In furtherance of ongoing investigative coverage of the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center (DVIC), a fusion center in South Philadelphia, I filed last night a Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to the facility possessed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the primary source of funding for the DVIC under the Homeland Security Grant Program. It is reproduced below for public review. Continued opacity concerning elements of the facility’s activities has prompted expanded efforts through alternate means to secure information in the public interest.
To FEMA:Dear FOIA Officer:Pursuant to the federal Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, I request access to and copies of records relating to FEMA management, funding, and oversight of the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center concerning the planning, development, construction, and operation of the facility for the time period of January 2007 through the date of this request, November 1st 2013. In order to expedite your search, examples of such records might include “Programmatic Monitoring Reports” for the Homeland Security Grant Program/ Urban Areas Security Initiative for the years 2007 through the present date.A reference to these reports can be found in the October 3 2012 Senate Subcommittee release (FEDERAL SUPPORT FOR AND INVOLVEMENT IN STATE AND LOCAL FUSION CENTERS, MAJORITY AND MINORITY STAFF REPORT, PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE, ON INVESTIGATIONS, UNITED STATES SENATE)http://www.homelandsecurityus.com/PDF/HSGAC20121003.pdfe.g., “Philadelphia Urban Area FY 2009 Monitoring Report” (9/17/2009), FEMA; “Programmatic Monitoring Report, Pennsylvania – Philadelphia Area, HSGP/UASI,” (10/18/2011), FEMA, DHS-HSGAC-FC-059194. “Philadelphia Urban Area FY2009 Monitoring Report”These examples are not meant to be exclusive of FEMA records relating to the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center which are otherwise responsive.I would like to receive the information in electronic format where it is so available.As a representative of the news media I am only required to pay for the direct cost of duplication after the first 100 pages. This information is being sought on behalf of for dissemination to the general public. I have been researching extensively as an independent journalist and have been covering the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center since January of 2013 as co-editor of The Declaration, Philadelphia, PA. The Declaration has a large readership in the local civil rights community as well as a law enforcement interest, and is a primary source for expository public information about the facility.Please waive any applicable fees. Release of the information is in the public interest because it will contribute significantly to public understanding of government operations and activities. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge, for which I will receive no compensation. This request is made in the process of news gathering for public understanding and not for commercial usage. .This request is not meant to be exclusive of any other records which, though not specifically requested, would have a reasonable relationship to the subject matter of this request.If my request is denied in whole or part, I ask that you justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the act. I will also expect to be provided with all segregable portions of otherwise exempt material. Please separately state your reasons for not invoking your discretionary powers to release the requested documents in the public interest. Such statements will be helpful in deciding whether to appeal an adverse determination, and in formulating arguments in case an appeal is taken and written justification may help avoid unnecessary litigation. I, of course, reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to deny a waiver of fees.As I am making this request as a journalist and this information is of timely value, I would appreciate your communicating with me by telephone, rather than by mail, if you have questions regarding this request.I look forward to your reply within 20 business days, as the statute requires.In the event that responsive records comprehensive of the request have already been provided by FEMA and available, and can be referred to their location, I will withdraw this request in the interest of minimizing use of tax-payer resources.Thank you for your assistance.Sincerely,Kenneth Lipp
Independent JournalistEditor, The DeclarationEmail: firstname.lastname@example.org