RAPS standard evaluation procedures

Shawn Musgrave filed this request with the Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate of the United States of America.
Tracking # 2014-STFO-007 ; 2015-HQAP-00083
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:

A copy of the procedures, protocols and forms used to evaluate unmanned aerial systems, including any worksheets or template reports completed as part of the evaluation and testing process.

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: Hagan, Katrina T

Dear Mr. Musgrave,

Thank you for your recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate. Please review the attached letter regarding your request.
Thanks,

Katrina Hagan
FOIA Office
Science and Technology Directorate
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello,

I have submitted three FOIA requests regarding RAPS evaluations of UAS. In this request, there ought to be no business submitter information or commercially exempt materials, as all materials requested pertain solely to the evaluation process employed by RAPS. Please clarify the basis for consulting with the indicated companies in the process of completing this request.

Best,
Shawn

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello,

I wanted to check again and make sure that you have not lumped my RAPS requests together -- again, this request for evaluation procedures ought to have no notification requirements.

Best,
Shawn

From: STFOIA

Dear Mr. Musgrave,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information Act request. Please review the attached letter regarding your request.
Thanks,

Katrina Hagan
FOIA Office
Science and Technology Directorate
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello,

I do not agree to pay commercial requester fees, because I am not a commercial requester. I am a journalist.

Having personally read the memos from Mr. Holzer of the DHS Privacy Office regarding the classification of requests submitted via MuckRock, I am aware that you may have been advised to scrutinize the fee category claims of MuckRock staff and users. That memo did not, however, indicate that all MuckRock requesters are to be considered as commercial requests, as the DHS S&T and several other DHS component offices have seen fit to do. Rather, FOIA officers are to ascertain the fee category based on individual requester characteristics.

Here are a selection of my published articles to support my claim of news media requester category (some published via the MuckRock website for public viewing without a paywall, others on other media outlet websites and in print):

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

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

http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/syracuse-home-to-an-air-force-drone-squadron-banned-drones

I'd be willing to send scans of clips or any other proof of journalistic bona fides you may require, including successful grant applications to the Fund for Investigative Journalism, clips of talks I've given at journalistic conferences or any number of other substantiating documents to confirm my chosen profession.

Per all of the above, I clearly fall within the definition of a media requester, and respectfully insist that your office revise its acknowledgement letter accordingly.

All the best,
Shawn

From: STFOIA

Dear Mr. Musgrave,

Thank you for your inquiry regarding your Freedom of information Act request. Please review the attached letter in response to your inquiry.
Thanks,

FOIA Office
Science and Technology Directorate
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(o) (202) 254-6342
(f) (202) 254-6739

From: Shawn Musgrave

Associate General Counsel (General Law)
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Mailstop 0655,
Washington, D.C. 20528

May 5, 2014

To Whom It May Concern:

This is an appeal of fee category for FOIA 2014-STFO-007.

In its acknowledgement letter (attached), the Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate categorized me as a commercial requester.

As I have appealed repeatedly over the past several months, DHS and its component agencies persist in categorizing me as commercial (and in some cases of more gracious "administrative error," as non-commercial/other) when my correct category for the purposes of fees under FOIA is as a representative of the news media.

As appeals authorities for DHS have found in recent FOIA cases (see, for instance, the determination of appeal 20014-HQAP-00032 as submitted by Robert Delaware, another MuckRock user), here DHS S&T 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 means by which DHS evaluates small unmanned aerial systems as used by law enforcement and first responders. Such evaluations are of particular public interest given recent UAS crashes and malfunctions that have taken place in New York, California and Texas over the past several months.

The requested documents will contribute to public understanding of the DHS initiative to evaluate small UAS, and to determine whether its evaluation criteria are reasonable and scrutinous so as to vet safe equipment from unsafe.

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 unmanned aerial systems, 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 recent articles as proof of publication history:

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

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

http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/syracuse-home-to-an-air-force-drone-squadron-banned-drones

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.

Respectfully,

Shawn Musgrave

From: Lasko, Linda

Mr. Musgrave,

Attached, please find an acknowledgment of receipt of your appeal related to FOIA # 2014-STFO-007.

Sincerely,

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

202-343-1743 (Main FOIA Number)
202-343-4011 (Fax)

Visit our FOIA website

This communication, along with any attachments, is covered by federal and state law governing electronic communications and may contain confidential and legally privileged information. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, use or copying of this message is strictly prohibited. If you have received this in error, please reply immediately to the sender and delete this message. Thank you.

From: Meus, Lauren M CIV

Mr. Musgrave:

Please find attached the FOIA Appeal decision issued by Judge Jordan's office.

Thank you,

Lauren Meus
Hearing Docket Clerk

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello,

While i have received a determination of my appeal for fee waiver/media requester categorization, I have yet to receive subsequent followup on the FOIA request itself. Please advise.

Best,
Shawn

From: STFOIA

Dear Mr. Musgrave,

Thank you for your inquiry regarding your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Please review the attached letter your request.
Thanks,

FOIA Office
Science and Technology Directorate
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello,

While I fundamentally disagree with the logic of the fee waiver appeal rejection and in no way consider myself subject to commercial fees, I agree to pay the estimated processing cost of $56 for 2014-STFO-007.

Please inform me in advance if the processing costs are projected to exceed this level.

-Shawn Musgrave, MuckRock

From: STFOIA

Dear Mr. Musgrave,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate. Please review the attached letter regarding your request.
Thanks,

FOIA Office
Science and Technology Directorate
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(o) (202) 254-6342
(f) (202) 254-6739

From: Shawn Musgrave

Department of Homeland Security
Science and Technology Directorate, FOIA Office
245 Murray Lane SW, Mail Stop 0205
Washington, DC 20528-0655

November 26, 2014

To Whom It May Concern:

Per the attached letter dated November 20, 2014 for FOIA 2014-STFO-007, please find enclosed a check for $70.00.

I note once again that I fundamentally disagree with the logic of the fee waiver appeal rejection and in no way consider myself subject to commercial fees.

Please send responsive documents to:

MuckRock News
Dept MR10054
PO Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

Best,

Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: MuckRock

Hello,

A check for $70 has been placed in the mail to satisfy the fee associated with the attached request.

Thank you for your help.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello,

A check for $70 was mailed for than a month ago for this request. Please confirm that the check was received, and advise as to the estimated delivery date for responsive documents.

Thank you.

From: STFOIA

Dear Mr. Musgrave

This is in response to your December 31, 2014 email regarding the status of your request. In the attached letter dated November 20, 2014, we advised you that upon receipt of payment for processing your FOIA request, all documents available for release will be provided to you. To date, the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate has not received your payment. Upon receipt of payment, S&T will release documents available for your request.
Thanks,
FOIA Office
Science and Technology Directorate
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(o) (202) 254-6342
(f) (202) 254-6739

From: Shawn Musgrave

Department of Homeland Security
Science and Technology Directorate, FOIA Office
245 Murray Lane SW, Mail Stop 0205
Washington, DC 20528-0655

January 8, 2015

To Whom It May Concern:

Per the attached letter dated November 20, 2014 for FOIA 2014-STFO-007, please find enclosed a check for $70.00. I had previously sent a check on November 26, 2014, but it apparently was not received. Please confirm receipt of this letter and check as soon as it is received.

I note once again that I fundamentally disagree with the logic of the fee waiver appeal rejection and in no way consider myself subject to commercial fees.

Please send responsive documents to:

MuckRock News
Dept MR10054
PO Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

Best,

Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello,

I had previously sent a check for the indicated amount. I have put another check in the mail. Please confirm receipt as soon as it arrives.

Thank you.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello,

Please confirm whether the check for $70 has been received.

Thank you.

From: STFOIA

Dear Mr. Musgrave,

This is in response to your January 21, 2015 email regarding the status of your request. In our January 8, 2015 email, we advised you that upon receipt of payment for processing your FOIA request, all documents available for release will be provided to you. To date, the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate has not received your payment. Upon receipt of payment, S&T will release documents available for your request.
Thanks,
FOIA Office
Science and Technology Directorate
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(o) (202) 254-6342
(f) (202) 254-6739

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello,

Checking again to see whether the check was received as mailed on January 8.

Thank you,
Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello,

Please confirm whether the check was received, and that responsive documents have been sent.

Thank you.

From: STFOIA

Dear Mr. Musgrave,
This is in response to your February 17, 2015 email regarding the status of your request. In our January 23, 2015 email, we advised you that upon receipt of payment for processing your FOIA request, all documents available for release will be provided to you. To date, the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate has not received your payment. Upon receipt of payment, S&T will release documents available for your request. If you would like to submit another payment, we recommend you provide a tracking number for delivery confirmation purposes.
Thanks,
FOIA Office
Science and Technology Directorate
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(o) (202) 254-6342
(f) (202) 254-6739

From: Shawn Musgrave

Respectfully, I have sent three checks now to the following address:

Department of Homeland Security
Science and Technology Directorate, FOIA Office
245 Murray Lane SW, Mail Stop 0205
Washington, DC 20528-0655

Each letter sent along with the checks has included a tracking number for the FOIA itself. Please confirm the address above and the tracking number so that this matter can be resolved.

Thank you,
Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: STFOIA

Dear Mr. Musgrave,

To date the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate has not received any form of payment for your FOIA request 2014-STFO-007. Upon receipt of payment, all documents available for release will be provided to you. If you have a tracking number from the mailing service you selected to send your payment, please provide this information too. The mailing address for this office is listed below.

FOIA Officer Katrina Hagan
Department of Homeland Security
Science and Technology Directorate FOIA Office
245 Murray Ln, SW, Mail Stop 0205
Washington, DC 20528
Thanks,
FOIA Office
Science and Technology Directorate
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(o) (202) 254-6342
(f) (202) 254-5396

From: MuckRock

Hello,

Before I mail a check a fourth time, I wanted to draw attention to two FOIA requests I have submitted to DHS HQ in which I have been classified as a media requester. I have attached the acknowledgement letters for those requests to this email. Additionally, for request 2015-HQFO-00238 I was granted a conditional fee waiver.

For both of the above requests, I submitted nearly identical supplementary information as to my qualifications as a media requester, namely publication history. For the present request regarding a DHS program to evaluate particular unmanned aerial vehicles, my credentials to qualify for media requester status are even stronger given my extensive coverage of drones for the past two years.

Once again, then, I request that S&T classify me as a media requester as appropriate, as the DHS FOIA office has done.

Respectfully,
Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: STFOIA

Dear Mr. Musgrave,

Thank you for your March 2, 2015 inquiry regarding your Freedom of Information Act request. Please review the attached letter regarding your request.
Thanks,
FOIA Office
Science and Technology Directorate
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(o) (202) 254-6342
(f) (202) 254-5396

From: Shawn Musgrave

FOIA Officer Katrina Hagan
Department of Homeland Security
Science and Technology Directorate FOIA Office
245 Murray Ln, SW, Mail Stop 0205
Washington, DC 20528

Ms. Hagan:

Enclosed please find a check for the indicated amount.

In addition to registering my protest for my incorrect classification as a commercial requester — particularly given my extensive publication history on the matter of drones, and DHS deployment of drones, in particular — I would also note that your staff has failed to keep track of three separate checks that were previously mailed to this precise address.

Please confirm receipt immediately, and send responsive documents to the address below.

Respectfully,
Shawn Musgrave
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. 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 #2014-STFO-007 ; Appeal 2014-HQAP-00058.

Thank you for your help.

From: STFOIA

Dear Mr. Musgrave,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate. Please review the attached letter regarding your request.

Thanks,

Katrina Hagan Green
FOIA Office
Science and Technology Directorate
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(o) (202) 254-6342
(f) (202) 254-5396

This communication, including any attachments, is intended for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed. It may contain information that is privileged, confidential, or otherwise protected by applicable law. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, use, or copying of this message or portion thereof is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please reply immediately to the sender and delete this message.

From: STFOIA

Dear Mr. Musgrave,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate. Please review the attached documents regarding your request.
Thanks,

FOIA Office
Science and Technology Directorate
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(o) (202) 254-6342
(f) (202) 254-5396

From: Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate

An interim response, stating the request is being processed.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Associate General Counsel (General Law)
Mailstop 0655
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528

To Whom It May Concern:

This is an appeal of the extensive and inappropriate redactions in documents released by the Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate in response to FOIA 2014-STFO-007.

In my January 2014 request, I sought from DHS S&T the following documents:

"A copy of the procedures, protocols and forms used to evaluate unmanned aerial systems, including any worksheets or template reports completed as part of the evaluation and testing process."

As I reported in an article published on MuckRock (see https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2015/jun/18/homeland-security-tests-its-drones-liberty-city/) as well as on Motherboard (see http://motherboard.vice.com/read/inside-liberty-city-homeland-securitys-site-for-testing-urban-drones), it took more than a year — including needless haggling over my fee designation and the sending of three checks, one of which has since been returned — for DHS S&T to send its November 2012 test plan for the Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) evaluation program.

While other documents released by RAPS officials online and at public trade conferences include evaluation specifications for RAPS assessments, DHS S&T redacted these same details in the released test plan. For instance, compare the tables on pages 8 and 9 of the released test plan, which summarize evaluation parameters for all small unmanned aerial systems (SUAS) assessed by RAPS reviews, to the same tables as released in the attached slide. These seemingly identical tables were published online, and come from presentations given by RAPS officials.

For full copies of these slidedecks, see https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2105842-raps-test-overview-jun-14.html ; http://www.slideshare.net/sUASNews/8-raps-26july13

Documents published online also indicate that test plan for RAPS was approved for public release in November 2012. It is therefore unclear whether any redactions were necessary in the first place.

In light of the above, I ask that you remand these documents back to DHS S&T for a good faith review and provision of all releasable portions of responsive documents.

Respectfully,
Shawn Musgrave
Reporter, MuckRock

From:


None

From: Meus, Lauren M CIV

Mr. Musgrave:

Please find attached the FOIA Appeal Decision issued by Chief Judge
Brudzinski's office in the above matter. Should you have any questions,
please reach out to the judge's office directly.

Thank you,

Lauren Meus
Hearing Docket Clerk
U.S. Coast Guard

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