Operation Something Bruin (DOA OIG)

Donald Triplett III filed this request with the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Office of Inspector General of the United States of America.
Tracking # 14-00109
Est. Completion Jan. 8, 2016
Status
Awaiting Appeal

Communications

From: Donald Triplett III

To Whom It May Concern:

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

Any and all copies of the following related to the multi-agency initiative entitled "Operation Something Bruin":
Written correspondence, contracts, agreements between agencies, budgets, investigative reports, press releases, digital media (photos, videos, etc), and internal investigative documents. (Including, but not limited to, correspondence between Congressman Mark Meadows and the Inspector General's office.)

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,

Donald Triplett III

From: FOIA STAFF

Your request has been received. Please see attachment for additional information. Thank you.

FOIA/PA
USDA Office of the Inspector General
-------------------

From: Donald Triplett III

I was unable to open this attachment. Could you please try resending it?

Thanks,
Donald Triplett

From: FOIA STAFF

Your request has been received. Please see attachment for additional information. Thank you.

FOIA/PA
USDA Office of the Inspector General
-------------------

From: FOIA STAFF


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 July 9, 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 #14-00109.

Thank you for your help.

From: FOIA STAFF

Mr. Triplett,

Thank you for your request for a status update. The USDA, OIG has a backlog of FOIA requests and processing is taking longer than anticipated. We estimate this request will be completed by October 21, 2014.

Sincerely yours,
FOIA staff
USDA OIG

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 July 9, 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 #14-00109.

Thank you for your help.

From: FOIA STAFF

Mr. Triplett,

Thank you for your request for a status update. The USDA, OIG has a backlog of FOIA requests and processing is taking longer than anticipated. We now estimate this request will be completed by February 3, 2015.

Sincerely yours,
FOIA staff
USDA OIG

From: FOIA STAFF

Dear Mr. Triplett,

Thank you for your request for a status update. The USDA, OIG has a backlog of FOIA requests and processing is taking longer than anticipated. We estimate this request will be completed by February 16, 2014.
Sincerely yours,
FOIA staff
USDA, OIG

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 July 9, 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 #14-00109.

Thank you for your help.

From: FOIA STAFF

Thank you for your request for a status update. The USDA, OIG has a backlog of FOIA requests and processing is taking longer than anticipated. As stated below, we estimate this request will be completed by February 16, 2014.
Sincerely yours,
FOIA staff
USDA, OIG

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 July 9, 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 #14-00109.

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 July 9, 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 #14-00109.

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 July 9, 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 #14-00109.

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 July 9, 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 #14-00109.

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 July 9, 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 #14-00109.

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 July 9, 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 #14-00109.

Thank you for your help.

From: FOIA STAFF

Dear Mr. Triplett,

This is to provide you with a status update regarding Log No. 14-00109.

USDA, OIG has a backlog of FOIA requests, and processing is taking longer than anticipated. We estimate this request will be completed by October 28, 2015.

Sincerely yours,
FOIA staff
USDA, OIG

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 July 9, 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 #14-00109.

Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.

From: FOIA STAFF

On Aug. 4, 2015:
Dear Mr. Triplett,

This is to provide you with a status update regarding Log No. 14-00109.

USDA, OIG has a backlog of FOIA requests, and processing is taking longer than anticipated. We estimate this request will be completed by October 28, 2015.
Sincerely yours,
FOIA staff
USDA, OIG

From: FOIA STAFF

Dear Mr. Triplett,

This is to provide you with a status update regarding Log No. 14-00109.

USDA, OIG has a backlog of FOIA requests, and processing is taking longer than anticipated. We estimate this request will be completed by November 13, 2015.

Sincerely yours,

FOIA staff
USDA, OIG

From: FOIA STAFF

Dear Mr. Triplett,

This is to provide you with a status update regarding Log No. 14-00109.

USDA, OIG has a backlog of FOIA requests, and processing is taking longer than anticipated. We estimate this request will be completed by December 7, 2015.

Sincerely yours,

FOIA staff
USDA, OIG

From: FOIA STAFF

Dear Mr. Triplett,

This is to provide you with a status update regarding Log No. 14-00109.

USDA, OIG has a backlog of FOIA requests, and processing is taking longer than anticipated. We estimate this request will be completed by January 8, 2016.

Sincerely yours,

FOIA staff
USDA, OIG

From: FOIA STAFF

Dear Mr. Triplett,

This is to provide you with a status update regarding Log No. 14-00109.

USDA, OIG has a backlog of FOIA requests, and processing is taking longer than anticipated. We estimate this request will be completed by January 28, 2016.

Sincerely yours,
FOIA staff
USDA, OIG

From: FOIA STAFF

Dear Mr. Triplett,

Please see our January 6, 2016, response regarding the status of your request. USDA, OIG has a backlog of FOIA requests, and processing is taking longer than anticipated. We estimate this request will be completed by January 28, 2016.

Sincerely yours,

FOIA staff
USDA, OIG

From: FOIA STAFF

Dear Mr. Triplett,
This is to provide you with a status update regarding Log No. 14-00109.
USDA, OIG has a backlog of FOIA requests, and processing is taking longer than anticipated. We estimate this request will be completed by March 29, 2016.
Sincerely yours,
FOIA staff
USDA, OIG

From: FOIA STAFF

Dear Mr. Triplett,
This is to provide you with a status update regarding Log No. 14-00109.
USDA, OIG has a backlog of FOIA requests, and processing is taking longer than anticipated. We estimate this request will be completed by March 31, 2016.
Sincerely yours,
FOIA staff
USDA, OIG

From: FOIA STAFF

Dear Mr. Triplett,
This is to provide you with a status update regarding Log No. 14-00109.
USDA, OIG has a backlog of FOIA requests, and processing is taking longer than anticipated. We estimate this request will be completed by April 29, 2016.
Sincerely yours,
FOIA staff
USDA, OIG

From: Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General

A cover letter granting the request and outlining any exempted materials, if any.

From: Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: Donald Triplett III

June 10, 2016

Inspector General
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave S.W.
Whitten Building, Suite 441-E
Washington, D.C. 20250-2308

To Whom It May Concern:

On July 9th, 2014, I requested copies of various types of records related to the multi-agency initiative “Operation Something Bruin” from the USDA’s Office of Inspector General. In particular, I was seeking records related to the decision by the IG’s office to not take action and investigate the alleged improprieties of Forest Service staff involved in the operation following a letter sent by Congressman Mark Meadows’ office requesting an investigation.

After nearly two years and eleven different completion estimate dates were provided, I received a “partially response” [sic] dated May 5, 2016, which included 120 pages of responsive records.

The records provided contain excessive amounts of (b)(5) and (b)(6) redactions throughout, including redactions of publicly available email addresses and direct contact phone numbers. (See https://www.ignet.gov/sites/default/files/files/point-of-contact.pdf.) Other times, email addresses may be redacted on one page, but left unreacted later on the same page, often in the same line.

In addition, redactions that are found on some pages aren’t present on other pages, such as the email sent from an individual at the USDOJ which begins with “No, the case was continued from March 3” included early on as part of an email chain sent from Bruce Delaplaine to Paul Feeney, which was later left unredacted in a second copy of the exact same email chain, reading “No, the case was continued from March 3 because there’s been no hearing yet on the motions to dismiss based on a supposed lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. That hearing has now been set for 3/24, and the trial for 5/7.”

The lack of redaction consistency throughout the responsive documents leads me to believe that there may be some redactions that are too excessive to justify the redaction, such as the example above, where what was redacted early on using (b)(5) is not protected under the deliberative-process privilege (per the determination letter). The information which was redacted was actually public information, as the pleadings, the motions, and the dates which were set by the court are all in the public domain.

A letter sent by the Department of Interior’s Office of Inspector General to Congressman Meadows on March 25th, 2014 is also one that contains a questionable redaction, as one sentence in the letter is redacted under exemption (b)(5) for no readily apparent reason, especially given that an unredacted copy of the letter is already in the public domain. (It was released on 7/9/2014 in response to a 6/24/2014 FOIA request submitted by me to their office; see https://www.muckrock.com/foi/united-states-of-america-10/operation-something-bruin-doi-oig-12288/#file-23566)

I also appeal the withholding of 133 pages of duplicate records, which I did not request. Given that duplicate records were already provided throughout the 120 pages of responsive documents that I was provided in this request, and given that redactions sometimes differed from page to page demonstrating an arbitrary and capricious review process, these 133 additional pages may contain new or different information.

I request that this appeal be granted, an adequate search be conducted for responsive records, all responsive records be provided, and any redactions to the records be few and justified. I further request that I be provided a tracking number for this appeal, and that a determination on the merits of my appeal be made within 20 working days of receipt, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,
Donald G. Triplett, III
Research Director, Freedom and Land Rights Coalition, Inc.
(202) 643-4610

Files

pages

Close