VAExecSec@va.gov Emails

Taylor Amarel filed this request with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs of the United States of America.

It is a clone of this request.

Tracking #

18-10298-F

Status
Completed

Communications

From: Taylor Amarel


To Whom It May Concern:

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

I would like to obtain that last 200 pages of emails sent to, from, or copied to VAExecSec@va.gov

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,

Taylor Amarel

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Good morning Taylor Amarel,

On August 24, 2018, we began searching for responsive records. We believe we can issue an Initial Agency Decision in two (2) weeks. Please be advised that there are forty (40) FOIA requests ahead of yours, but we can put your FOIA request ahead of the queue.

Regards,

Richard Ha, JD, CIPP/G
OSVA FOIA/Privacy Officer
Office of the Executive Secretary
Office of the Secretary, U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (OSVA)
202-632-5286 o
202-309-3072 c
Richard.ha1@va.gov<mailto:Richard.ha1@va.gov>
Telework Weds
CWS 2nd Mon

These messages and attachments are For Official Use Only, not to be shared outside intended parties, and may be exempt from disclosure pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(3) prohibiting the release of information that another statute prohibits; 41 U.S.C. § 4702(b) prohibiting the release of unincorporated proposals; 41 U.S.C. § 423(a) prohibiting the release of bid or proposal information or evaluations before award; 26 U.S.C. § 6103 prohibiting the release of tax identification numbers; 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(4) prohibiting the release of confidential commercial information; 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5) under the deliberative process, attorney-client, and work product privileges; and 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) protecting personally identifiable information. If you received these messages and attachments in error, you must inform the FOIA Officer and destroy them immediately. The VA reserves its discovery rights including, but not limited to, objections, privileges, motions, etc.

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Good morning,

This email acknowledges receipt of your email dated October 31, 2018, requesting a status on FOIA #18-10298-F. The VACO FOIA Service Office do not maintain the records that you are seeking. Please contact:

Richard Ha, JD, CIPP/G
OSVA FOIA/Privacy Officer
Office of the Executive Secretary
Office of the Secretary, U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (OSVA)
202-632-5286 o
202-309-3072 c
Richard.ha1@va.gov<mailto:Richard.ha1@va.gov>
Telework Weds
CWS 2nd Mon

This concludes our response regarding your FOIA request. Thank you.
Regards,

VACO FOIA Service Office

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

November 8, 2018 In Reply Refer To: 001B

FOIA Request: 18-10298-F

Taylor Amarel
MuckRock News
DEPT MR 57429
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516
requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

Dear Taylor Amarel:

This is the Partial Initial Agency Decision (IAD) to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (OSVA), dated July 4, 2018, referred to and received in this FOIA office on July 20, 2018, and assigned FOIA tracking number 18-10298-F. You requested: “the last 200 pages of emails sent to, from, or copied to VAExecSec@va.gov<mailto:VAExecSec@va.gov>.”

Partial IAD and August 24, 2018, Reasonable Search

On August 24, 2018, the OSVA Program Assistant searched through the email box of VAExecSec@va.gov<mailto:VAExecSec@va.gov> with the date timeframe of July 5, 2018, to July 20, 2018, when OSVA received your FOIA request. This search yielded two hundred (200) pages, for which we now release twenty-six (26) pages. OSVA plans to release one hundred seventy-four (174) pages, possibly redacted, to you in the future.

After reviewing these twenty-six (26) pages, OSVA redacts some information with FOIA Exemptions 5, 6, 7(C), and 7(E). 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5) exempts from disclosure “inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters which would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency.” The government is entitled to redact confidential government information given "the sensitivity of the commercial secrets involved, and the harm that would be inflicted upon the Government by premature disclosure." Federal Open Market Committee v. Merrill, 443 U.S. 340, 363 (1979). Redacted information includes internal VAand White House case mail website addresses. The release of this information would expose the Office of the President and the VA, their employees, and their contractors to potential hacking and information technology security liabilities and risks.

5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) exempts from required disclosure "personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." FOIA Exemption 6 permits VA to withhold a document or information within a document if disclosure of the information, either by itself or in conjunction with other information available to either the public or the FOIA requester, would result in an unwarranted invasion of an individual’s personal privacy without contributing significantly to the public’s understanding of the activities of the federal government. Specifically, the information being withheld, as indicated on the enclosed documents, under FOIA Exemption 6, consists of names, identities, email addresses, phone numbers, cellular numbers, and facsimile numbers of federal and White House employees with security clearances; we however release the names and email addresses of Senior Executives. Federal civilian and White House employees with security clearances retain a significant privacy interest under certain circumstances, such as in instances where the release of their information could represent a threat to their well-being, harassment, or their ability to function within their sphere of employment. The federal civilian and White House employees with security clearances whose information is at issue have a substantial privacy interest in their personal information. In weighing the private versus the public interest, except names and VA email addresses of VA Senior Executives, we find that there is no public interest in knowing the names, resumes, identities, email addresses, phone numbers, cellular numbers, and facsimile numbers of federal and White House employees with security clearances. The coverage of FOIA Exemption 6 is absolute unless the FOIA requester can demonstrate a countervailing public interest in the requested information by demonstrating that the FOIA requester is in a position to provide the requested information to members of the general public and that the information requested contributes significantly to the public’s understanding of the activities of the Federal government. Additionally, the requester must demonstrate how the public’s need to understand the information significantly outweighs the privacy interest of the person to whom the information pertains. Upon consideration of the records, I have not been able to identify a countervailing public interest of sufficient magnitude to outweigh the privacy interest of the individuals whose names are redacted. The protected information has been redacted and (b)(6) inserted. “Withholding a telephone number or e-mail address, alone, is not sufficient to protect that [privacy] interest; alternate means of contacting and harassing these employees would be readily discoverable on the Internet if this court ordered their names disclosed.” Long v. Immigration & Customs Enf’t, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160719 (D.C. Cir. 2017).

5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(7)(C) exempts from required disclosure information law enforcement information the disclosure of which "could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” Redacted information includes names and email addresses of White House employees with security clearances. The release of this information would risk impersonation of these White House employees with security clearances also working on national security and law enforcement matters, as well as jeopardizing their health and safety and those the White House employees are charged with protecting.

5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(7)(E) exempts from required disclosure information that “would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations 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.” Redacted information includes internal VA and White House case mail website addresses. The release of this information would expose the Office of the President and the VA, their employees, and their contractors to potential hacking and information technology security liabilities reasonably risking circumvention of the law.

FOIA Mediation
As part of the 2007 FOIA amendments, the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) was created to offer mediation services to resolve disputes between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation. Using OGIS services does not affect your right to pursue litigation. Under the provisions of the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, the following contact information is provided to assist FOIA requesters in resolving disputes:

VA Central Office FOIA Public Liaison:
Name: John Buck
Email Address: vacofoiaservice@va.gov<mailto:vacofoiaservice@va.gov>
Office of Government Information Services (OGIS)
Email Address: ogis@nara.gov<mailto:ogis@nara.gov>
Fax: 202-741-5769
Mailing address:
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001

FOIA Appeal
This concludes OSVA’s response to request 18-10298-F. Please be advised that should you desire to do so, you may appeal the determination made in this response to:

Office of General Counsel (024)
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420

If you should choose to file an appeal, please include a copy of this letter with your written appeal and clearly indicate the basis for your disagreement with the determination set forth in this response. Please be advised that in accordance with VA’s implementing FOIA regulations at 38 C.F.R. § 1.559, your appeal must be postmarked no later than ninety (90) days of the date
of this letter.

Sincerely,

Richard Ha, JD, CIPP/G

OSVA FOIA Officer

Attachment – redacted twenty-six (26) pages of emails

Richard Ha, JD, CIPP/G
OSVA FOIA/Privacy Officer
Office of the Executive Secretary
Office of the Secretary, U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (OSVA)
202-632-5286 o
202-309-3072 c
Richard.ha1@va.gov<mailto:Richard.ha1@va.gov>
Telework Weds
CWS 2nd Mon

These messages and attachments are For Official Use Only, not to be shared outside intended parties, and may be exempt from disclosure pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(3) prohibiting the release of information that another statute prohibits; 41 U.S.C. § 4702(b) prohibiting the release of unincorporated proposals; 41 U.S.C. § 423(a) prohibiting the release of bid or proposal information or evaluations before award; 26 U.S.C. § 6103 prohibiting the release of tax identification numbers; 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(4) prohibiting the release of confidential commercial information; 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5) under the deliberative process, attorney-client, and work product privileges; and 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) protecting personally identifiable information. If you received these messages and attachments in error, you must inform the FOIA Officer and destroy them immediately. The VA reserves its discovery rights including, but not limited to, objections, privileges, motions, etc.

  • [EXTERNAL] OPM Memo_ Guidance for Implementation of Executive Order 13839 - Promoting Accountability and Streamlining Removal Procedures Consistent_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] OPM Memo_ Guidance for Implementation of Executive Order 13837 – Ensuring Transparency, Accountability, and Efficiency in Taxpayer-Fund_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] Appreciation for Participating_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] New case comment notification. Case Number 20180706-16771560_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] New case comment notification. Case Number 20180208-15096154_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] New case comment notification. Case Number 20170927-13623846_Redacted

  • 18-10298-F OSVA IAD 11-8-18

  • [EXTERNAL] OPM Memo_ Executive Order – Excepting Administrative Law Judges from the Competitive Service_Redacted

  • FW_ Revised - OHRM Bulletin_ Department of Veterans Affairs Operating Status in the Washington, DC, Area_Redacted

  • [WARNING_ ATTACHMENT UNSCANNED][EXTERNAL] PR-029102- Mayor Tom Eaton - Feb 26 18_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] (Reminder) FY2017 Office of the National Ombudsman Federal Agency Questionnaire_Redacted

From: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

November 8, 2018 In Reply Refer To: 001B

FOIA Request: 18-10298-F

Taylor Amarel
MuckRock News
DEPT MR 57429
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516
requests@muckrock.com<mailto:requests@muckrock.com>

Dear Taylor Amarel:

This is the Partial Initial Agency Decision (IAD) to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (OSVA), dated July 4, 2018, referred to and received in this FOIA office on July 20, 2018, and assigned FOIA tracking number 18-10298-F. You requested: “the last 200 pages of emails sent to, from, or copied to VAExecSec@va.gov<mailto:VAExecSec@va.gov>.”

Partial IAD and August 24, 2018, Reasonable Search

On August 24, 2018, the OSVA Program Assistant searched through the email box of VAExecSec@va.gov<mailto:VAExecSec@va.gov> with the date timeframe of July 5, 2018, to July 20, 2018, when OSVA received your FOIA request. This search yielded two hundred (200) pages, for which we now release twenty-six (26) pages. OSVA plans to release one hundred seventy-four (174) pages, possibly redacted, to you in the future.

After reviewing these twenty-six (26) pages, OSVA redacts some information with FOIA Exemptions 5, 6, 7(C), and 7(E). 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5) exempts from disclosure “inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters which would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency.” The government is entitled to redact confidential government information given "the sensitivity of the commercial secrets involved, and the harm that would be inflicted upon the Government by premature disclosure." Federal Open Market Committee v. Merrill, 443 U.S. 340, 363 (1979). Redacted information includes internal VAand White House case mail website addresses. The release of this information would expose the Office of the President and the VA, their employees, and their contractors to potential hacking and information technology security liabilities and risks.

5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) exempts from required disclosure "personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." FOIA Exemption 6 permits VA to withhold a document or information within a document if disclosure of the information, either by itself or in conjunction with other information available to either the public or the FOIA requester, would result in an unwarranted invasion of an individual’s personal privacy without contributing significantly to the public’s understanding of the activities of the federal government. Specifically, the information being withheld, as indicated on the enclosed documents, under FOIA Exemption 6, consists of names, identities, email addresses, phone numbers, cellular numbers, and facsimile numbers of federal and White House employees with security clearances; we however release the names and email addresses of Senior Executives. Federal civilian and White House employees with security clearances retain a significant privacy interest under certain circumstances, such as in instances where the release of their information could represent a threat to their well-being, harassment, or their ability to function within their sphere of employment. The federal civilian and White House employees with security clearances whose information is at issue have a substantial privacy interest in their personal information. In weighing the private versus the public interest, except names and VA email addresses of VA Senior Executives, we find that there is no public interest in knowing the names, resumes, identities, email addresses, phone numbers, cellular numbers, and facsimile numbers of federal and White House employees with security clearances. The coverage of FOIA Exemption 6 is absolute unless the FOIA requester can demonstrate a countervailing public interest in the requested information by demonstrating that the FOIA requester is in a position to provide the requested information to members of the general public and that the information requested contributes significantly to the public’s understanding of the activities of the Federal government. Additionally, the requester must demonstrate how the public’s need to understand the information significantly outweighs the privacy interest of the person to whom the information pertains. Upon consideration of the records, I have not been able to identify a countervailing public interest of sufficient magnitude to outweigh the privacy interest of the individuals whose names are redacted. The protected information has been redacted and (b)(6) inserted. “Withholding a telephone number or e-mail address, alone, is not sufficient to protect that [privacy] interest; alternate means of contacting and harassing these employees would be readily discoverable on the Internet if this court ordered their names disclosed.” Long v. Immigration & Customs Enf’t, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160719 (D.C. Cir. 2017).

5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(7)(C) exempts from required disclosure information law enforcement information the disclosure of which "could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” Redacted information includes names and email addresses of White House employees with security clearances. The release of this information would risk impersonation of these White House employees with security clearances also working on national security and law enforcement matters, as well as jeopardizing their health and safety and those the White House employees are charged with protecting.

5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(7)(E) exempts from required disclosure information that “would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations 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.” Redacted information includes internal VA and White House case mail website addresses. The release of this information would expose the Office of the President and the VA, their employees, and their contractors to potential hacking and information technology security liabilities reasonably risking circumvention of the law.

FOIA Mediation
As part of the 2007 FOIA amendments, the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) was created to offer mediation services to resolve disputes between FOIA requesters and Federal agencies as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation. Using OGIS services does not affect your right to pursue litigation. Under the provisions of the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, the following contact information is provided to assist FOIA requesters in resolving disputes:

VA Central Office FOIA Public Liaison:
Name: John Buck
Email Address: vacofoiaservice@va.gov<mailto:vacofoiaservice@va.gov>
Office of Government Information Services (OGIS)
Email Address: ogis@nara.gov<mailto:ogis@nara.gov>
Fax: 202-741-5769
Mailing address:
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001

FOIA Appeal
This concludes OSVA’s response to request 18-10298-F. Please be advised that should you desire to do so, you may appeal the determination made in this response to:

Office of General Counsel (024)
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20420

If you should choose to file an appeal, please include a copy of this letter with your written appeal and clearly indicate the basis for your disagreement with the determination set forth in this response. Please be advised that in accordance with VA’s implementing FOIA regulations at 38 C.F.R. § 1.559, your appeal must be postmarked no later than ninety (90) days of the date
of this letter.

Sincerely,

Richard Ha, JD, CIPP/G

OSVA FOIA Officer

Attachment – redacted twenty-six (26) pages of emails

Richard Ha, JD, CIPP/G
OSVA FOIA/Privacy Officer
Office of the Executive Secretary
Office of the Secretary, U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs (OSVA)
202-632-5286 o
202-309-3072 c
Richard.ha1@va.gov<mailto:Richard.ha1@va.gov>
Telework Weds
CWS 2nd Mon

These messages and attachments are For Official Use Only, not to be shared outside intended parties, and may be exempt from disclosure pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(3) prohibiting the release of information that another statute prohibits; 41 U.S.C. § 4702(b) prohibiting the release of unincorporated proposals; 41 U.S.C. § 423(a) prohibiting the release of bid or proposal information or evaluations before award; 26 U.S.C. § 6103 prohibiting the release of tax identification numbers; 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(4) prohibiting the release of confidential commercial information; 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5) under the deliberative process, attorney-client, and work product privileges; and 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(6) protecting personally identifiable information. If you received these messages and attachments in error, you must inform the FOIA Officer and destroy them immediately. The VA reserves its discovery rights including, but not limited to, objections, privileges, motions, etc.

  • FW_ Revised - OHRM Bulletin_ Department of Veterans Affairs Operating Status in the Washington, DC, Area_Redacted

  • [WARNING_ ATTACHMENT UNSCANNED][EXTERNAL] PR-029102- Feb 26 18_Redacted

  • 18-10298-F OSVA IAD 11-8-18

  • [EXTERNAL] OPM Memo_ Guidance for Implementation of Executive Order 13837 – Ensuring Transparency, Accountability, and Efficiency in Taxpayer-Fund_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] OPM Memo_ Executive Order – Excepting Administrative Law Judges from the Competitive Service_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] New case comment notification. Case Number 20180706-16771560_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] New case comment notification. Case Number 20180208-15096154_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] OPM Memo_ Guidance for Implementation of Executive Order 13839 - Promoting Accountability and Streamlining Removal Procedures Consistent_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] Appreciation for Participating_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] (Reminder) FY2017 Office of the National Ombudsman Federal Agency Questionnaire_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] New case comment notification. Case Number 20170927-13623846_Redacted

From: Taylor Amarel

Hi,

Thanks so much for your help with this request! I really appreciate it.

Sincerely,
Taylor Amarel

Files

pages

Close
  • Acknowledgement Letter

  • [EXTERNAL] OPM Memo_ Guidance for Implementation of Executive Order 13839 - Promoting Accountability and Streamlining Removal Procedures Consistent_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] OPM Memo_ Guidance for Implementation of Executive Order 13837 – Ensuring Transparency, Accountability, and Efficiency in Taxpayer-Fund_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] Appreciation for Participating_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] New case comment notification. Case Number 20180706-16771560_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] New case comment notification. Case Number 20180208-15096154_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] New case comment notification. Case Number 20170927-13623846_Redacted

  • 18-10298-F OSVA IAD 11-8-18

  • [EXTERNAL] OPM Memo_ Executive Order – Excepting Administrative Law Judges from the Competitive Service_Redacted

  • FW_ Revised - OHRM Bulletin_ Department of Veterans Affairs Operating Status in the Washington, DC, Area_Redacted

  • [WARNING_ ATTACHMENT UNSCANNED][EXTERNAL] PR-029102- Mayor Tom Eaton - Feb 26 18_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] (Reminder) FY2017 Office of the National Ombudsman Federal Agency Questionnaire_Redacted

  • FW_ Revised - OHRM Bulletin_ Department of Veterans Affairs Operating Status in the Washington, DC, Area_Redacted

  • [WARNING_ ATTACHMENT UNSCANNED][EXTERNAL] PR-029102- Feb 26 18_Redacted

  • 18-10298-F OSVA IAD 11-8-18

  • [EXTERNAL] OPM Memo_ Guidance for Implementation of Executive Order 13837 – Ensuring Transparency, Accountability, and Efficiency in Taxpayer-Fund_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] OPM Memo_ Executive Order – Excepting Administrative Law Judges from the Competitive Service_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] New case comment notification. Case Number 20180706-16771560_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] New case comment notification. Case Number 20180208-15096154_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] OPM Memo_ Guidance for Implementation of Executive Order 13839 - Promoting Accountability and Streamlining Removal Procedures Consistent_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] Appreciation for Participating_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] (Reminder) FY2017 Office of the National Ombudsman Federal Agency Questionnaire_Redacted

  • [EXTERNAL] New case comment notification. Case Number 20170927-13623846_Redacted