team consisting of counterintelligence, security, and information assurance experts to review the agency's implementation of procedures for safeguarding classified information against improper disclosures."


Another memo followed on January 3, 2011.

The memo contained memoranda from the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office (William J. Bosanko) and the National Counterintelligence Executive (Robert M. Bryant).

The memo called for federal agency teams to complete their internal assessments questionnaire (attached) by January 28, 2011. The memo also directed ONCIX and ISOO in coordination with OMB to evaluate and assist federal agencies to comply with the assessment requirement. The memo directed ODNI, ONCIX, and ISOO to provide assistance to the federal agency’s assessment teams (to include periodic on-site reviews of agency compliance where appropriate).

An assessment questionnaire included inquiries such as 'Assess what your agency has done or plans to do to address any perceived vulnerabilities, weaknesses, or gaps on automated systems in the post-WikiLeaks environment,' and 'Do you capture evidence of pre-employment and/or post-employment activities or participation in on-line media data mining sites like WikiLeaks or Open Leaks?'


a.) On October 7, 2011 the President of the United Stated, Barack Obama, published Executive Order 13587 concerning “Structural Reforms to Improve the Security of Classified Networks and the Responsible Sharing and Safeguarding of Classified Information.”


The order directed federal agencies that use classified networks to “designate a senior official to oversee classified information sharing and safeguarding for the agency; implement an insider threat detection and prevention program; and perform self assessments of compliance with policy and standards.”

The order further outlined how “A Senior Information Sharing and Safeguarding Steering Committee will have overall responsibility for fully coordinating interagency efforts and ensuring that Departments and Agencies are held accountable for implementation of information sharing and safeguarding policy and standards.”

The order further stated that “the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence [were] actively establishing an interagency Insider Threat Task Force” and that “[d]epartments and [a]gencies are implementing more robust access control systems to enforce role-based access privileges that serve to ensure that an individual user's information access is commensurate with his/her assigned role.”


Alexa O'Brien

From: Alexa O'Brien


Dear Mr. Seery,

I sent you an email on December 18, 2013.

I wanted to add some information to it that relates to documents responsive to my request (in addition to the information I provided in that December 18, 2013 email).

According to an April 2012 email released from the court-martial of Pfc. Bradley Manning:

“…the Government produced to the Defense approximately 12 pages of Brady materials from interim damage assessments from November, 2010 by the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Urban Development, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the National Archives, and the United States Marshals Service. Some of these interim damage assessments reference investigations by ONCIX and DIA. For instance, the 26 November 2010 "Memorandum for the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive the Federal Communications Commission states, "As requested, this Memorandum provides the response of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), as requested by the NCIX memo dated 26 October 2010."


In a defense filing, the following also appears:

"The letter to ODNI from the Assistant General Counsel of the Federal Trade Commission regarding the 'documents that were compromised in the Department of State's Net-Centric Diplomacy database' clearly shows that ODNI has conducted some sort of internal review of the cables."


Also found in the prosecution's chronology is the following notes regarding the FTC:

February 2012 Email with FTC


A March 2012 entry in the prosecution chronology stating, "Prosecution reviews response from Federal Trade Commission and subsequently discloses it to the defense..."



Alexa O'Brien