Photos and incident report from White House drone crash

Shawn Musgrave filed this request with the United States Secret Service of the United States of America.
Tracking # 20150446
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Shawn Musgrave

To Whom It May Concern:

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

-All photos of the quadcopter drone that crashed near the White House. The New York Times posted one such photo online, credited to the U.S. Secret Service. (See http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/28/us/white-house-drone.html).

-All incident reports from the drone crash.

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,

Shawn Musgrave

From: FOIA

Dear Requester,

Please see the attached letter regarding your FOIA/PA requests. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this matter, please contact this office at (202) 406-5838.

Sincerely,

United States Secret Service
FOIA/PA Program

All e-mail to/from this account is subject to official review and is for official use only. Action may be taken in response to any inappropriate use of the Secret Service's e-mail system. This e-mail may contain information that is privileged, law enforcement sensitive, or subject to other disclosure limitations. Such information is loaned to you and should not be further disseminated without the permission of the Secret Service. If you have received this e-mail in error, do not keep, use, disclose, or copy it; notify the sender immediately and delete it.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello,

As I have appealed repeatedly over the past several months, DHS and its component agencies persist in categorizing me as commercial when my correct category for the purposes of fees for this FOIA request (20150446) is as a representative of the news media.

In the attached acknowledgement letter, USSS has failed to substantiate its basis for determining that I intend to use the requested information for commercial purposes. The requested documents will be posted online for free via MuckRock. I confirm that I hold no commercial interest in the requested documents, and DHS has provided no basis for determining otherwise.

Furthermore, I have substantiated in countless previous instances that my intentions for the requested documents are journalistic in nature. The requested documents concern a matter of broad public interest, namely the crash of a small unmanned aerial vehicle close tot he White House. Numerous publications have reported on the incident, including The New York Times, which credited one photo of the unit in question to the Secret Service.

The requested documents will contribute to public understanding of the incident and its investigation by the USSS as the entity charged with White House security.

Finally, the requested documents will be synthesized into a distinct journalistic work that will be disseminated to the public. My basis for this claim is not only that the requested documents will be posted in full online for the general public on MuckRock (although such posting is relevant as it relates to widespread dissemination in the public interest). My history of publication in a number of outlets — including via MuckRock's news coverage, as well as a range of print and online publications — substantiates my claim sufficiently to justify my categorization as a journalist for this request. This is particularly true for matters related to drones, for which I have amassed a considerable body of work.

In keeping with the 2007 FOIA amendments and procedures for determining fee status as a journalist, here is a sampling of my articles published in an array of outlets as proof of publication history:

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-fbi-cant-find-the-drone-privacy-reports-its-legally-required-to-have

thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/05/nypd-social-media-policy-allows-catfishing-with-the-proper-paperwork.html

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2013/dec/15/boston-police-close-alpr-program/

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2014/12/03/the-pentagon-finally-details-its-weapons-for-cops-giveaway

betaboston.com/news/2014/03/05/a-vast-hidden-surveillance-network-runs-across-america-powered-by-the-repo-industry/

www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/12/14/boston-police-suspend-use-high-tech-licence-plate-readers-amid-privacy-concerns/B2hy9UIzC7KzebnGyQ0JNM/story.html

www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/04/08/big-brother-better-police-work-new-technology-automatically-runs-license-plates-everyone/1qoAoFfgp31UnXZT2CsFSK/story.html

The above is more than sufficient basis for amending my fee categorization from commercial to representative of the news media. In light of the above, I request that my categorization be changed immediately, and that DHS and its component agencies cease their ridiculous claims that my requests are appropriately categorized as commercial for the purposes of FOIA fees. Please advise whether I will need to submit an appeal to this affect, or whether the above is sufficient justification to correct this error.

Respectfully,

Shawn Musgrave

From: United States Secret Service

A letter stating that the request appeal has been succesful.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello -

Please provide an update as to this request.

Thank you,
Shawn Musgrave
Investigative reporter and editor, MuckRock

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. 27, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #20150446.

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. 27, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #20150446.

Thank you for your help.

From: United States Secret Service

The request has been rejected, with the agency stating that the information or document(s) requested are exempt from disclosure.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Freedom of Information Appeal
Deputy Director, US Secret Service
Communications Center
245 Murray Lane SW, Building T-5
Washington, DC 201223

To Whom It May Concern:

This is an appeal of the US Secret Service's response to my FOIA request 20150446.

On 01/27/2015 I submitted a request for the following:

-All photos of the quadcopter drone that crashed near the White House. The New York Times posted one such photo online, credited to the U.S. Secret Service. (See http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/28/us/white-house-drone.html).

-All incident reports from the drone crash.

In the attached response letter dated July 22, the USSS indicated that photos were "appropriate for release." However, no such photos were provided. Please remand this portion of my request back to the USSS for provision of these photos.

The USSS FOIA office invoked exemption b(7)(a) in response to the second portion of my request. However, the USSS FOIA office failed to articulate how this exemption applies to the present, routine documents. Furthermore, the USSS response fails to indicate why the requested documents must be withheld in their entirety, rather than redacted and provided in part.

Please remand this request back to the USSS FOIA office for a good faith search and provision of responsive documents. Please also advise the USSS FOIA office that such boilerplate denials are inappropriate, and a violation of the agency's obligations under the FOIA statute and subsequent case law.

Respectfully,
Shawn Musgrave
Reporter, MuckRock

From: United States Secret Service

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: United States Secret Service

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

Files

pages

Close