Operation Something Bruin (USFS)

Donald Triplett III filed this request with the U.S. Forest Service of the United States of America.
Tracking # 2015-F-00008 ; 2014-FS-WO-00183-A ; 2014-FS-R8-04192-F
Est. Completion None
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.

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: Heap, Karri -FS

Your FOIA request has been assigned the number 2014-FS-R8-04192-F

This electronic message contains information generated by the USDA solely for the intended recipients. Any unauthorized interception of this message or the use or disclosure of the information it contains may violate the law and subject the violator to civil or criminal penalties. If you believe you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and delete the email immediately.

From: Meloche, Douglas -FS

Dear Mr. Triplett III:

This is our response to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request which was received in this office on June 25, 2014. This concludes our response to your FOIA request. If you have questions regarding this FOIA request, you may contact Karri Heap at 318-473-7135 or email to kheap@fs.fed.us .

Best,

Douglas J. Meloche
Staff Assistant
Southern Region
Law Enforcement & Investigations
1720 Peachtree Rd., NW
Suite 870S
Atlanta, GA 30309

Work: (404) 347-4427
Fax: (404) 347-1849
http://fsweb.r8.fs.fed.us/lei/index.php

"Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn't even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back." - Heraclitus (534-474 B.C.)

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This electronic message contains information generated by the USDA solely for the intended recipients. Any unauthorized interception of this message or the use or disclosure of the information it contains may violate the law and subject the violator to civil or criminal penalties. If you believe you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and delete the email immediately.

From: Donald Triplett III

Please find attached a copy of the appeal mailed from our offices earlier today.
Best,

From: Sullivan, Sara L -FS

Dear Mr. Triplett;

This e-mail acknowledges receipt of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) appeal dated July 24, 2014, which was received in the Washington Office (WO) FOIA Service Center, Office of Regulatory and Management Services on August 5, 2014. You are appealing the final decision in FOIA Case Number 2014-FS-R8-04192-F.

Please note that in accordance with Title 7 CFR, Subtitle A, 1.14 appeals, our final appeal response may require review by the USDA Office of General Counsel (OGC) for legal sufficiency. Once OGC has completed their review, our final determination will be provided to you.

In addition, the WO FOIA Service Center has a large backlog of pending FOIA requests and appeals. We are working as quickly as possible to process each request and appeal in the order in which it was received. We greatly appreciate your patience.

To check on the status of your request, you may contact Ms. Saundra Dover of my staff via email at sdover@fs.fed.us<mailto:sdover@fs.fed.us>. Please reference your assigned case number, 2014-FS-WO-00183-A.

Thank you,

George Vargas
Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act Officer

[cid:image002.jpg@01CFB14B.48A5C240]
Telework: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

This electronic message contains information generated by the USDA solely for the intended recipients. Any unauthorized interception of this message or the use or disclosure of the information it contains may violate the law and subject the violator to civil or criminal penalties. If you believe you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and delete the email immediately.

From: Donald Triplett III

August 8th, 2014

RE: Appeal 2014-FS-WO-00183-A

To Whom It May Concern:

After submitting my appeal, I realize that I made a typo in the last paragraph. The appeal currently reads:

"For all the reasons cited above, the United States Forest Service should be compelled to search
again for documents responsive to my original request, and only withhold documents that can
reasonably be withheld under (b)(7)(e). If the USFS continues to believe they have the right to
withhold any responsive documents after enforcement proceedings, I would request that the
agency prepare a Vaughn index so that I may be able to further determine the validity of any
withholdings, and appeal more specifically."

I meant to reference exemption (b)(7)(a) relating to enforcement proceedings rather than (b)(7)(e). The corrected paragraph of the appeal should read:

"For all the reasons cited above, the United States Forest Service should be compelled to search
again for documents responsive to my original request, and only withhold documents that can
reasonably be withheld under (b)(7)(a). If the USFS continues to believe they have the right to
withhold any responsive documents after enforcement proceedings, I would request that the
agency prepare a Vaughn index so that I may be able to further determine the validity of any
withholdings, and appeal more specifically."

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Sincerely,

Donald Triplett, III

From: Dover, Saundra L -FS

Please note the Forest Service WO FOIA Service Center currently has a backlog of pending requests and appeals; we have received an enormous amount of FOIA requests. Therefore, we are processing all FOIA cases assigned on a first in first out basis. I am sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.

I am working to complete the review of the records that were sent in response to your request and now appeal.

Since this is an appeal, in accordance with Title 7 CFR, Subtitle A, 1.14, our final appeal response requires review by the USDA Office of General Counsel (OGC) for legal sufficiency. Once OGC has completed their review, our final determination will be provided to you. Please be assured that every attempt is being made to respond to your appeal in a timely manner.

You may contact Saundra Dover of the Washington Office FOIA Service Center by email at sdover@fs.fed.us<mailto:sdover@fs.fed.us> to inquire about the status of your appeal. Please identify your appeal by the assigned control number, 2014-FS-WO-00183-A.

Thanks!

[cid:image004.jpg@01D00009.4144ADB0]

Saundra L. Dover
Government Information Specialist (FOIA/PA)

Forest Service
WO-Business Operations-ORMS-FOIA/PA

p: 202-205-1198
sdover@fs.fed.us<mailto:sdover@fs.fed.us>

1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Mailstop 1143
Washington, DC 20250-1143
www.fs.fed.us<http://www.fs.fed.us/>
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Caring for the land and serving people

This electronic message contains information generated by the USDA solely for the intended recipients. Any unauthorized interception of this message or the use or disclosure of the information it contains may violate the law and subject the violator to civil or criminal penalties. If you believe you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and delete the email immediately.

From: Dover, Saundra L -FS

I am working on your appeal - I was having a time trying to understand what you were appealing - your appeal is citing things, etc., very hard to know what you are appealing, until I
read your email listed below.

Please read the highlighted text (appeal enclosed) to see if I have captured what you are appealing.
Thanks!
Saundra Dover

From: Donald Triplett III

RE: Appeal 2014-FS-WO-00183-A

Dear Ms. Dover,

Thank you for your reply. My apologies for any portions of my appeal that were hard to understand; the determination letter for this request could be considered fairly incomprehensible as well, given the incredible amount of exemptions that were erroneously cited within it.

Yes, the highlighted text generally captures what I am appealing: an inadequate search of records and improper use of exemptions by the USFS. I will note again that I did make a typo in the last paragraph, which should begin with: "For all the reasons cited above, the United States Forest Service should be compelled to search again for documents responsive to my original request, and only withhold documents that can reasonably be withheld under (b)(7)(a)."

Also, my paragraph regarding contracts/agreements between agencies (which wasn't highlighted) is important: since this appeal was sent, agreements between the USFS and both the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Coalition and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources have been released to me by North Carolina in response to a similar public records request. These same agreements exist within the files of the USFS, and should be released to me in response to my request.

Thank you again for your time and help in resolving this matter.

Thanks,
Donald Triplett, III

From: Dover, Saundra L -FS

I thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly – Thanks for the clarification - I understand now what you are appealing.

Saundra Dover

From: Dover, Saundra L -FS

Good Morning,
Just wanted to let you know I am working on your appeal - have to work with Region 8 to complete the task.
Thanks for your patience.
Saundra Dover

From: Donald Triplett III

To Whom It May Concern:

Please advise me of the status of this appeal, 2014-FS-WO-00183-A, and underlying request 2014-FS-R8-04192-F, as well as provide me with an estimated date of decision/completion. It has now been over a year since this appeal was submitted and acknowledged.

Sincerely,
Donald Triplett, III

From: Fuller-Bennett, Harald -FS

Dear Mr. Triplett:

I apologize for the delay, and I have forwarded your message to Willa Prato, the FOIA analyst who your appeal is assigned to. I would expect that she will get back to you shortly. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

[USFS]

Harald Fuller-Bennett
Freedom of Information Act Analyst

Forest Service
Office of Regulatory and Management Services

p: 202-205-1317
hfullerbennett@fs.fed.us<mailto:hfullerbennett@fs.fed.us>

1400 Independence Avenue SW, Mailstop 1143
Washington, DC 20250

For FedEx and UPS:
201 14th Street SW
Washington, DC 20024

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