Millimeter wave scanner tests w/ TSA (Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority)

Brian Waters filed this request with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority of Washington, DC.
Multi Request Millimeter wave scanner tests w/ TSA
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Brian Waters

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request information about your agency's use of millimeter wave scanning technology. The technology is manufactured by companies such as ThruVision and QinetiQ, and your agency has tested the technology in cooperation with the Transportation Security Administration. News articles describing the technology and the tests conducted with the TSA are available here:
https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-tsa-metra-bomb-scanner-testing-20191015-jb5eb5twtrg33igvt3gvt2jmiy-story.html
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/will-l-a-s-anti-terrorist-subway-scanners-be-adopted-everywhere/

Specifically, I am requesting the following documents:
1) Any documents describing the scope, duration, or location of millimeter wave technology tests with the TSA.
2) Copies of any reports or assessments written describing the results of the tests.
3) Any policies describing how the technology is used, and any legal analyses or studies that may have been carried out which deal with the technology.
4) A copy of all technical documentation regarding the technology. Please search your records for user manuals, maintenance or service manuals, studies or reports, spec sheets or data sheets, or any other such documentation.

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,

Brian Waters

From: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has received your request for records. You should receive a formal acknowledgment from the assigned attorney within ten (10) business days of receipt. More information on the PARP/Privacy process is available on line at: https://www.wmata.com/about/records/

From: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

Dear Mr. Waters:

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) acknowledges your October 24, 2019 Public Access to Records Policy (PARP) requests regarding WMATA's use of millimeter wave scanning technology. Specifically, you requested:

1. Documents describing the scope, duration, or location of millimeter wave technology tests with the TSA;
2. Reports or assessments describing the results of the tests;
3. Policies describing how the technology is used, and any legal analyses or studies that may have been carried out which deal with the technology; and
4. All technical documentation regarding the technology, including user manuals, maintenance or service manuals, studies or reports, spec sheets or data sheets, or any other such documentation.

Please be advised that while your request references the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), WMATA is an interstate compact agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia, State of Maryland, and the District of Columbia, and not a federal agency. See Pub. L. No. 89-774, 80 Stat. 1324 (1966); Va. Code Ann. § 33.2-3100; Md. Code Ann., Transp. § 10-204; D.C. Code Ann. § 9-1107.1). Accordingly, WMATA is not subject to the FOIA.

However, WMATA is processing your request pursuant to its Public Access to Records Policy (PARP), which is available online at https://www.wmata.com/about/records/public-records.cfm under the section marked "Legal Affairs."

Although we are not yet able to provide any responsive records, we can impart the following general information regarding your request:

Time Period for Processing Requests

WMATA generally aims to respond to a request for records within 20 business days following receipt of the request. However, requests are processed in the order they are received. Furthermore, additional processing time is required for requests that prove to be complex.

Exemptions

The PARP provides exemptions for certain types of data, including: (1) information that could compromise WMATA infrastructure or security; (2) information that is solely related to the internal personnel rules and practices; (3) information that is exempt by statute; (4) proprietary commercial or financial information; (5) internal deliberations on policy matters or attorney-client privileged communications; (6) information that, if released, would cause a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; (7) certain information compiled for law enforcement purposes; (8) registered SmarTrip® information; and (9) customer financial information. Generally, WMATA's response will not include any exempt information.

Processing Fees

The PARP also provides for the assessment of fees associated with a request that requires more than two hours of staff time to process. These fees are calculated at the employees' basic rate of pay, plus an additional 50 percent to cover benefits, for the time spent responding to a request. In general, a request is considered an agreement to pay all applicable fees. Advance payment is required where the fees are likely to exceed $250.

Future correspondence should reference the request number noted in the subject line of this correspondence. If you have any questions, please contact me at ssabri@wmata.com<mailto:ssabri@wmata.com> or 202-962-2058. If I am unavailable, please contact Richard Noh at RDNoh@wmata.com<mailto:RDNoh@wmata.com> or 202-962-2569.

Sincerely,

Suraya Sabri
Associate Counsel
WMATA
600 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
P: 202-962-2058
F: 202-962-2550
E: ssabri@wmata.com<mailto:ssabri@wmata.com>

THIS TRANSMISSION IS INTENDED ONLY FOR THE PROPER RECIPIENT(S). IT IS CONFIDENTIAL AND MAY CONTAIN ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGED INFORMATION OR INFORMATION PREPARED IN ANTICIPATION OF LITIGATION. IF YOU ARE NOT THE PROPER RECIPIENT, PLEASE NOTIFY THE SENDER IMMEDIATELY AND DELETE THIS MESSAGE. ANY UNAUTHORIZED REVIEW, COPYING, OR USE OF THIS MESSAGE IS PROHIBITED.

From: Brian Waters

Thanks for your response Suraya. I look forward to hearing back.

Brian

From: Brian Waters

Hello,

On October 24, 2019, I submitted a PARP request for records relating to millimeter wave scanner devices. On November 5, I received an acknowledgement from Suraya Sabri, who noted that WMATA aims to respond to PARP requests within 20 business days. I am not sure what happened; perhaps my request was misplaced? I am still looking for the documents. The original request is reproduced below.

Thank you,
Brian Waters

From: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has received your request for records. More information on the PARP/Privacy process is available on line at: https://www.wmata.com/about/records/
The COVID-19 virus has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Moreover, the President of the United States has recently declared a national emergency due to the virus, and the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the State of Maryland have also declared public health emergencies in response thereto. Given these emergency conditions and the need for WMATA staff to support urgent safety and mission critical operational issues, please note that effective immediately processing of PARP requests has been temporarily suspended until further notice.

From: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

Good afternoon Mr. Waters,

Thank you for following up on your request. Please be advised that the COVID-19 virus has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Moreover, the President of the United States has recently declared a national emergency due to the virus, and the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the State of Maryland have also declared public health emergencies in response thereto. Given these emergency conditions and the need for WMATA staff to support urgent safety and mission critical operational issues, processing of PARP requests has been temporarily suspended until further notice.

Sincerely,

Suraya Sabri
Associate Counsel
WMATA
600 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
P: 202-962-2058
F: 202-962-2550
E: ssabri@wmata.com<mailto:ssabri@wmata.com>

THIS TRANSMISSION IS INTENDED ONLY FOR THE PROPER RECIPIENT(S). IT IS CONFIDENTIAL AND MAY CONTAIN ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGED INFORMATION OR INFORMATION PREPARED IN ANTICIPATION OF LITIGATION. IF YOU ARE NOT THE PROPER RECIPIENT, PLEASE NOTIFY THE SENDER IMMEDIATELY AND DELETE THIS MESSAGE. ANY UNAUTHORIZED REVIEW, COPYING, OR USE OF THIS MESSAGE IS PROHIBITED.

From: Brian Waters

Thank you Suraya,

Can I expect a response when your office resumes normal business?

Brian Waters

From: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

Good morning Mr. Waters,

Due to the COVID pandemic and continuing national emergency and local public health emergencies, processing of PARP requests has been temporarily suspended until further notice. Please keep in mind that when processing resumes, requests will be generally processed in the order they were received.

Sincerely,

Suraya Sabri
Associate Counsel
WMATA
600 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
P: 202-962-2058
F: 202-962-2550
E: ssabri@wmata.com<mailto:ssabri@wmata.com>

THIS TRANSMISSION IS INTENDED ONLY FOR THE PROPER RECIPIENT(S). IT IS CONFIDENTIAL AND MAY CONTAIN ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGED INFORMATION OR INFORMATION PREPARED IN ANTICIPATION OF LITIGATION. IF YOU ARE NOT THE PROPER RECIPIENT, PLEASE NOTIFY THE SENDER IMMEDIATELY AND DELETE THIS MESSAGE. ANY UNAUTHORIZED REVIEW, COPYING, OR USE OF THIS MESSAGE IS PROHIBITED.

From: Brian Waters

Please keep in mind that this request was originally received on October 24 of 2019, and acknowledged on November 5. Your agency then failed to produce a response for several months, until COVID-19 hit. I hope you keep this in mind and put this request at the top of the queue.

Thank you,
Brian Waters

From: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

Dear Mr. Waters:

Thank you for your patience while PARP processing was suspended because of WMATA's need to address critical safety and operational issues due to the declared federal and local COVID-19 public health emergencies and stay at home orders. Although the public health emergencies are still in place, we are preparing to resume PARP processing in the coming weeks.

Please confirm your ongoing interest in your request within 10 business days, by close of business Tuesday, September 8, 2020. If we do not hear from you by the deadline, your request will be closed.

Sincerely,

Michael
--
Michael B. Ferrari
Associate Counsel
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
600 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
O: (202) 962-2646
C: (202) 689-9031
MBFerrari@wmata.com<mailto:MBFerrari@wmata.com>

This transmission is intended only for the proper recipient(s). It is confidential and may contain attorney-client privileged information or information prepared in anticipation of litigation. If you are not the proper recipient, please notify the sender immediately and delete this message. Any unauthorized review, copying, or use of this message is prohibited.

From: Brian Waters

Mr. Ferrari,

Thank you very much. I am still interested in receiving a response to my request about millimeter wave scanner tests.

Brian Waters

From: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

Dear Mr. Waters:

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) now provides the final response to your October 24, 2019 Public Access to Records Policy (PARP) request for records regarding WMATA's use of millimeter wave scanning technology. Specifically, you requested:

1. Documents describing the scope, duration, or location of millimeter wave technology tests with the TSA;
2. Reports or assessments describing the results of the tests;
3. Policies describing how the technology is used and legal analyses or studies that may have been carried out which deal with the technology; and
4. All technical documentation regarding the technology, including user manuals, maintenance or service manuals, studies or reports, spec sheets or data sheets, or any other such documentation.

Your request was processed pursuant to the PARP Policy, which is available online at https://www.wmata.com/about/records/public-records.cfm under the section marked "Legal Affairs."

Decision

Please find attached the following responsive records (with redactions) to your request:

* Emails between WMATA and TSA (5 pages total).

Pursuant to PARP Exemption 6.1.6 (personal privacy) and FOIA Exemption (b)(6)[1], we have redacted personal information of individuals whose respective privacy interest outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

After a search reasonably calculated to find all relevant records, WMATA did not locate any additional records responsive to your request.

Processing Fees

WMATA spent 2 hours of staff time processing your request. Accordingly, pursuant to PARP § 8.5, the processing fees are waived.
Appeal Rights - WMATA
If you wish to appeal WMATA's decision, in accordance with PARP § 9.1, you may file a written appeal of the decision with the Executive Vice President, External Relations, Barbara Richardson, at BRichardson@wmata.com<mailto:BRichardson@wmata.com>, within 30 business days of the date of this decision letter. Further details about our appeals process can be found on our website.
Appeal Rights - TSA

Should you decide to appeal any of TSA's redactions made pursuant to FOIA, you may mail your appeal to:

Christine Griggs

Acting FOIA Appeals Officer

Office of Civil Rights & Liberties, Ombudsman and Traveler Engagement (CRL/OTE)

Transportation Security Administration

701 South 12th Street, West Building, TSA-33

Arlington, VA 20598-6033

Your appeal must be submitted within 90 days from the date of this determination. It should contain request number TSA FOIA/PA Consultation 2020-TSCO-00017 and, to the extent possible, the reasons why you believe the initial determination should be reversed. In addition, the envelope should be prominently marked "FOIA Appeal." Please note that the TSA FOIA Appeals Officer's determination of the appeal will be administratively final.
Contact Information
Future correspondence with WMATA should reference the request number noted in the subject line of this correspondence. If you have any questions, please contact me at ssabri@wmata.com<mailto:ssabri@wmata.com> or 202-962-2058. If I am unavailable, please contact Richard Noh at RDNoh@wmata.com<mailto:RDNoh@wmata.com> or 202-962-2569.

[1] Redactions pursuant to FOIA Exemption (b)(6) were identified by TSA per TSA FOIA/PA Consultation 2020-TSCO-00017.

Sincerely,

Suraya Sabri
Associate Counsel
WMATA
600 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
P: 202-962-2058
F: 202-962-2550
E: ssabri@wmata.com<mailto:ssabri@wmata.com>

THIS TRANSMISSION IS INTENDED ONLY FOR THE PROPER RECIPIENT(S). IT IS CONFIDENTIAL AND MAY CONTAIN ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGED INFORMATION OR INFORMATION PREPARED IN ANTICIPATION OF LITIGATION. IF YOU ARE NOT THE PROPER RECIPIENT, PLEASE NOTIFY THE SENDER IMMEDIATELY AND DELETE THIS MESSAGE. ANY UNAUTHORIZED REVIEW, COPYING, OR USE OF THIS MESSAGE IS PROHIBITED.

________________________________

[1] Redactions pursuant to FOIA Exemption (b)(6) were identified by TSA per TSA FOIA/PA Consultation 2020-TSCO-00017.

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