DHS responds to May 3rd FOIA request

June 19, 2011

Posted by Matt Ehling

On May 19th, the Department of Homeland Security sent a response to our May 3rd DHS FOIA request. This request sought – among other things – correspondence within the DHS Privacy Office relating to our June 24th, 2010 U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) request.

The DHS response to our request produced seven pages of documents – all of which related to the transfer of our March 28th request to the USCG FOIA office.

The first page of the document release contains redacted information. Page one is a printed copy of an e-mail charting the transfer of PRM’s March 28th request to the USCG. The e-mail correspondence chain contains two redactions – the “from” information (the sender), as well as the “carbon copy” information (additional recipients).

The DHS response letter asserts that the redactions were made pursuant to FOIA Exemption 6, for reasons of protecting personal privacy. The text of the letter reads, in part:

“Exemption 6 exempts from disclosure personnel or medical files and similar files the release of which would cause a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. This requires a balancing of the public’s right to disclosure against the individual’s right to privacy. The privacy interests of the individuals in the records you have requested outweigh any minimal public interest in the disclosure of the information.”

We will soon be appealing the withholding of the names contained in the e-mail routing information.