NSA contracts with Exodus Intelligence

Heather Akers-Healy filed this request with the National Security Agency of the United States of America.
Tracking # 3978
Status
Rejected
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Communications

From: Heather Akers-Healy

To Whom It May Concern:

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

Copies of contracts with Exodus Intelligence, and any final reports generated and delivered by Exodus to the agency over the past 10 years. Exodus is located at the following address:
9300 RESEARCH BLVD
AUSTIN, TX, 78759-7494 , 
UNITED STATES

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,

Heather Akers-Healy

From: National Security Agency

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

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 Jan. 22, 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 #76293.

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 Jan. 22, 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 #76293.

Thank you for your help.

From: National Security Agency

A no responsive documents response.

From: Heather Akers-Healy

To the NSA/CSS Freedom of Information Act Appeal Authority,

This letter constitutes a formal appeal under the U.S. Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts (5 U.S.C. 552/552a) and the regulations promulgated thereunder.

In a letter dated April 15, 2014, the NSA responded to my request for copies of contracts with Exodus Intelligence by saying no responsive records were found. You had assigned the request reference number #76293A.

I believe the NSA performed an inadequate search for records responsive to my request, which is violative of the FOIA. I hereby appeal the NSA inadequate search for records responsive to my request and request that the NSA conduct a new complete and thorough search for copies of copies of contracts with Exodus Intelligence over the past 10 years.

I also wish to appeal the decision that I not eligible for a fee waiver. I am making this request in the public interest, and as a member of the news media. I am a trained paralegal with a background in legal research and contract analysis. I have established a project at MuckRock looking into the activities of the NSA and other intelligence agencies. Despite the short time I have been making and publishing requests through MuckRock, this project has garnered international media attention and was written up in Forbes. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/runasandvik/2013/11/26/illuminating-the-united-states-billion-dollar-intelligence-budget-project-spylighter-documents-surveillance-technology-used-by-the-nsa/) The Forbes article was covered in several other media outlets, and even reported in Spanish. (http://www.desdeabajo.info/actualidad/internacional/item/23165-spylighter-documenta-la-compra-de-tecnolog%C3%ADa-de-vigilancia-masiva-por-parte-de-la-nsa.html) I have an ongoing relationship with Runa Sandvik, a well-known journalist and technologist who wrote the article at Forbes.

I have also written at other media outlets about documents received from previous FOIA requests (http://www.occupy.com/article/why-we-need-whistleblowers).

All documents released to MuckRock are published on the MuckRock website. The documents are not merely posted, but analyzed by journalists at MuckRock and media outlets around the world. MuckRock has over 1,000 active users and tens of thousands of readers. An incomplete list of outlets reporting news broken at MuckRock can be found here:
 https://pinboard.in/u:morisy/t:muckrock_press/

My first successful request to the NSA for contracts with Vupen was widely reported. There was significant interest in the fact that the NSA was purchasing exploits services from a foreign contractor. A few examples of press regarding that release are below:

Threatpost: http://threatpost.com/nsa-bought-exploit-service-from-vupen-contract-shows

Gawker: http://gawker.com/nsa-paid-french-hackers-for-software-exploits-1341604032

The Register: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/09/17/nsa_vupen/

Information Week: http://www.informationweek.com/security/government/nsa-contracted-with-zero-day-vendor-vupe/240161389

Computing: http://www.computing.co.uk/ctg/news/2295155/nsa-bought-zero-day-vulnerabilities-from-security-company-vupen
Slate:http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/09/17/nsa_paid_french_hacker_company_vupen_for_software_exploits.html

RT: http://rt.com/usa/nsa-vupen-exploit-hack-978/
Mashable: http://mashable.com/2013/09/17/nsa-french-hacking-tools-vupen/

The Hacker News: http://thehackernews.com/2013/09/nsa-bought-hacking-tools-from-vupen.html
The Daily Dot: http://www.dailydot.com/politics/nsa-malware-vupen/

Spiegel: http://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/netzpolitik/nsa-kauft-infos-ueber-sicherheitsluecken-von-vupen-a-922765.html

The information sought does contribute to the public understanding and is in the public interest. With the publishing of the Snowden materials and the surrounding media coverage, the past few months have demonstrated a significant increase in the public’s interest in the activities of the NSA and other intelligence agencies. It benefits the public to understand how our money is being spent, and the relationship of agencies to their private contractors.

Sincerely,
Heather Akers-Healy

From: National Security Agency

A letter stating that the request appeal has been received and is being processed.

From: National Security Agency

The request has been rejected by the agency.

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