USFWS "Operation Broken Glass"

Sarah Emerson filed this request with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of the United States of America.
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Communications

From: Sarah Emerson

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

### Background ###

“Operation Broken Glass" is a multi-jurisdiction U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigation into the illegal trafficking of American eels.

### Request ###

I hereby request the following records:

All guidelines, presentations, policy statements, legal opinions, memoranda, emails, and briefs related to, about, or concerning "Operation Broken Glass." Copies of all photographs, pictures, audio, and video related to, about, or concerning "Operation Broken Glass."

In order to help to determine my status to assess fees, you should know that I am a journalist writing for Motherboard, VICE's technology and science site, and that this request is being made as part of news gathering.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes. They will be used in the course of my reporting for Motherboard (www.motherboard.vice.com).

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, and I ask that this be processed in the "media" fee category. 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,

Sarah Emerson

From: FOIA, FWHQ

Dear Sarah Emerson,

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Headquarters FOIA Office
received your FOIA request dated March 30, 2017. We have forwarded your
request to our Law Enforcement office for processing.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your request; please
contact Michael Jenkins (michael_jenkins@fws.gov) or Kenneth Perry (
kenneth_perry@fws.gov) at 703-358-1949.

Respectfully,

United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Headquarters Freedom of Information Act Office
MS: IRTM
5275 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: <requests@muckrock.com>
Date: Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 1:29 PM
Subject: Freedom of Information Request: USFWS "Operation Broken Glass"
To: fwhq_foia@fws.gov

March 30, 2017
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Melissa Allen
FWS FOIA Officer
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
5275 Leesburg Pike
MS:IRTM
Falls Church, VA 22041

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

### Background ###

“Operation Broken Glass" is a multi-jurisdiction U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service investigation into the illegal trafficking of American eels.

### Request ###

I hereby request the following records:

All guidelines, presentations, policy statements, legal opinions,
memoranda, emails, and briefs related to, about, or concerning "Operation
Broken Glass." Copies of all photographs, pictures, audio, and video
related to, about, or concerning "Operation Broken Glass."

In order to help to determine my status to assess fees, you should know
that I am a journalist writing for Motherboard, VICE's technology and
science site, and that this request is being made as part of news gathering.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and
this request is not being made for commercial purposes. They will be used
in the course of my reporting for Motherboard (www.motherboard.vice.com).

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, and I ask that
this be processed in the "media" fee category. 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,

Sarah Emerson

------
Filed via MuckRock.com
E-mail (Preferred): requests@muckrock.com

For mailed responses, please address (see note):
MuckRock
DEPT MR 35523
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516

PLEASE NOTE: This request is not filed by a MuckRock staff member, but is
being sent through MuckRock by the above in order to better track, share,
and manage public records requests. Also note that improperly addressed
(i.e., with the requester's name rather than "MuckRock News" and the
department number) requests might be returned as undeliverable.
------

--
United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Headquarters Freedom of Information Act Office
MS: IRTM
5275 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041

From: Sarah Emerson

Great, thank you so much!

Best,
Sarah

From: Michael Jenkins

Your request for information tied to Operation Broken Glass was received
and we established the FOIA tracking number FWS-2017-00617 on your behalf.
We will conduct a search to determine what if any records are responsive to
your FOIA request. Additionally we’ll send you a formal Letter of
Acknowledgement within the next 5 to 10 business days if not sooner.

Additionally, if you want to provide us your direct information to include
your mailing address we would greatly appreciate that as well.

Respectfully,

Michael Jenkins
Management Analyst
USFWS, Office of Law Enforcement

From: Sarah Emerson

Hi Michael,

Thanks so much. If responsive records are found, can they be sent to me electronically instead of physically in the mail?

Best,
Sarah

From: Ricks, Kelly

Ms. Emerson,

Attached is your FOIA request response.

Thank You
--
Kelly Ricks
Secretary
US Fish & Wildlife Service
Office of Law Enforcement
(703) 358-2137

From: Michael Jenkins

It depends on the volume of information. Do you want us to use the
muckrock email address or your email address?

Mike

From: Sarah Emerson

You can use my email address: sarah.emerson@vice.com

Thanks!
Sarah

From: Michael Jenkins

Good Morning Ma’am

I do have an update for you.

You are seeking information tied to Operation Broken Glass. I have reached
out to our investigative side of the house as it relates to your FOIA
request.

The actual investigation is still ongoing. In fact it has been ongoing
since 2011 and it involves multiple subjects/defendants. I’m told this is
a very large investigation, and with that said the requested information if
released could affect ongoing law enforcement proceedings.

We recognize that there are some press release statements that may have
appeared on the Department of Justice as well as the Fish & Wildlife
website relating to this matter and we assume you have these links, but if
not I will share them with you.

As the requester you have the right to continue to pursue this matter. As
a FOIA specialist, I thought it would be wise to reach out to you and see
if you would be willing to withdraw your request because I believe the
requested information would be exempt because the release would harm
ongoing law enforcement proceedings. I have no problem if you want to reach
out to me say every 30 to 60 days to check the status of the investigation
– unsure if much will change considering the size and scope of the
investigation. I look forward to hearing from you.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/seven-men-plead-guilty-illegally-harvesting-and-selling-american-eels

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/three-additional-men-plead-guilty-illegally-harvesting-and-selling-american-eels

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-men-indicted-maine-illegally-trafficking-american-eels

Respectfully,

Mike

From: Sarah Emerson

Hi Mike,

Thanks so much for this update. Appreciate it!

I'd like to keep my request open for now. I understand that records related
to ongoing investigations may be exempt under FOIA law. However, it is my
understanding that records related to the case of seven men who pled guilty
in Federal District Court in Portland, Maine, are not part of an ongoing
investigation.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/seven-men-plead-guilty-illegally-harvesting-and-selling-american-eels

As such, I'd like to request these records, narrowing my original request.

If you plan to reject my request, can you please demonstrate the connection
between these documents and any ongoing or anticipated proceeding that
could be interfered with?

Thank you again!
Sarah
--
Sarah Emerson
Writer, MOTHERBOARD
[image: vice Logo]
VICE Media Group
90 N. 11th St.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Cell/Signal: 808-554-7531
@sarahnemerson <http://www.twitter.com/sarahnemerson>

From: Michael Jenkins

Let me just add this: with an investigations that include multiple
subjects/defendants it is one big investigation that is tied together.
Until such time as all law enforcement proceedings are resolved relating to
all involved parties, traditionally law enforcement related matters are not
released until everything has completed/concluded. If information is
released while there are ongoing law enforcement proceedings it could
jeopardize other pending matters (continued investigations, continued
investigative steps, plea agreements, trial matters and/or similar other
law enforcement activities).

Sometime ago in the Department of Defense there were multiple training
instructions that were investigated for abuse of power and sexual assault
of basic trainees. All ongoing law enforcement proceedings were not
completed at the same time whether it be the actual investigation, trial
completion, indictments, convictions or what have. So yes, some of the
training instructors were tried and convicted ahead of other individuals,
but the information associated with them was exempt from release because it
could harm ongoing law enforcement proceedings relating to other
individuals tied to the matter.

If you are seeking information as it relates to those individuals that pled
guilty in Federal court I would recommend you submit a FOIA request to DOJ
and they may be in a position to provide you records tied to the trial and
conviction.

https://www.justice.gov/usao/resources/making-foia-request

I don’t know if this helps or not. Again, if you want us to continue with
the FOIA request we would have to conduct searches, evaluate the records
and make a determination as to whether the release would cause harm to
ongoing law enforcement proceedings. Again, I believe USFWS information
will be exempt due to ongoing law enforcement proceedings. At some point,
all law enforcement proceedings will completed and then it would be a good
time to actually request copies of the Report of Investigations tied to
Operation Broken Glass.

Respectfully,

Mike

From: Michael Jenkins

I’m sorry we’ve been extremely busy and I’m not for sure whether you
responded to my last email.

Mike

From: Sarah Emerson

Hi Mike,

Sorry for the delay—I've actually withdrawn my request on my end, but I'm not sure if that's showing up on yours. If not, is this email sufficient to notify my withdrawal?

Thanks so much,
Sarah

From: Michael Jenkins

Thank you so much ma’am.

Respectfully,

Mike

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