Leak referrals and consultations (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services)

Emma North-Best filed this request with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services of the United States of America .
Multi Request Leak referrals and consultations
Est. Completion None
Status
Fix Required

Communications

From: Emma North-Best


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

Copies of documents, including but not limited to emails, memos, letters, reports, briefs and call logs, referring to, discussing or generated as a result of referrals to and consultations with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other components of the Department of Justice (Criminal Division, Civil Division, National Security Division, the Attorney General's office, etc.), regarding instances of unauthorized disclosures of information (AKA leaks) for investigation and/or prosecution between January 20, 1981 (or the date of creation of this agency, whichever came first) and the present.

I request "news media" status and a fee waiver, see attached.

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,

Emma Best

From: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Submitted on Thursday, May 30, 2019 - 13:02
Submitted by user: Anonymous
Submitted values are:

Select the DHS component you wish to submit your request to: : United States
Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Title:
First Name: Emma
Middle Initial:
Last Name: Best
Suffix:
Email Address: requests@muckrock.com
Country: United States
Address 1: MuckRock News DEPT MR 73737
Address 2: 411A Highland Ave
City: Somerville
State: Massachusetts
Zip Code: 02144
Telephone Number:
Fax Number:
Are you requesting records on yourself? No
If yes, you must check the perjury statement:
By initialing here you are providing your electronic signature.:
Please describe the records you are seeking as clearly and precisely as
possible:
To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following
records:

Copies of documents, including but not limited to emails, memos, letters,
reports, briefs and call logs, referring to, discussing or generated as a
result of referrals to and consultations with the Federal Bureau of
Investigation and other components of the Department of Justice (Criminal
Division, Civil Division, National Security Division, the Attorney General's
office, etc.), regarding instances of unauthorized disclosures of information
(AKA leaks) for investigation and/or prosecution between January 20, 1981 (or
the date of creation of this agency, whichever came first) and the present.

I request "news media" status and a fee waiver, see attached.

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,

Emma Best

Attachments:

https://cdn.muckrock.com/outbound_composer_attachments/TheEmmaBest/70885/Fee20category20and20search20parameters.pdf
Upload documents directly:
https://https://www.muckrock.comhttps://accounts.muckrock.com/accounts/login/?url_auth_token=AAAj-WdBFYnPUWnCxeNDxizUa-M%3A1hWONn%3AhiC5XQyTwKoZm6Q94wQfJtYvofw&next=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.muckrock.com%2Faccounts%2Flogin%2F%3Fnext%3D%252Faccounts%252Fagency_login%252Fus-citizenship-and-immigration-services-182%252Fleak-referrals-and-consultations-us-citizenship-and-immigration-services-74160%252F%253Femail%253Duscis.foia%252540dhs.gov
I am willing to pay fees for this request up to the amount of: $: 1
Select from the list below: A representative of the news media seeking
information as part of a news gathering effort and not for commercial use.
I request a waiver of all fees for this request.: I request a waiver of all
fees for this request.
Please provide an explanation for your request for a fee waiver:
I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I have
previously written about the government and its activities, with some
reaching over 100,000 readers in outlets such as Gizmodo, MuckRock,
Motherboard, Property of the People, AND Magazine, Unicorn Riot, and more. As
such, as I have a reasonable expectation of publication and my editorial and
writing skills are well established.
In addition, I discuss and comment on the files online and make them
available through non-profits such as the library Internet Archive and and
the journalist non-profit, MuckRock, disseminating them to a large audience.
While my research is not limited to this, a great deal of it, including this,
focuses on the activities and attitudes of the government itself. As such, it
is not necessary for me to demonstrate the relevance of this particular
subject in advance.
Additionally, case law states that “proof of the ability to
disseminate the released information to a broad cross- section of the public
is not required.” Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Dep’t of Justice, 365 F.3d
1108, 1126 (D.C. Cir. 2004); see Carney v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 19 F.3d
807, 814-15 (2d Cir. 1994). Further, courts have held that "qualified because
it also had “firm” plans to “publish a number of . . . ‘document
sets’” concerning United States foreign and national security policy."
Under this criteria, as well, I qualify as a member of the news media.
Additionally, courts have held that the news media status "focuses on the
nature of the requester, not its request. The provision requires that the
request be “made by” a representative of the news media. Id. §
552(a)(4)(A)(ii)(II). A newspaper reporter, for example, is a representative
of the news media regardless of how much interest there is in the story for
which he or she is requesting information." As such, the details of the
request itself are moot for the purposes of determining the appropriate fee
category. As my primary purpose is to inform about government activities by
reporting on it and making the raw data available, I request that fees be
waived.
Please select and describe in detail if you believe your request warrants
expeditious handling:
Please provide information to support your selection:

From: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Emma Best,
I am following up on your attached Freedom of Information Act request asking for information on referrals and consultations with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)/Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding unauthorized disclosures of information since January 20, 1981. USCIS assigned your request case number COW2019500642. USCIS is currently unable to conduct a search based on your current request. However, if you could provide additional information our office would be happy to search for the records you need. There are a few issues with this request that I would like to clarify.

Initial allegations of unauthorized disclosure by USCIS employees is referred to the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (OIG) by the USCIS Office of Investigation (OI). OIG would either accept or decline the case at their discretion. If OIG declines the matter OI would then investigate the allegation. If substantiated, OI would then refer the matter to DOJ's U.S. Attorney's Office who may or may not accept the case for prosecution at their discretion. Any OI investigative files relating to an unauthorized disclosure is subject to the Retention and Disposition of Records guidelines which states these records are only maintained for 10 years before destruction.

In August 2014 USCIS transitioned to a modernized email back up system allowing for greater flexibilities in searching for an retrieving email messages from current and former USCIS employees. Email records prior to this date are backed up to multiple bulk backup tapes and stored by a third party vendor. While these bulk backup tapes are technically accessible, retrieving specific emails from these backup tapes is a very long and costly endeavor. Without getting too far into the technicalities, each backup tape contains all email records for hundreds of USCIS employees. Each tape has to be converted into a different format on a lone server, separated by each USCIS employee then a search conducted. The entire process could take a USCIS employee away from all other duties for well over a month just to restore the backup tapes then conduct the search. The search would have to be conducted of each and every USCIS employee individually since we are unable to conduct a search for across multiple employees' profiles. Following the August 2014 transition USCIS is now able to conduct searches for emails without having to restore backup tapes. However, USCIS still does not have the capabilities to conduct a network wide search. In order for our Office of Information Technology to conduct a search for emails we would need the specific USCIS employee(s)' names or at least the USCIS duty position and/or office. Generally, any emails regarding cases being referred to DOJ would be included in the investigative files.

Additionally, if USCIS was able to locate any cases where USCIS referred or consulted with DOJ on a matter involving an unauthorized disclosure, these records would be subject to numerous possible withholdings under FOIA exemptions such as (b)(5), (b)(6), (b)(7)(a), (b)(7)(c) and (b)(7)(e).

Based on the above, would you be willing to modify your request? Possible modifications could include searching for investigative files for only the past 10 years and limiting email searches to the USCIS Office of Investigation from August 2014 to the present.

Please feel free to reply directly to me by email or you may contact me by telephone at my number below.

T. Allen Jaynes
Senior Government Information Specialist
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
150 Space Center Loop
Lee's Summit, MO 64064
(816) 350-4687

WARNING: This document is FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY (FOUO). It contains information that may be exempt from public release under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552). This document is to be controlled, handled, transmitted, distributed, and disposed of in accordance with DHS policy relating to Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) information and is not to be released to the public or other personnel who do not have a valid "need-to-know" without prior approval from the originator.

From: Federal Emergency Management Agency

A no responsive documents response.

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