National Guard Counterdrug Program Involvement in Hemisphere

Dustin Slaughter filed this request with the National Guard Bureau/JA-FOIA of the United States of America.
Tracking # J-14-0067
Status
Rejected

Communications

From: Dustin Slaughter

To Whom It May Concern:

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

Any and all training manuals and/or modules, slide presentations, and memorandums of understanding (MOU) pertaining to National Guard Counterdrug Program participation in the Drug Enforcement Administration's Hemisphere program.

This request is based, in part, on recent revelations regarding the Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program's Hemisphere Program:

http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/782287/database.pdf.

This request is for any and all pertinent records between 1 January 2012 up to and including 30 August 2013.

Records analysts should use the following keywords: “Verizon”, “Verizon Wireless”, “AT&T”, “Sprint”, “T-Mobile”, “administrative subpoena”, “IMSI”, “IMEI”, and “call detail records”.

This request is not meant to be exclusive of any other records which, though not specifically requested, would have a reasonable relationship to the subject matter of this request.

If my request is denied in whole or part, I ask that you justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the act. I will also expect to be provided with all segregable portions of otherwise exempt material. Please separately state your reasons for not invoking your discretionary powers to release the requested documents in the public interest.

Please provide expedited processing for this request.

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,

Dustin Slaughter

From: National Guard Bureau/JA-FOIA

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: Dustin Slaughter

Dear Mr. Hogan,

This letter serves as a formal appeal to the National Guard Bureau FOIP Office's denial of my expedited processing request regarding case #J-14-0067.

Of the four categories NGB uses as criteria for determining whether to grant an expedited processing request, your office cited exemption #2.

NGB states that the request does not meet an "urgently needed" threshold. This is incorrect. The New York Times on 1 September 2013 published a story on the Drug Enforcement Administration Hemisphere program: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/02/us/drug-agents-use-vast-phone-trove-eclipsing-nsas.html?_r=1&

Furthermore, this requester has been and continues to be engaged in the dissemination of information, as evidenced by articles in online publications ranging from Salon, Truthout, The Public Record, and MuckRock News, among others.

Any potential National Guard Counterdrug program involvement in the access or collection of massive amounts of American telephone records is of the highest public importance. With ongoing revelations of domestic surveillance by the federal government, National Guard participation in domestic phone records collection undoubtedly falls into the "urgently needed" information category; just as Hemisphere or similar programs not yet publicly disclosed raise important Fourth Amendment issues, any revelations of National Guard activity in the domestic surveillance sphere should be part of the public discourse too.

In conclusion, NGB's assertion that potential National Guard domestic phone record collection, or access to thereof, isn't "urgent" flies in the face of public outrage and robust debate currently taking place around revelations of widespread collection of American phone records. These revelations were rushed to the public's attention by major media organizations including The New York Times, The Guardian, the Washington Post, as well as legal advocacy organizations such as The American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the National Lawyers Guild among others.

Any National Guard participation in Hemisphere or similar programs, therefore, must also be rushed to the public's attention, which is why I strongly urge your agency to reconsider its denial for expedited processing.

Thank you for your time and consideration regarding this appeal, and I look forward to your timely response as the statute requires.

Sincerely,
Dustin Slaughter

From: Dustin Slaughter

Dear Mr. Hogan,

This is a follow-up to case #J-14-0067. Please let me know when I can expect an estimated time of completion to this request, as required under 5 U.S.C. § 552.

Please be advised that I am prepared to refer this case to the Office of Government Information Services for mediation this week if your office refuses to fulfill its statutory obligations regarding my appeal for expedited processing sent 13 April 2014.

I am also prepared to litigate this matter failing successful OGIS mediation.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Dustin Slaughter
MuckRock News

From: National Guard Bureau/JA-FOIA

A no responsive documents response.

From: National Guard Bureau/JA-FOIA

A letter stating that the request appeal has been rejected.

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