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Judicial Watch • JW v DOJ Chisolm Declaration ATF ammo 02218

JW v DOJ Chisolm Declaration ATF ammo 02218

JW v DOJ Chisolm Declaration ATF ammo 02218

Page 1: JW v DOJ Chisolm Declaration ATF ammo 02218

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Number of Pages:6

Date Created:April 30, 2018

Date Uploaded to the Library:September 26, 2018

Tags:Chisolm, ammunition, Directorates, Rulemaking, 02218, ammo, Declaration, released, regulations, proposed, notice, chief, Division, search, documents, responsive, ATF, filed, plaintiff, request, document, DOJ, FOIA, office


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Case 1:17-cv-00600-CKK Document 18-1 Filed 05/01/18 Page
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT COLUMBIA
__________________________________
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.,
Plaintiff,
Case No. 17-600 (CKK)
U.S. DEPARTMENT JUSTICE
Defendant.
__________________________________
SUPPLEMENTAL DECLARATION PETER CHISHOLM,
ACTING CHIEF, DISCLOSURE DIVISION
BUREAU ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, FIREARMS AND EXPLOSIVES Peter Chisholm, hereby declare and say: the Acting Chief, Disclosure Division, Bureau Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Department Justice (DOJ). this capacity, receive all
requests made ATF under the Freedom Information Act (FOIA), U.S.C. 552, and the
Privacy Act 1974 (PA), U.S.C. 552a. this capacity, also review all requests referred
ATF from other agencies that have located ATF-originated documents their records while
processing their FOIA and requests. responsible for processing all FOIA and
requests, initiating searches relevant such requests, supervising the determination what
records should disclosed, processing all documents referred ATF and other agencies, and
recording all administrative appeals filed with ATF. declare that the statements made herein are based knowledge acquired
through the performance official duties. familiar with the procedures followed
this office responding the FOIA request made Mr. William Marshall, behalf
Case 1:17-cv-00600-CKK Document 18-1 Filed 05/01/18 Page
Plaintiff Judicial Watch, Inc. Judicial Watch Plaintiff which the subject this
lawsuit.
Background March 30, 2015, the Disclosure Division received mail FOIA request
dated March 2015, from Mr. William Marshall, behalf Judicial Watch, for any and all
records communications, including but not limited to, emails, from employees
officials ATF regarding, concerning, related the decision revise the ATF 2014
Regulations Guide longer exempt 5.56mm, SS109 and M855 (i.e., green tip AR-15)
ammunition from the definition armor-piercing ammunition. The timeframe the request
was for the period March 2014 March 2015. July 14, 2017, ATF released Plaintiff pages part and pages full.
Information was withheld from the documents released part pursuant U.S.C. 552(b)(5),
(b)(6) and (b)(7)(C). those pages released, ten pages could categorized emails directly relating the discovery the publishing error the 2014 Regulations Guide (discussed February
13, 2018 declaration 6). The remaining pages could categorized emails containing
discussions and drafts ATF statement the publishing error and clarification that the
publishing error which resulted the omission the green-tip ammunition did not mean that
ATF had rescinded its previous classification. All emails released ranged date from March
2015 March 2015.
The Search, Review and Processing Documents outlined above, Plaintiff FOIA request asked for any and all records
Case 1:17-cv-00600-CKK Document 18-1 Filed 05/01/18 Page
communications, including but not limited to, emails, from employees officials ATF
regarding, concerning, related the decision revise the ATF 2014 Regulations Guide
longer exempt 5.56mm, SS109 and M855 (i.e., green tip AR-15) ammunition from the
definition armor-piercing ammunition from the period March 2014 through March
2015. the course conducting searches for this material, the Disclosure Division sent
search requests the Directorates within ATF most likely have responsive information Office Enforcement and Program Services (EPS), the Office Chief Counsel, and the Office Public and Governmental Affairs (PGA). Each Directorate used the same similar search
terms conduct its search armor piercing ammunition, 5.56, SS109, green tip, and regulations
guide. Furthermore, each Directorate searched for documents using the timeframe parameters
set Plaintiff (March 2014 March 2015). Due the broad nature the searches, Bureau personnel uncovered large volume duplicative documents and non-responsive records. part ATF mission develop and
deliver programmatic policy guidance and technical support related firearms and explosives
all components ATF. also drafts the regulations that implement Federal firearms,
explosives, alcohol diversion, and tobacco diversion laws within ATF area responsibility.
Because ATF mission primarily involves the regulation and criminal enforcement firearms
(among other things, but most relevant this litigation), was not unusual that the search terms
used the Directorates uncovered large volume documents, both duplicative and nonresponsive. Thus, while the search terms used revealed large number potentially responsive
documents, was not until Disclosure Division personnel actually read the documents that
could truly determined the document was actually responsive Plaintiff request.
Case 1:17-cv-00600-CKK Document 18-1 Filed 05/01/18 Page
Accordingly, during the course the review process that material was determined nonresponsive Plaintiff FOIA request and, therefore, was not released Plaintiff. When
performing its searches, ATF cast wide net ensure that Plaintiff received everything
responsive their request. Specifically, any and all records communications, including but
not limited to, emails, from employees officials ATF regarding, concerning, related the decision revise the ATF 2014 Regulations Guide longer exempt 5.56mm, SS109
and M855 (i.e., green tip AR-15) ammunition from the definition armor-piercing
ammunition.
The approximately 1,900 pages ultimately determined non-responsive, were
carefully reviewed line-by-line for responsiveness the Disclosure Division. After that
extensive review was completed, these pages were set aside without additional processing
because they were non-responsive. The non-responsive documents fell into such categories as,
drafts and final versions ATF talking points related the Armor Piercing Ammunition Notice Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM); emails and attachments discussing the classification
5.56mm SS109 and M855 ammunition for the NPRM; and drafts and final versions Questions
for the Record subsequent ATF Director Todd Jones testimony before Congress, portions which mention armor piercing ammunition. These documents were ultimately deemed nonresponsive since, although they contained some the broad search terms used, they were not
related any decision revise the ATF 2014 Regulations Guide longer exempt 5.56mm,
SS109 and M855 (i.e., green tip AR-15) ammunition from the definition armor-piercing
ammunition since, previously noted, such decision was ever made.
10.
The searches described above were conducted all the locations which
reasonably likely that responsive records would reside and using the search terms and methods
Case 1:17-cv-00600-CKK Document 18-1 Filed 05/01/18 Page
reasonably calculated locate those documents. All the documents that were responsive and
fell within Plaintiff specified timeframe (March 2014 March 2015) were released the
Plaintiff.
11. understanding from plain reading Plaintiff FOIA request and based discussions during the coordination and review the search that because there was
publication error the 2014 Regulations Guide resulting inadvertent omission, the records
were limited communications concerning that publishing error and the drafting public
statement about said error, all which occurred around March 2015. That explains the
limited timeframe the released documents. have been informed that there are other
documents which address the decision republish the ATF 2014 Regulations Guide which
included omission when originally posted. While Plaintiff may believe that there are more
documents, aver that the searches undertaken ATF and coordination with the various
Directorates involved with the underlying issue not support their conclusion.
12. The FOIA request from Plaintiff was limited the 2014 Regulations Guide,
and made mention the 2015 Notice Proposed Rulemaking Armor Piercing
Ammunition. The timing the withdrawal the Notice Proposed Rulemaking and the
publication the 2014 Regulations Guide were not dependent one other, but were merely
coincidental.
Conclusion
20.
ATF conducted reasonable search for documents responsive Plaintiff
specifically articulated and defined FOIA request. ATF properly gathered, reviewed for
responsiveness, redacted, and released all information for the greatest degree access.
Case 1:17-cv-00600-CKK Document 18-1 Filed 05/01/18 Page declare under penalty perjury that the foregoing true and correct. Executed this3bth day April, 2018.
Acting Chief, Disclosure Division