U.S. Northern Command (WikiLeaks)

Alexa O'Brien filed this request with the USNORTHCOM - US Northern Command of the United States of America.
Tracking # FY14-02DEC2013-13
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Alexa O'Brien

November 27, 2013

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter constitutes a request under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552, and is submitted on behalf of journalist Alexa O’Brien.

I seek any and all documents in the U.S. Northern Command’s possession that pertain to the WikiLeaks website or organization from January 2006 to the present date.

I am a “representative of the news media” for fee waiver purposes. See Project on Military Procurement v. Department of the Navy, 710 F. Supp. 362, 363, 365 (D.C.D. 1989). My work has been published in The Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Guardian UK, Salon, and featured by PBS Frontline, On The Media and Public Radio International. Based on my status as a “news media” requester, I am entitled to receive the requested record with only duplication fees asserted. Further, because disclosure of this information will “contribute greatly to the public understanding of the operation or activities of the government,” duplication fees should be waived.

There is a compelling need for the requested documents such that expedited processing is appropriate. I am engaged in disseminating information. There exists an urgent need to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity. As 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(E)(ii)(I) provides, I will anticipate your determination on our request within ten (10) calendar days.

I requests that in the event that access to any of the requested records is denied pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(b), I be provided with all non-exempt portions which are reasonably segregable. I further request that you describe the deleted material in detail and specify the statutory basis for the denial as well as your reasons for believing that the alleged statutory justification applies in this instance. Please separately state your reasons for not invoking your discretionary powers to release the requested documents. Such statements will be helpful in deciding whether to appeal an adverse determination, and in formulating arguments in case an appeal is taken. I reserve my right to appeal the withholding or deletion of any information and expect that you will list the office and address were such an appeal can be sent.

I requests that documents responsive to this request be provided to me in electronic format on a CD-ROM.

Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this request.

Sincerely,

Alexa O’Brien

From: USNORTHCOM FOIA Officer - OMB

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

2 December 2013

Ms. O'Brien,

USNORTHCOM has received your request and assigned it USNORTHCOM FOIA case number: FY14-02DEC2013-13.

You have requested all documents in the U.S. Northern Command’s possession that pertain to the WikiLeaks website or organization from January 2006 to the present date.

In accordance with the Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Program, DoD 5400.7-R and United States Code, Title 5, Section 552 (a)(4)(a)(vi), we are processing your request for a fee waiver. Please provide justification supporting your fee waiver request:

(a) How do the records concern the operations or activities of the government?
(b) Given the records concern the operations or activities of the government, how will disclosure likely contribute to public understanding of these operations and activities?
(c) If there is likely to be a contribution to public understanding, will release of the requested records contribute significantly to public understanding?
(d) Would disclosure be primarily in your commercial interest?
(e) Do you have the ability and intention to disseminate the information to the general public or a reasonably broad audience of persons interested in the subject?
(f) How and to whom do you intend to disseminate the information?
(g) How do you plan to use the information to contribute to public understanding of the Government's operations or activities?

In accordance with the Department of Defense Freedom of Information Act Program, DoD 5400.7-R and United States Code, Title 5, Section 552(a), we are also processing your request for expedited processing. In order to qualify for expedited processing, a compelling need must be demonstrated. Under FOIA, this means that:

(a) A failure to obtain the records quickly could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual or
(b) There is an urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity exists (i.e., the information is currently newsworthy).

Please provide additional justification in order for USNORTHCOM to make a fee waiver and expedited processing determination by 11 Dec 13. If no response is received prior to 11 Dec 13 we will process your request without a fee waiver and without expedited processing. We will contact you if fees will be assessed prior to processing your request.

Attached is our letter of acknowledgement of your request. Please acknowledge receipt.

Kris

KRISTINA L. ROTH, Civ, DAFC
Chief, FOIA and Privacy Act Requester Service Center NORAD and USNORTHCOM Chief of Staff
250 Vandenberg St, Ste B016
Peterson AFB, CO 80914-3817
Coml (719) 554-7185 / DSN 692-7185

From: Alexa O'Brien

KRISTINA L. ROTH, Civ, DAFC
Chief, FOIA and Privacy Act Requester Service Center NORAD and USNORTHCOM Chief of Staff
250 Vandenberg St, Ste B016
Peterson AFB, CO 80914-3817
Coml (719) 554-7185 / DSN 692-7185

RE FY14-02DEC2013-13

Thank you for your recent correspondence. On December 2, 2013 you required me to answer the following questions in order to be considered for fee waiver and expedited processing. While I provided detailed information regarding my journalistic work in the original FOIA request. I am providing additional information (answers to your questions) below.

FEE WAIVER

(a) How do the records concern the operations or activities of the government?

The U.S. criminal probe of WikiLeaks is unprecedented in both scale and scope.

(b) Given the records concern the operations or activities of the government, how will disclosure likely contribute to public understanding of these operations and activities?

At issue is the danger posed to democracy and the rule of law by the U.S. government's expanding control over information in the digital age, and the use of the post-9/11 interagency process against the press and whistleblowers-- effectively neutralizing the First and Fourth Amendments.

(c) If there is likely to be a contribution to public understanding, will release of the requested records contribute significantly to public understanding?

Yes.

(d) Would disclosure be primarily in your commercial interest?

I am a journalist. The information will be provided free of charge to the public and analyzed by a journalist. I received a 2013 Freedom of the Press Foundation grant for my coverage of the Chelsea Manning trial. For my “outstanding work for justice for Manning” I was shortlisted for the 2013 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism.

(e) Do you have the ability and intention to disseminate the information to the general public or a reasonably broad audience of persons interested in the subject?

Yes. As I stated in my original FOIA request dated November 27, 2013:

“I am a “representative of the news media” for fee waiver purposes. See Project on Military Procurement v. Department of the Navy, 710 F. Supp. 362, 363, 365 (D.C.D. 1989). My work has been published in The Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Guardian UK, Salon, and featured by PBS Frontline, On The Media and Public Radio International. Based on my status as a “news media” requester, I am entitled to receive the requested record with only duplication fees asserted. Further, because disclosure of this information will “contribute greatly to the public understanding of the operation or activities of the government,” duplication fees should be waived.”

(f) How and to whom do you intend to disseminate the information?

The public.

(g) How do you plan to use the information to contribute to public understanding of the Government's operations or activities?

I plan on cataloging the information and releasing it as primary source documents along side multiple news articles I will be writing about it.

EXPEDITED PROCESSING

(a) A failure to obtain the records quickly could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual or

(b) There is an urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity exists (i.e., the information is currently newsworthy).

Very little is actually known about the activities of government as it relates to the criminal investigation of Wikileaks and the prosecution of Pfc. Bradley Manning. The appearance of transparency is critical to the appearance of justice. Manning was charged with aiding the enemy, a statute not used in this context ever (indirectly giving intelligence to a media organization without intent). While acquitted, a legal precedent allowing the prosecution of disclosures by the press and sources who do not intend to aid the enemy has been established. Were it not for the work of a handful of independent journalists like myself at the Manning court-martial, against incredible odds, the little known about the activities of the USG would not be known . Now that Manning has been convicted and sentenced to 35 years, the public has a right to know how the US government conducted itself.

Best regards,

Alexa O'Brien

From: Alexa O'Brien

KRISTINA L. ROTH, Civ, DAFC
Chief, FOIA and Privacy Act Requester Service Center NORAD and USNORTHCOM Chief of Staff
250 Vandenberg St, Ste B016
Peterson AFB, CO 80914-3817
Coml (719) 554-7185 / DSN 692-7185

RE FY14-02DEC2013-13

I just want to follow up and make sure that you received my December 20, 2013 response to your inquiry dated December 2, 2013.

Best regards,

Alexa O'Brien

From: USNORTHCOM FOIA Officer - OMB

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

7 January 2014

Ms. O'Brien,

Yes, we received your responses to our fee waiver and expedited processing questions on 20 Dec 13. However, if no response to our questions was received prior to 11 Dec 13, we were going to process your request without a fee waiver and without expedited processing.

We denied your request for expedited processing. You may appeal USNORTHCOM's denial of expedited processing, in writing, within 30 calendar days of receipt of the denial to:
Mr. Jim Hogan
Chief, Policy, Appeals, and Litigation Branch Office of Freedom of Information
1155 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1155

We are currently still processing your request. We are unable to provide an estimate for our response date at this time.

Kris

KRISTINA L. ROTH, Civ, DAFC
Chief, FOIA and Privacy Act Requester Service Center NORAD and USNORTHCOM Chief of Staff
250 Vandenberg St, Ste B016
Peterson AFB, CO 80914-3817
Coml (719) 554-7185 / DSN 692-7185

From: Alexa O'Brien

Dear

As I spelled out in my original request on November 27, 2013 and follow up on December 20, 2013:

I am a “representative of the news media” for fee waiver purposes. See Project on Military Procurement v. Department of the Navy, 710 F. Supp. 362, 363, 365 (D.C.D. 1989). My work has been published in The Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Guardian UK, Salon, and featured by PBS Frontline, On The Media and Public Radio International. Based on my status as a “news media” requester, I am entitled to receive the requested record with only duplication fees asserted. Further, because disclosure of this information will “contribute greatly to the public understanding of the operation or activities of the government,” duplication fees should be waived.

Best,

Alexa O'Brien

From: USNORTHCOM FOIA Officer - OMB

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

16 January 2014

Ms. O'Brien,

Attached is USNORTHCOM final response to the subject request assigned USNORTHCOM FOIA case number: FY14-02DEC2013-13.

The attachment contains 16 pages.

Kris

KRISTINA L. ROTH, Civ, DAFC
Chief, FOIA and Privacy Act Requester Service Center NORAD and USNORTHCOM Chief of Staff
250 Vandenberg St, Ste B016
Peterson AFB, CO 80914-3817
Coml (719) 554-7185 / DSN 692-7185

Files

pages

Close