PROMIS briefing Leach

Emma Best filed this request with the National Security Agency of the United States of America.
Tracking # 100719
Due March 6, 2017
Est. Completion None
Awaiting Response


From: Michael Best

To Whom It May Concern:

By the power vested in me under the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

Records relating to the request and subsequent response for a July 11, 1995 briefing request from Representative James Leach. A transcribed copy of the briefing request is enclosed below. Please note that CIA has released records relating to their response to the briefing request.

July 11, 1995

Vice Admiral John McConnell, USN
Director, National Security Agency
Ft. George Mead, MD 20755

Dear Admiral McConnell:

I am writing to seek your agency's help in verifying or
laying to rest various allegations of money laundering in
Arkansas in the late 1980s. For that purpose, I would
request a briefing from NSA's Inspector General on
Friday, July 14 before 1:00 p.m.; if that is not possible,
sometime on Monday, July 17, would also be convenient.

The reports I have in mind have appeared in the general
press and, sometimes in sensational form, in more narrow-
gauged outlets, including the Internet. They speak of
secret foreign bank accounts held by prominent people in
Arkansas, special software to monitor bank transfers, and
similar tales. I would like to determine whether there is
any substance at all to these stories.

Specifically, I would like your Inspector General to tell
me whether the Agency:

(1) knows of any secret bank accounts held by U.S.
citizens domiciled in Arkansas at any time between 1988
and now;

(2) is aware, directly or indirectly, of any efforts by
computer hackers, U.S.-government related or otherwise,
to penetrate banks for the purpose of monitoring accounts
and transactions;

(3) knows of or has participated, directly or indirectly, in
efforts to sell software--notably versions of a program in
use at the Justice Department called PROMIS--or
clandestinely produced devices to foreign banks for the
purpose of collecting economic intelligence and
information about illicit money transfers;

(4) is cognizant of any attempts by Systematics Inc, an
Arkansas-based electronic data processor that is now a
division of Alltell [Alltel], to monitor or engage in the
laundering of drug money or proceeds of other illegal
activities, notably those conducted through Mena,

(5) can produce information about Charles Hayes, a
businessman in Nancy, Kentucky, who claims to have
been a CIA operative in Latin and Central America, among
other places;

(6) knew of or was involved in, directly or indirectly, any
covert activities by the U.S. government or any private
parties (the so-called "private benefactors") in or around
Mena in the late 1980s;

(7) had any contractual or other relationship with the late
Adler Berriman "Barry" Seal in the 1980s or knew about
his activities in connection with Mena.

I would appreciate your help in shedding light on these

James A. Leach


I am a member of the news media and request classification as such. I have previously written about the government and its activities for AND Magazine, MuckRock and Glomar Disclosure and have an open arrangement with each. My articles have been widely read, with some reaching over 100,000 readers. As such, as I have a reasonable expectation of publication and my editorial and writing skills are well established. In addition, I discuss and comment on the files online and make them available through the non-profit Internet Archive, disseminating them to a large audience. While my research is not limited to this, a great deal of it, including this, focuses on the activities and attitudes of the government itself. As such, it is not necessary for me to demonstrate the relevance of this particular subject in advance. Additionally, case law states that “proof of the ability to disseminate the released information to a broad cross-section of the public is not required.” Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Dep’t of Justice, 365 F.3d 1108, 1126 (D.C. Cir. 2004); see Carney v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, 19 F.3d 807, 814-15 (2d Cir. 1994). Further, courts have held that "qualified because it also had “firm” plans to “publish a number of . . . ‘document sets’” concerning United States foreign and national security policy." Under this criteria, as well, I qualify as a member of the news media. Additionally, courts have held that the news media status "focuses on the nature of the requester, not its request. The provision requires that the request be “made by” a representative of the news media. Id. § 552(a)(4)(A)(ii)(II). A newspaper reporter, for example, is a representative of the news media regardless of how much interest there is in the story for which he or she is requesting information." As such, the details of the request itself are moot for the purposes of determining the appropriate fee category. As such, my primary purpose is to inform about government activities by reporting on it and making the raw data available and I therefore request that fees be waived. Per DOJ FOIA guidance, "a requester should be granted a fee waiver if the requested information (1) sheds light on the activities and operations of the government; (2) is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of those operations and activities; and (3) is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester." As this FOIA meets all of those requirements (see above), a fee waiver is warranted.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

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.


Michael Best

From: National Security Agency

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.