Operation Longarm files (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

Shawn Musgrave filed this request with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the United States of America.

It is a clone of this request.

Tracking #

2018-ICFO-53106, 2019-ICAP-00082

2018-ICFO-53106

Multi Request Operation Longarm files
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Appeal

Communications

From: Shawn Musgrave

To Whom It May Concern:

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

All investigative files, memos, and planning materials related to "Operation Longarm," a nationwide investigation of child pornography carried out in 1992 and 1993 by the Customs Service and Justice Department

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,

Shawn Musgrave

From: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

July 30, 2018 SHAWN MUSGRAVE MUCKROCK 411A HIGHLAND AVE SOMERVILLE, MA 02144-2516 RE:     ICE FOIA Case Number 2018-ICFO-53106 Dear Mr. MUSGRAVE: This acknowledges receipt of your July 16, 2018, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), for all records pertaining to OPERATION LONGARM.  Your request was received in this office on July 16, 2018. Due to the increasing number of FOIA requests received by this office, we may encounter some delay in processing your request. Per Section 5.5(a) of the DHS FOIA regulations, 6 C.F.R. Part 5, ICE processes FOIA requests according to their order of receipt. Although ICE’s goal is to respond within 20 business days of receipt of your request, the FOIA does permit a 10- day extension of this time period. As your request seeks numerous documents that will necessitate a thorough and wide-ranging search, ICE will invoke a 10-day extension for your request, as allowed by Title 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(B). If you care to narrow the scope of your request, please contact our office. We will make every effort to comply with your request in a timely manner. Provisions of the FOIA allow us to recover part of the cost of complying with your request.  We shall charge you for records in accordance with the DHS Interim FOIA regulations, as they apply to media requesters.  As a media requester, you will be charged 10 cents per page for duplication; the first 100 pages are free.  We will construe the submission of your request as an agreement to pay up to $25.00. You will be contacted before any further fees are accrued. We have queried the appropriate program offices within ICE for responsive records. If any responsive records are located, they will be reviewed for determination of releasability. Please be assured that one of the processors in our office will respond to your request as expeditiously as possible. We appreciate your patience as we proceed with your request.
Your request has been assigned reference number 2018-ICFO-53106. Please refer to this identifier in any future correspondence. To check the status of an ICE FOIA/PA request, please visit . Please note that to check the status of a request, you must enter the 2018-ICFO-XXXXX tracking number. If you need any further assistance or would like to discuss any aspect of your request, please contact the FOIA office. You may send an e-mail to ice-foia@ice.dhs.gov, call toll free (866) 633-1182, or you may contact our FOIA Public Liaison, Fernando Pineiro, in the same manner. Additionally, you have a right to right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) which mediates disputes between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation. If you are requesting access to your own records (which is considered a Privacy Act request), you should know that OGIS does not have the authority to handle requests made under the Privacy Act of 1974. You may contact OGIS as follows: Office of Government Information Services, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road-OGIS, College Park, Maryland 20740-6001, e-mail at ogis@nara.gov; telephone at 202-741-5770; toll free at 1-877-684-6448; or facsimile at 202-741-5769. (http://www.dhs.gov/foia-status) http://www.dhs.gov/foia-status
Regards,
ICE FOIA Office
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Freedom of Information Act Office
500 12th Street, S.W., Stop 5009
Washington, D.C. 20536-5009
Telephone: 1-866-633-1182
Visit our FOIA website at
www.ice.gov/foia

From: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

August 29, 2018 SHAWN MUSGRAVE MUCKROCK 411A HIGHLAND AVE SOMERVILLE, MA 02144-2516 RE:     ICE FOIA Case Number 2018-ICFO-53106 Dear Mr. MUSGRAVE: This acknowledges receipt of your July 16, 2018, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), for all records pertaining to OPERATION LONGARM.  Your request was received in this office on July 16, 2018. Please be advised that DHS regulations require, in the case of third party information requests, a statement from each individual verifying his or her identity and certifying that individual's agreement that records concerning him or her may be accessed, analyzed and released to a third party.  See 6 C.F.R. § 5.21(f).  Because you have not provided this documentation with your request, we are unable to initiate a search for responsive records. Please provide the requested documentation within 30 days from the date of this letter, or we will assume you are no longer interested in this FOIA/PA request, and the case will be administratively closed. This is not a denial of your request.  Upon receipt of a perfected request, you will be advised as to the status of your request. Your request has been assigned reference number 2018-ICFO-53106. Please refer to this identifier in any future correspondence. To check the status of an ICE FOIA/PA request, please visit . Please note that to check the status of a request, you must enter the 2017-ICFO-XXXXX or 2018-ICFO-XXXXX tracking number. If you need any further assistance or would like to discuss any aspect of your request, please contact the FOIA office. You may send an e-mail to ice-foia@ice.dhs.gov, call toll free (866) 633-1182, or you may contact our FOIA Public Liaison, Fernando Pineiro, in the same manner. Additionally, you have a right to right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) which mediates disputes between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation. If you are requesting access to your own records (which is considered a Privacy Act request), you should know that OGIS does not have the authority to handle requests made under the Privacy Act of 1974. You may contact OGIS as follows: Office of Government Information Services, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road-OGIS, College Park, Maryland 20740-6001, e-mail at ogis@nara.gov; telephone at 202-741-5770; toll free at 1-877-684-6448; or facsimile at 202-741-5769. (http://www.dhs.gov/foia-status) http://www.dhs.gov/foia-status
Regards,
ICE FOIA Office
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Freedom of Information Act Office
500 12th Street, S.W., Stop 5009
Washington, D.C. 20536-5009
Telephone: 1-866-633-1182
Visit our FOIA website at
www.ice.gov/foia

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello -

Thank you for your response. I am not requesting any information pertaining to a particular immigration file. Rather, this is a request for records compiled in the course of Operation Longarm, as described in my initial request.

As I believe that no third-party consent is required, I ask that you proceed in processing my request. I will appeal for constructive denial if ICE does not proceed with my request within 10 business days.

Respectfully,
Shawn Musgrave

From: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Good afternoon,

The responsive documents for request 2018-ICFO-53106 have personal information regarding individuals. This is why we need 3rd party consent.

Sincerely,
ICE FOIA

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello -

Per your obligations under the FOIA, please provide the responsive documents to the extent they contain releasable information. Should you find it necessary to redact information subject to withholding under applicable exemptions, you have the statutory authority to do so.

I will appeal your insufficient response to this FOIA should you fail to proceed with processing it.

Respectfully,
Shawn Musgrave

From: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

See attached letter.
Sincerely,
ICE FOIA

From: Shawn Musgrave

To Whom It May Concern:

I hereby appeal the constructive denial of this request, which ICE has assigned tracking number 2018-ICFO-53106.

On July 16, 2018, I requested the following records: "All investigative files, memos, and planning materials related to "Operation Longarm," a nationwide investigation of child pornography carried out in 1992 and 1993 by the Customs Service and Justice Department."

On August 29, 2018, I received an email indicating: "Please be advised that DHS regulations require, in the case of third party information requests, a statement from each individual verifying his or her identity and certifying that individual's agreement that records concerning him or her may be accessed, analyzed and released to a third party." That email included a third-party consent form. I clarified that this is a request for documents pertaining to the above-named investigation, and that no third-party consent should be required for such records.

On September 15, I received an email from ICE: "The responsive documents for request 2018-ICFO-53106 have personal information regarding individuals. This is why we need 3rd party consent." I reminded the ICE FOIA office that it has the authority to redact certain information pursuant to applicable exemptions.

On October 1, 2018, I received the attached response denying my request to the extent that I have not submitted any forms containing third-party consent.

I hereby appeal. ICE's response is inappropriate given the records I've requested herein. As I provided in my request and subsequent communications, Operation Longarm (sometimes "Long-Arm" or "Long Arm") was an operation conducted by the Justice Department and Customs Service in 1993. The press conference discussing the operation is available in full on C-SPAN here: https://www.c-span.org/video/?49729-1/computer-child-pornography. Operation Longarm was extensively covered, including by the Los Angeles Times (http://articles.latimes.com/1993-09-01/news/mn-30132_1_child-pornography-charges) and the Orlando Sentinel (http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1993-09-01/news/9309010899_1_child-pornography-obtain-child-warrants), among other outlets.
GovTech magazine (http://www.govtech.com/magazines/gt/International-Cooperation.html) described it as follows: "[The Customs Service's] first major success in battling Internet traffic in child pornography began in 1992 when a Denmark-based porn operation that was distributing and soliciting child pornography was discovered. USCS aptly named the sting Operation Longarm, which resulted in a refining of investigation techniques for officers dealing with electronic crimes and evidence, a heightening of international awareness about the consequences of child pornography, and 35 stateside arrests and convictions.

Operation Longarm was also identified in numerous court filings in criminal prosecutions for child pornography. For example, in the attached government brief in U.S. v Lacy (Ninth Circuit), described it as follows:

"[Defendant] is the subject of an ongoing child pornography investigation stemming from a U.S. Customs investigation known as 'Operation Longarm.' Longarm involves the identification and investigation of individuals living in the United States who have imported images of child pornography from a Danish computer bulletin board system ('BBS') known as BAMSE. [...] In February of 1993, U.S. Customs held a briefing at which agents from across the country were provided training for the execution of Operation Longarm. Agents were then assigned to investigate numerous individuals who had been implicated by the BAMSE records."

Operation Longarm is also well-known among scholars who study child pornography and law enforcement actions to eliminate its distribution. In the attached journal article, a University of Canberra professor plots Operation Longarm among many child pornography crackdowns. See table 2, "Covert groups." In a 2016 book, "Internet Child Pornography and the Law: National and International Responses," the author described Operation Longarm as "one of the earliest police operations involving the international distribution of child pornography via computer networks."

In short, Operation Longarm is a well-known operation whose existence as a multinational police effort in well established in both the press and court records. I have made good faith efforts to convey this information in response to ICE FOIA officers' insistence that I need to provide third-party consent forms. Such forms are unnecessary based on the nature of the requested records and the public coverage of the arrests netted by Operation Longarm.

Finally, I draw attention to a similar FOIA request — 2015-ICFO-82330 — that ICE processed in recent years. This request was for records concerning Operation Flicker, a similar child pornography crackdown. ICE produced hundreds of records in response to that request. It should follow a similar protocol as it did there (and hopefully in all FOIA requests for similar records) — identify responsive documents, redact them to the extent appropriate under the FOIA, and provide them to the requester.

In light of the above, I ask that this request be remanded to the ICE FOIA office for good faith search and provision of the requested records.

Respectfully,
Shawn Musgrave

From: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

**Please Do Not Respond Directly - This email has been sent on behalf of ice-foia@dhs.gov**
We have received your Freedom of Information Act request for appealing constructive denial and have assigned it tracking number
2019-ICAP-00082.  Please refer to the attached Acknowledgement Letter for more information.
ICE FOIA.

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