Treasury and OFAC records, subj: Qassem Soleimani

T. McElwee filed this request with the Department of Treasury of the United States of America.
Tracking #

2020-01-006

Due Feb. 3, 2020
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

From: T. McElwee

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

All records mentioning or concerning Qassem Soleimani, an Iranian national holding the rank of Major General in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), described as the commander of its subdivision, Quds Force (QF). Soleimani had been sanctioned under the Specially Designated Nationals program of OFAC; however, this request encompasses records of the Treasury Department as a whole.

Soleimani has been reported deceased on January 2, 2020; two news reports (Voice of America and Washington Post) attest to this. There are no privacy concerns under the exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act or Privacy Act.

Please search all applicable Systems of Records, including systems of records noted as Treasury-Wide, Departmental Offices, FinCEN, and the OFAC.

To assist in the location of records, please take note of the following aliases and personally identifiable information, as furnished by the Department of Treasury pursuant to sanctions announcements:

DOB: March 11, 1957; POB: Qom, Iran; Passport: year of issue 1999, Diplomatic Passport # 008827 (Iran); known aliases: Ghasem Soleymani, Qasmi Sulayman, Qasem Soleymani, Qasem Solaimani, Qasem Salimani, Qasem Solemani, Qasem Sulaimani, Qasem Sulemani.

If any potentially responsive records have been destroyed and/or transferred to NARA, then I request copies of the destruction or transfer slips as well as any other documentation relating to, mentioning or describing said transfer or destruction, to include but not be limited to confirmation that the Bureau has no other copies of said records.

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.

Sincerely,

T. McElwee

  • Iraqi20TV_20Irans20Gen.20Soleimani20Killed20in20Baghdad20Strike20_20Voice20of20Amer.pdf

  • Airstrike20at20Baghdad20airport20kills20IranE28099s20most20revered20military20leader.pdf

From:

Thank you for your recent FOIA request to the Department of the Treasury. Attached is our acknowledgement letter. Please review for additional information.

Sincerely,

Michelle Henshaw
Case Manager, FOIA & Transparency
Privacy, Transparency, and Records
Michelle.Henshaw@Treasury.gov<mailto:Michelle.Henshaw@Treasury.gov>
FOIA@Treasury.gov<mailto:FOIA@Treasury.gov>
Phone: 202-622-0930

From: Department of Treasury

Good Afternoon:

Attached is our final response to your request. If you need to contact this office again concerning your request, please provide the FinCEN reference number. If you have any questions pertaining to your request, please feel free to contact the FOIA Office at email FinCENFOIA@fincen.gov.
Regards,

FinCEN FOIA Office

From: T. McElwee

To whom it may concern:

I appeal the FinCEN decision to invoke exemptions to FOIA regarding my request (assigned numbers FinCEN 20-056-F and goFOIA 2020-01-008), on the grounds that exemptions to FOIA have been wrongfully invoked in order to dodge its duty under FOIA to perform a reasonable and diligent search of applicable records.

Exemption (b)6 is totally inapplicable. Soleimani is known to be deceased; there is simply no privacy interest served at all.

Exemption (b)7(D) is being invoked without any cause. No information regarding confidential informants was requested and it is entirely possible to protect confidential informants using redaction.

Exemption (b)7(E) is being invoked . "Routine" investigative techniques are not covered by this exemption. Soleimani has been noted as a member of the Iranian military since at least 1979; this pre-dates the existence of FinCEN by 11 years. He has been sanctioned, by name, since 2011. FinCEN has published at least one Final Rule naming Soleimani personally (see attached).

This Media Post will serve as notification to FinCEN that they should reverse their decision!

-T. McElwee

From: Department of Treasury

Dear Mr. McElwee;

Re: FOIA #: 2020-01-006
OASIS #: 1099151

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is in receipt of your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records related to Qassem Soleimani. I would like to speak to you about the scope of your request. Could you please provide me with your periods of availability Friday, January, 17, 2020 and next week and a telephone number where I can contact you to discuss your request?

Your request has been assigned FOIA number 2020-01-006, please reference this number in your email communication back to me. Please email me at our FOIA Requester Service Center email address at: OFACFOIAOffice@treasury.com<mailto:OFACFOIAOffice@treasury.com>. Our telephone number is 202-622-2500, option 3.

Sincerely,

Marshall Fields
Assistant Director
Information Disclosure and Records Management
Office of Sanctions Support and Operations
Office of Foreign Assets Control

Confidentiality Notice:
This email may contain privileged, confidential and or law enforcement sensitive information which is exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you have received this communication in error, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of the communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender.

From: T. McElwee

Re: FOIA #: 2020-01-006
OASIS #: 1099151

I fail to see any compelling reason why this FOIA request, which has been submitted according to the FOIA statute, requires a phone call.

If there are issues with this request, they should be stated in writing and they will be answered in writing.

So that there is no confusion: yes, I am still very interested in this FOIA request, and it should not be closed due to any backlog issues (real or imagined).

-TM

From: Department of Treasury

Good Afternoon:

Attached is the appeal acknowledgement letter to your Freedom of Information Act request appeal dated January 14, 2020 and received in the FinCEN FOIA Office January 22, 2020. Further inquiries concerning your appeal should be mailed to FOIA Appeal FinCEN at P.O. Box 39 Vienna, VA 22183. If you have any questions pertaining to your appeal, please feel free to call 202-622-8098.
Regards,

FinCEN FOIA Office

From: Department of Treasury

Dear Mr. McElwee:

RE: FOIA No. 2020-01-006
OASIS No.: 1098381

Attached is OFAC's acknowledgement of your FOIA request number 2020-01-006.

Please respond to our suggested narrowing, in writing, by close of business February 21, 2020.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, you may email OFACFOIAOffice@treasury.gov<mailto:OFACFOIAOffice@treasury.gov> or contact the FOIA Requester Service Center at 202-622-2500, option 3. Please reference your FOIA No. 2020-01-006 in any future communications.

Sincerely,

Marshall Fields
Assistant Director
Information Disclosure and Records Management
Office of Sanctions Support and Operations
Office of Foreign Assets Control

Confidentiality Notice:
This email may contain privileged, confidential and or law enforcement sensitive information which is exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you have received this communication in error, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of the communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender.

From: T. McElwee

FOIA No.: 2020-01-006
OASIS No.: 1098381

This is in response to Treasury's request for a narrowing of scope with regard to documents on the deceased person Soleimani. This challenge is accepted and the request should be further perfected as follows:

Please narrow scope *by time* to records dated no earlier than calendar year 2005.

Rationale: the earliest relevant consideration by OFAC would be Executive Order 13382, "Blocking Property of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators and Their Supporters," signed by the President on June 29, 2005. It is under this Executive Order that Soleimani's name was explicitly added to an OFAC list effective October 25, 2007, under 72 FR 62520, "Additional Designation of Entities Pursuant to Executive Order 13382."

I believe documents under the 2005 Executive Order may yield background with regard to Soleimani's designation which would likely be considered both responsive and helpful.

Thank you for your courteous reply,
-TM

From: Department of Treasury

Dear Mr. McElwee;

Re: FOIA #: 2020-01-006
OASIS #: 1120068

In response to your inquiry below, please be advised that it is anticipated that any records responsive to your request will be located on our classified systems. At this stage of the Covid-19 pandemic our agency is operating under a national stay-at-home order. We are still operating however, we are unable to access our classified systems until we return to our facility.

Once we return to the facility we will start the search process. Please be advised that any responsive records will most likely include other Federal records. In order to process these records, OFAC must consult with the other Federal agencies to obtain their release determination. This process is time consuming as other Federal agencies are working through their FOIA backlogs, which OFAC cannot control.

Also there are still 223 cases ahead of your request in our queue.

Because of the issues I have identified above it is virtually impossible to determine when OFAC can provide you with a response to your request.

If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at our FOIA Requester Service Center at 202-622-2500, option 3 or via email to: OFACFOIAOffice@treasury.gov. Please reference your FOIA No. 2020-01-006 in any future communications.

Sincerely,

Marshall Fields
Assistant Director
Information Disclosure and Records Management
Office of Sanctions Support and Operations
Office of Foreign Assets Control

OFAC FOIA Requester Service Center
OFACFOIAOffice@treasury.gov<mailto:OFACFOIAOffice@treasury.gov>
202-622-2500, Option 3

Confidentiality Notice:
This email may contain privileged, confidential and or law enforcement sensitive information which is exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you have received this communication in error, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of the communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender.

From: Department of Treasury

Dear Mr. McElwee,

Re: FOIA No. 2020-01-006
OASIS No.: 1125741

Thank you for your inquiry regarding the status of your FOIA request #2020-01-006. As of today, there are 217 cases pending ahead of yours.

Unfortunately, we are unable, at this time, to provide you with a date certain when we can provide our next response to you.

We appreciate your patience as we work through our queue.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, you may email OFACFOIAOffice@treasury.gov<mailto:OFACFOIAOffice@treasury.gov> or contact the FOIA Requester Service Center at 202-622-2500, option 3. Please reference your FOIA No. 2020-01-006 in any future communications.

Regards,

OFAC FOIA Office

Confidentiality Notice:
This email may contain privileged, confidential and or law enforcement sensitive information which is exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you have received this communication in error, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of the communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender.

From: Department of Treasury

Dear Mr. McElwee;

RE: FOIA #: 2020-01-006
Subj: Response to status update request

Please be advised that the effects of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19 has negatively impacted our response time. Your request seeks records related to the designation of Qassem Soleimani. Any responsive records will be located on our classified systems.

During the governmental stay-at-home requirement, OFAC was unable to process any of its classified cases. Now that we are phasing back into our facilities, we will restart processing our classified cases. Please be advised that your cases is still in its same relative position in our queue. OFAC will diligently get to your cases as we have ability to do so.

If you have any further questions or concerns regarding your request, please feel free to reach out to us at our FOIA Requester Service Center at 202-622-2500, option 3, or vis email at OFACFOIAOffice@treasury.gov<mailto:OFACFOIAOffice@treasury.gov>. Please remember to reference FOIA number 2020-01-006 in all communications regarding this request.

Sincerely,

Marshall Fields
Assistant Director
Information Disclosure and Records Management
Office of Sanctions Support and Operations
Office of Foreign Assets Control

OFAC FOIA Requester Service Center
OFACFOIAOffice@treasury.gov<mailto:OFACFOIAOffice@treasury.gov>
202-622-2500, Option 3

Confidentiality Notice:
This email may contain privileged, confidential and or law enforcement sensitive information which is exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you have received this communication in error, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of the communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender.

From: Department of Treasury

Dear Requester;

RE: FOIA #: 2020-01-006
Subj: Response to status update

As a result of the Novel coronavirus, please be advised that the Department of the Treasury and OFAC have not fully returned to its facilities as of yet. Because your request involves classified records and your request is recent in our queue, we have not started processing your request.

Please check back with us in the future to determine the status of your FOIA request.

If you have any further questions or concerns regarding your request, please feel free to reach out to us at our FOIA Requester Service Center at 202-622-2500, option 3, or via email at OFACFOIAOffice@treasury.gov<mailto:OFACFOIAOffice@treasury.gov>.

Sincerely,

Marshall Fields
Assistant Director
Information Disclosure and Records Management
Office of Sanctions Support and Operations
Office of Foreign Assets Control

Confidentiality Notice:
This email may contain privileged, confidential and or law enforcement sensitive information which is exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If you have received this communication in error, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of the communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender.

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