Legal Justification and Use of Parallel Construction

Avinash Samarth filed this request with the Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel of the United States of America.
Tracking # FY14-027
Est. Completion None
Status
No Responsive Documents

Communications

From: Avinash Samarth

To Whom It May Concern:

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

(1) Any legal memos, legal briefs, legal opinions, guidelines, or statements of policy discussing the practice of "parallel construction," the act of recreating an investigative trail to shield original investigative methods from judicial review. See http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/05/us-dea-sod-idUSBRE97409R20130805.

(2) Any documents describing or identifying the types of original investigative methods that may be or have been shielded using "parallel construction."

(3) Any documents identifying the agencies from which original investigative methods and evidence may be or have been shielded using "parallel construction."

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,

Avinash Samarth

From: Pulham, Thomas (OLC)

Mr. Samarth,

I have received your FOIA request seeking documents relating to parallel construction. I would like to speak with you regarding this request with the hope that we might be able to process it more quickly. At your convenience, could you please give me a call at the number below?

Thank you,

Tom

Thomas Pulham
Office of Legal Counsel
U.S. Department of Justice
(202) 514-2047

From: Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: Pulham, Thomas (OLC)

Mr. Samarth,

As we were preparing to begin the search of classified materials (as narrowed in our recent conversation), an issue came up with respect to date cutoff. Because we must conduct them manually, searches of classified opinions can be time-intensive. It would therefore speed the process if we could agree to limit the scope of the search by record date. Based on a review of the article you cite in your request, it appears that you might be looking for documents discussing the practice of parallel reconstruction in the context of electronic surveillance. Assuming this is correct, would a date range from 1994 to present (a span of 20 years) be acceptable to you? We will run the non-classified search without a date cutoff (unless, of course, you would like one applied there).

Please feel free to respond by email to this address or to call me at the number below if you have further questions. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Tom

Thomas Pulham
Office of Legal Counsel
U.S. Department of Justice
(202) 514-2047

From: Avinash Samarth

Dear Mr. Pulham,

We spoke on the phone in April, where I agreed to limit the search of classified materials to those produced from 1974 to the present (a span of 40 years). I have requested several times by telephone for written confirmation of that narrowed scope of the classified materials responsive to my request. I would greatly appreciate if you could respond with that written confirmation.

Thank you for your help.

Avinash Samarth

From: USDOJ-Office of Legal Counsel (SMO)

Dear Mr. Samarth,

This email confirms your agreement to narrow your FOIA request to a search of our classified final opinions from 1974 to the present in addition to our unclassified final legal advice.

For your information Tom Pulham is no longer with the Office of Legal Counsel.

Bette Farris
202-514-2038

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 Feb. 7, 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 #FY14-027.

Thank you for your help.

From: USDOJ-Office of Legal Counsel (SMO)

Dear Mr. Samarth,

Given the need to search the classified opinions by hand going back to 1974, the estimated time for completion is 3-6 months.

Bette Farris

From: Avinash Samarth

Dear Ms. Farris,

Thanks very much for informing me of your timetable for my request. Since the search of the classified materials will take longer than the search of the unclassified materials, would it be possible to receive the results from the unclassified search sooner?

Thanks again.

Avinash Samarth

From: USDOJ-Office of Legal Counsel (SMO)

Dear Mr. Samarth,

Attached is a partial response to your FOIA request, 14-027.

Bette Farris

From: USDOJ-Office of Legal Counsel (SMO)

Dear Mr. Samarth,

Attached is the final response to FY14-027.

Bette Farris

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