USMS documents re: CIA cell site simulators partnership

Shawn Musgrave filed this request with the Department of Justice, United States Marshals of the United States of America.
Tracking # 2015USMS28455
Est. Completion None
Status
No Responsive Documents

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:

-All agreements — including memoranda of agreement, memoranda of understanding, or other agreements — that outline cooperation with the CIA to develop, field test and/or deploy cell site simulator equipment.
-All equipment transfer documentation for cell site simulators, software and similar devices to track cellular devices.

Such an arrangement was reported in May 2015 in the WSJ (see http://www.wsj.com/articles/cia-gave-justice-department-secret-phone-scanning-technology-1426009924): "The cooperation began a decade ago, when the CIA arranged for the Marshals Service to receive more than $1 million in gear to conduct such surveillance, said people familiar with the program. More than $100 million went into research and development of the devices.
[....] For years, the U.S. Marshals’ Technical Operations Group worked with the CIA’s Office of Technical Collection to develop the technology. In the early days it was the CIA that provided the most resources, said the people familiar with the matter.
[....] The CIA gave the Marshals Service the ability to conduct what officials called “silent stimulation” of cellphones. By using a device that mimics a cell tower, all phones in its range are compelled to send identifying information. When the device finds a target phone in that sea of information, the plane circles overhead until the device can locate it to within about 3 yards.
[....] The CIA and Marshals Service began field-testing one version of the device in 2004, said people familiar with the early years of the cooperation. That device worked on AT&T and T-Mobile phones, as well as most cellphones outside the U.S. As part of the joint work with the CIA, the Marshals Service received more than one of the devices at no cost. At the time, each unit had a price tag of more than $300,000, these people said.
[....] In 2005, the CIA gave the Marshals Service technology to conduct “silent stimulation” of those types of cellphones, both for identifying them and, with a court order, intercepting the communications, these people said. The following year, the CIA and Marshals Service began field testing a way of cracking a different cellphone system used widely in the U.S., giving them the ability to identify phones on the Verizon and Sprint/Nextel networks. A Sprint spokeswoman declined to comment while the other phone companies didn’t respond to requests for comment.
[....]In 2008, the CIA arranged for the Marshals Service to receive without charge one of the new devices, which cost about $500,000 each, these people said. That year, they began field testing a new version that would work against the next generation of cellphones, according to people familiar with the work."

Given that this FOIA is submitted in my capacity as a journalist who has covered the Justice Department and its use of cell site simulators extensively, I request that I be categorized as a media requester for the purpose of fees. Here is a selection of my published articles on MuckRock:

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2015/jan/12/how-843-lbs-seized-pot-lead-customs-and-border-pro/

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2015/mar/03/us-marshals-service-conceal-key-details-millions-s/

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2015/feb/27/while-dodging-direct-question-fbi-commits-obama-st/

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2015/feb/27/while-dodging-direct-question-fbi-commits-obama-st/

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2015/feb/12/fbi-and-justice-department-cant-find-drone-privacy/

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2015/jan/22/air-force-knows-how-many-mq-9-drones-it-wants-cant/

I have also been published in a number of other national media outlets on topics pertaining to national security and technologies:

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-us-spent-360-million-on-border-drones-thanks-to-this-flimsy-report

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-air-force-says-it-needs-precisely-52-new-reaper-drones-cant-explain-why

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/do-the-fbis-drones-invade-your-privacy-sorry-thats-private

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/04/08/big-brother-better-police-work-new-technology-automatically-runs-license-plates-everyone/1qoAoFfgp31UnXZT2CsFSK/story.html

www.betaboston.com/news/2014/03/05/a-vast-hidden-surveillance-network-runs-across-america-powered-by-the-repo-industry/

https://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/05/nypd-social-media-policy-allows-catfishing-with-the-proper-paperwork.html

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2014/12/03/the-pentagon-finally-details-its-weapons-for-cops-giveaway

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/do-the-fbis-drones-invade-your-privacy-sorry-thats-private

https://news.vice.com/article/fbi-agent-who-killed-boston-bombing-suspects-friend-was-twice-accused-of-police-brutality

As the requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com and pertains to a matter of considerable public interest, I further request a full waiver of all fees.

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: Robinson, Nancy (USMS)

[USMS seal blue294 1in]

U.S. Department of Justice
United States Marshals Service

Office of General Counsel

CS-4, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20530-1000

June 17, 2015

Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock News
DEPT MR 18808
PO Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

RE: Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request No. 2015USMS28455
Subject: Agreements Between the U. S. Marshals Service and the Central
Intelligence Agency

Dear Requester:

The United States Marshals Service is in receipt of your Freedom of Information/Privacy Act (FOIA/PA) request for records pertaining to the above subject maintained by this Bureau.
We have commenced a search for documents responsive to your request and will contact you when our processing is complete.

Although we are unable to determine at this time the amount of fees to be charged to you, if any, the filing of your request constitutes your agreement to pay all applicable fees that may be charged under the Department of Justice FOIA/PA regulations in excess of $25.00. You will be notified as soon as practicable if the estimated or actual fee for satisfying your request exceeds $25.00.

If you should have any questions, please contact Nancy Robinson at (202) 307-9054.

Sincerely,

William E. Bordley
Associate General Counsel/FOIPA Officer
Office of General Counsel

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello -

Thank you for acknowledging this request. A couple of clarifications:

1) Please confirm that this request comprises agreements with the CIA, as well as documentation of equipment transfer from the CIA regarding cell site simulators, software and similar devices to track cellular devices.
2) Please also confirm that I have been designated as a media requester for the purpose of fees, given my extensive publication history on this topic.

Best,
Shawn Musgrave
Reporter, MuckRock

From: Robinson, Nancy (USMS)

yes

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 June 16, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #2015USMS28455.

Thank you for your help.

From: Robinson, Nancy (USMS)

We are working on it.

From: Robinson, Nancy (USMS)

[USMS seal blue294 1in]

U.S. Department of Justice
United States Marshals Service

Office of General Counsel

CS-4, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20530-1000
August 11, 2015

Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock News
DEPT MR 18808
PO Box 44719
Boston, MA 02205-5819

Re: Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request No. 2015SMS28455
Subject: Agreements Between the U. S. Marshals Service and the Central
Intelligence Agency

Dear Requester:

The United States Marshals Service (USMS) is responding to your request for “all agreements — including memoranda of agreement, memoranda of understanding, or other agreements — that outline cooperation with the CIA to develop, field test and/or deploy cell site simulator equipment; and all equipment transfer documentation for cell site simulators, software and similar devices to track cellular devices.

Pursuant to your request, the USMS conducted a search of our Investigative Operations Division, but located no records responsive to your request.
If you are not satisfied with my response to your request, you may administratively appeal by writing to the Director, Office of Information Policy, United States Department of Justice, Suite 11050, 1425 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20530-0001, or you may submit an appeal through OIP's eFOIA portal at http://www.justice.gov/oip/efoia-portal.html. Your appeal must be postmarked or transmitted electronically within sixty days from the date of this letter. If you submit your appeal by mail, both the letter and the envelope should be clearly marked "Freedom of Information Act Appeal.

For your information, Congress excluded three discrete categories of law enforcement and national security records from the requirements of the FOIA. See 5 U.S.C. 552(c ) (2006 & Supp. IV (2010)). This response is limited to those records that are subject to the requirements of the FOIA. This is a standard notification that is given to all our requesters and should not be taken as an indication that excluded records do, or do not, exist.

Sincerely,

William E. Bordley
Associate General
Counsel/FOIPA Officer
Office of General Counsel

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 June 16, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #2015USMS28455.

Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.

From: Robinson, Nancy (USMS)

We responded to your request on August 11, 2015

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