Peter W. Smith

Alexander Rony filed this request with the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America.
Tracking # 1379337-000
Est. Completion None
Status
No Responsive Documents

Communications

From: Alexander Rony

To Whom It May Concern:

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

Files relating to or mentioning Peter W. Smith (Feb 23, 1936 – May 14, 2017). His death has been widely reported. http://www.rtfunerals.com/obituaries/Peter-Smith-7/#!/Obituary

Please conduct a search of the Central Records System, including but not limited to the Electronic Surveillance (ELSUR) Indices, the Microphone Surveillance (MISUR) Indices, the Physical Surveillance (FISUR) Indices, and the Technical Surveillance (TESUR) Indices, for both main-file records and cross-reference records.

On June 29, the Wall Street Journal reported that Mr. Smith had sought Hillary Clinton's hacked emails during the 2016 presidential election, identifying five groups that claimed to have the data, including two suspected of being Russians. The article is located at https://www.wsj.com/articles/gop-operative-sought-clinton-emails-from-hackers-implied-a-connection-to-flynn-1498770851?mg=prod/accounts-wsj. A summary that does not require sign-in is located at http://www.cbsnews.com/news/report-gop-operative-looked-to-get-clinton-emails-from-hacker-said-he-worked-with-flynn/.

I respectfully request that you waive all fees in connection with this request as provided by 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii). The Sierra Club is a national environmental nonprofit with no commercial interest in obtaining the requested information. Instead, our organization intends to analyze and disseminate the requested information free of charge so that the public can be better informed and meaningfully participate in the safeguarding of our nation's democratic institutions and voting systems.

FBI records relating to Mr. Smith may shed a light on a matter of public interest: attempts by individuals affiliated with the Russian government to interfere with U.S. elections. The subject matter of the requested records is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government by disclosing what intelligence agencies knew about the attempted hacking of former Secretary Clinton's emails, and what they did in response. Multiple intelligence officials and members of Congress have stated that they expect Russian-backed hackers' attacks on sensitive U.S. systems to increase.

The Sierra Club and its supporters have demonstrated interest and expertise in the subject area, specifically the promotion of policies designed to expand voting. We maintain an active Democracy program and weigh in on legislation, presidential nominations, and administrative proposals that affect our issues.

In addition, I ask to be properly categorized as a representative of the news media. The bulk of my professional duties at the Sierra Club entails planning and writing content about public policy, including composing mass communications to our followers, analyzing FOIA responses, and coordinating with press secretaries. Here are some examples that resulted from my work:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/05/19/nearly-700-vacancies-at-cdc-because-of-trump-administration-hiring-freeze/
https://sierraclub.org/planet/2017/04/hiring-freeze-prevented-epa-filling-hundreds-jobs
http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/press-releases/4480/over-700000-people-tell-government-to-block-seed-mergers

The Sierra Club has the ability and intention to disseminate the information it receives through this request. The information may be shared through emails to an audience reaching into the millions, Facebook and Twitter posts reaching tens of thousands of followers, articles on our often-visited website, and analysis provided to the media.

Due to the exceptional circumstances surrounding Russian hacking, I request expedited treatment of this FOIA request, which meets several of the Department of Justice’s rationales:

1. The request concerns a matter of current exigency to the American public, given that U.S. President Donald Trump is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the upcoming G-20 Summit. If any collusion was found to have taken place between Mr. Smith, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and Russian hackers, that should be made known to the public and hopefully addressed between President Trump and President Putin directly, so as to prevent future acts of electoral interference between non-state actors (both the Trump campaign and Mr. Smith denied that Mr. Smith was working on the campaign's behalf).
2. The consequences of delaying a response would compromise a significant recognized interest. Delaying this information through the normal FOIA process would represent a clear loss in value to the developing breaking news stories around Mr. Smith's contacts with hackers as well as Mr. Flynn's contacts with Russian officials.
3. The request concerns federal government activity, specifically the FBI's monitoring of individuals believed to be attempting to illegally access sensitive data of a U.S. citizen, former secretary of State, and at the time, presidential candidate.

In the event that there are fees, please 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,

Alexander Rony
Sierra Club

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: Federal Bureau of Investigation

A no responsive documents response.

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