USMS UAV docs

Shawn Musgrave filed this request with the Department of Justice, United States Marshals of the United States of America.
Tracking # 2015USMS28395; AP-2015-05651
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:

All documents regarding research by the US Marshals Service into unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), aka "drones", including but not limited to the USMS Technical Operations Group's Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Man-Portable (UAV) Program.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times in February 2013 (see http://articles.latimes.com/2013/feb/15/nation/la-na-domestic-drones-20130216/2):

In 2004 and 2005, the U.S. Marshals Service tested two small drones in remote areas to help them track fugitives, according to law enforcement officials and documents released to the ACLU under the Freedom of Information Act. The Marshals Service abandoned the program after both drones crashed.

Given that this FOIA is submitted in my capacity as a journalist who has covered drones 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 drones:

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 national media outlets on topics including drones and other matters 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: 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 May 5, 2015. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed.

Thank you for your help.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello -

I have yet to receive any acknowledgement of this request. Please confirm receipt immediately.

Best,
Shawn Musgrave
Reporter, MuckRock

From: USMS FOIA

We are working on it.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Thank you for your acknowledgement. Please provide a tracking number.

Best,
Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock

From: USMS FOIA

2015USMS28395

From: Shawn Musgrave

Thank you. Please also confirm that I have been categorized as a journalist for the purpose of determining fees regarding this request.

Best,
Shawn

From: USMS FOIA

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 May 5, 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 #2015USMS28395.

Thank you for your help.

From: USMS FOIA

We are working on it.

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 May 5, 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 #2015USMS28395.

Thank you for your help.

From: USMS FOIA

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 19, 2015

Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock News
DEPT MR 17734
PO Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819

Re: Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request No. 2015SMS28395
Subject: U. S. Marshals Service UAV Documents

Dear Requester:

The United States Marshals Service (USMS) is responding to your request for “research by the US Marshals Service into unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), aka "drones", including but not limited to the USMS Technical Operations Group's Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Man-Portable (UAV) Program.”

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: Shawn Musgrave

Director, Office of Information Policy
United States Department of Justice
Suite 11050
1425 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

To Whom It May Concern:

This is an appeal for the inadequate search by the US Marshals for documents responsive to my FOIA request 2015SMS28395.

On 05/05/2015, I requested the following documents:

"All documents regarding research by the US Marshals Service into unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), aka "drones", including but not limited to the USMS Technical Operations Group's Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Man-Portable (UAV) Program."

In an emailed response dated 8/19/2015, William E. Bordley, Associate General Counsel/FOIPA Officer for USMS, wrote: "Pursuant to your request, the USMS conducted a search of our Investigative Operations Division, but located no records responsive to your request."

This is an odd response, given that Mr. Bordley himself has previously provided documents to the ACLU about precisely the program at matter in my request.

In the attached letter from November 2012, Mr. Bordley responded to a FOIA request submitted by the ACLU for documents regarding UAS. In that letter, Mr. Bordley indicated that a search for responsive records uncovered the following:

"The responsive information is a document on The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Program, consisting of one (1) page, and a document on the USMS Technical Operations Group: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Man-Portable (UAV) Program, consisting of 29 pages, for
a total of 30 pages of documents responsive to your request."

As, my request was specifically for documents pertaining to the USMS Technical Operations Group's Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Man-Portable (UAV) Program, I struggle to understand how Mr. Bordley's search failed to uncover documents previously provided in response to a previous request. Furthermore, given that my request comes more than two years after Mr. Bordley's response to the ACLU, it is reasonable to think that additional documents might exist.

In light of the above, I request that you remand my request back to the US Marshals for a good faith search and provision of responsive documents.

Respectfully,
Shawn Musgrave
Reporter, MuckRock

From: OIP-NoReply

Please do not reply to this e-mail, as this account is not monitored. To ensure a prompt reply, please direct any inquiries to the contact information listed in the correspondence provided to you. Thank you.

From: OIP-NoReply

Please do not reply to this e-mail, as this account is not monitored. To ensure a prompt reply, please direct any inquiries to the contact information listed in the correspondence provided to you. Thank you.

From: OIP-NoReply

Please do not reply to this e-mail, as this account is not monitored. To ensure a prompt reply, please direct any inquiries to the contact information listed in the correspondence provided to you. Thank you.

From: Shawn Musgrave

Hello -

Per the attached, this request has been remanded to USMS for further search and provision of responsive records.

Please advise as to the status of the search.

Best,
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

February 17, 2016

Shawn Musgrave
MuckRock News
Dept MR 17734
PO Box 55819
Boston, MA 02205-5819
requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

Re: Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request No. 2015USMS28395
Subject of Request: UAV Research

Dear Requester:

The United States Marshals Service (USMS) is responding to your request for ""research by the US Marshals Service into unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), aka 'drones,' including but not limited to the USMS Technical Operations Group's Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Man-Portable (UAV) Program."

By letter dated November 24, 2015, the Office of Information Policy remanded your request back to the USMS for further search. Our search located 30 pages of documents we released to the ACLU on November 15, 2012.

These pages are being released to you with limited redaction pursuant to exemptions (b)(4), (b)(7)(C), and (b)(7)(E) of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552(b). Exemption 4 allows an agency to withhold trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person that is privileged or confidential. Exemption (b)(7) allows an agency to withhold records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes to the extent that the production of such records or information (C) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, and (E) would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigation or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law. A discretionary release of the information withheld pursuant to these exemptions is not appropriate. See also United States Department of Justice v. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 489 U.S. 749 (1989). Enclosed please find the 27 pages.

If you are not satisfied with my response to this request, you may administratively appeal by writing to the Director, Office of Information Policy (OIP), 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. Please note that OIP is in the process of transitioning from its current eFOIA portal to the portal on FOIAonline. Please visit the link above for instructions for submitting an appeal electronically. Your appeal must be postmarked or electronically transmitted within 60 days of the date of my response to your request. 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

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