My Freedom of Information Act Request

The times they are a-changin’.

This post seems to be older than 16 years—a long time on the internet. It might be outdated.

I filled my first ever FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request today. Technically, it was a Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act (PA) requests related to the Office of Border Patrol.


The Freedom of Information Act generally provides that any person has a right, enforceable in court, to obtain access to federal agency records, except to the extent that such records (or portions of them) are protected from disclosure by one of nine exemptions or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions (special categories of law enforcement-related records that have been entirely excluded from the coverage of the FOIA).

I’m basically requesting the dossier that the Department of Homeland security has compiled on me…at least the unclassified parts.


The Department of Homeland Security already knows everything about your travel. Now, for the first time, The Identity Project makes it easy for you to request the unclassified parts of the dossier that the DHS has complied on you.

I’ll be interesting to see what, if anything they send me. Here’s basically what I’m requesting:

“copies of all information relating to myself contained in the system of records established for the Automated Targeting System (“ATS”). Notice of this system of records (“SORN”) was made in the Federal Register on November 2, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 212, pages 64543-64546). This request letter is accompanied by a completed Request for Records/Privacy Act Release Form.

My request is for all information relating to myself referenced in the Categories of Records in the System section of the SORN. Specifically, I am asking for any PNR information obtained from commercial air carriers, any records relating to any risk assessments, the rules used for determining the assessments, any pointer or reference to the underlying records from other systems that resulted in the assessments, any APIS information, and any secondary inspection records. I am requesting these records as is my right under 5 U.S.C. § 552a(d)(1). (See also OMB Guidelines (40 Fed. Reg. 28948, 28957) as well as a 2004 U.S. Department of Justice overview of the Privacy Act, “a requestor need not state his reason for seeking access to records under the Privacy Act…” )

Should CBP provide less than a complete copy of all records relating to myself contained in this system of records, I request a detailed explanation as to the reasons for denying or not fully complying with my request.”

via BoingBoing