Freedom of Information

To complete Church Publishing’s October 2014 white paper On Security it gathered facts from over 200 print, electronic, and/or converted sources including The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s FY2014 and FY15 “Budget-in-Briefs.” Both reports listed DHS Pursuit Cables as accomplishments. In fact, dating to FY12 DHS‘s Analysis and Operations Office of Intelligence (I&A) authored information to share with U.S. law-enforcement and a blanket “Intelligence Community.” Yet in promoting accomplishments for FY13, the Department of Homeland Security called these Pursuit Lead Cables. More to the point, search for its definition yielded no existence of their process and Church filed a Freedom of Information Act request.

In order to acquire greater knowledge of what this organization’s $302-309 million discretionary funds were being appropriated for Church delayed publication of the white paper “On Security” to determine whether Homeland Security realizes redundant public safety missions at considerable cost to U.S. taxpayers. But emails and telephone calls to the Department’s media inquiry line netted no substantial reply so Church filed a formal Freedom of Information Act request detailing information it sought pertained to “Pursuit Lead Cable.”

In accordance with law, acknowledgement of receipt of this request filed August 11, 2014 to the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) came within thirty days, on September 9th. That got posted by Church so customers waiting for “On Security” would be aware of delay. That acknowledgment demanded a perfected request however, three days later, on September 12th Church received another letter after calling to clarify whether a “second submission” was neccessary to submit a perfected request indicating its original FOIA request 2014-IAFO-0246 was getting processed.

After receiving nothing again for two monthsChurch wrote an Officer in charge of IAFO-0246. On a week’s eve of 90 days after September 9 a letter dated December 3rd was received anticipating the documents would be released on December 15. But the 15th passed without further obligatory notification and then Church was informed December 19th was anticipated. Telephone inquires starting Monday each week found the documents would be ready every coming Friday including on the federal holiday following Christmas day December 26. But, after several weeks of telephone calls, and no documents beside DHS’s acknowledgement sent September 12, the Officer cited a “lack of resources” as being a factor in this extended delay.

In fact, the status of IAFO-0246 was conveyed over the telephone as under The DHS Office of General Counsel’s review. Implying these documents were in-hand, Intelligence and Analysis claimed it planned to release the information in two parts due to the quantity uncovered. Although that could necessitate considerable review in the interest of national security, Homeland Security employs more than 1,750 lawyers and its General Counsel Stevan Bunnell testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security September 18th, 2013 that he’d manage those “in a way that promotes morale, high performance, and efficiency.” Church was confident I&A would adhere to its plan and release the information in halves. But read this eventual reply that The Department of Homeland Security finally sent on January 13, 2015:

Pursuit Lead Cable
Final response FOIA request, Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A), (1/2)
Pursuit Lead Cable
Final response FOIA request, Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A), (2/2)