DHS's ICE Group Accused Of Lying To Court About Expense Of Complying With FOI Request

from the but-of-course dept

Having just filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request concerning documents from Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division, you can bet that it caught my attention that ICE is now being accused of lying to a court in claiming massive expenses to comply with a FOIA request for metadata on documents. After some back and forth, a court had ordered ICE to provide the specific data under the FOIA. ICE told the court that it was using a product from a company called Clearwell, but that it ran into technical and monetary hurdles, including having to spend $270,000 in upgrades, and also that it had to suspend security protocols to run the applications.

Apparently, Clearwell's competitors have been having a field day with this, using the filing by the government to bash Clearwell's product, so the company put out a blog post that claims ICE was basically lying to the court:
Neither OPLA nor any other part of ICE paid a dime for upgrades or a new server. In reality, its use of the product for this matter is covered under ICE’s existing license, and we provided an extra server and services for free to help them meet a tight deadline. . . .

In 16 working days, Clearwell was used to process a large volume of information and produce nearly 15,000 pages of Opt-Out Records . . . To help ICE meet its deadline, two Clearwell consultants worked onsite during this period – at absolutely no cost to ICE.
Apparently, it's not a good idea to use such things as an excuse when the company you're claiming was the problem has the ability to speak up itself. Of course, my request isn't for any metadata, so hopefully they can avoid having to spend $270,000 to find the few documents I requested.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Beta (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 11:33am

    psst

    "...the company put out a blog post that claims ICE was basically lying to the court...

    (I do not think that links to what you think it links to.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    DCL, May 19th, 2011 @ 11:44am

    LUCY!!!

    you got some s'planing to do!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2011 @ 11:44am

    "ice groups"?

    Sounds like some seriously dope hip-hop, broceephus. Word.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    DannyB (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 11:45am

    Having to suspend security protocols?

    But your honor! We got hacked! If there ever were any documents responsive to the FOIA request, they no longer exist.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2011 @ 11:46am

    And as always the truth lays somewhere in between...
    it cost SOMEONE lots of additional money, in this case the software company.
    DHS had to spend some additional money on overtime, additional people, etc.

    But it is good to see a group call them out on the untruths.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    DannyB (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 11:56am

    Re: The truth DOES NOT always lie somewhere in between

    The truth DOES NOT always lie somewhere in between.

    Sometimes one extreme end is where the truth lies.

    Quote I've seen by a regular poster on Groklaw:

    Some people say the sun rises in the East.
    Others say it rises in the West.
    The truth lies probably somewhere in between.

    Is the Moon made of Cheese? Or is it not?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 12:01pm

    Re: Re: The truth DOES NOT always lie somewhere in between

    You say you should eat food.
    I say you should eat rat poison.

    Now, there's no need for us to be extremists, let's compromise!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Michael Ho (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 12:11pm

    Re: psst

    fixed. thanks for pointing that out....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Mike42 (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 12:15pm

    Blurry line

    I'm having a hard time telling criminals from the government. Which one steals you blind, lies to the court, rummages through your belongings and takes whatever they want?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Berenerd (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 12:22pm

    ICE didn't lie...

    Seriously, the 270k was for their catering a dinner for them and the TSA where they watched bloopers from the past year of Naked nuns and invalids who had their house raided for naked pictures of the pope...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2011 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Blurry line

    I'm having a hard time telling criminals from the government. Which one steals you blind, lies to the court, rummages through your belongings and takes whatever they want?

    And then sexually assaults you for good measure?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    AdamBv1 (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 12:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: The truth DOES NOT always lie somewhere in between

    OK, as long as we get to eat our rat poison laced food together. Whats good for the goose is good for the gander right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    CommonSense (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 12:48pm

    You mean...

    "hopefully they can avoid having to spend $270,000 to find the few documents I requested."

    I think you mean, "hopefully they can avoid having to lie about spending $270,000 to find the few documents..."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2011 @ 12:57pm

    Perjury is legal when you're the government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    NotMyRealName (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 1:17pm

    rather than spend a quarter mil, would it not have been easier and far far cheaper to just say "meta data is a pain in the ass, here's everything relevant, do your own meta analysis." and back up a trailer full of reams of copies, or top pages or whatever.

    granted, i only read through the top layer of links, so im not really sure what the request was actually for, but in my experience, evoking a tl;dr is effectively the same as not putting out any info at all, and they could still say they actually exceeded the terms of the request.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2011 @ 1:19pm

    "ICE told the court that it was using a product from a company called Clearwell, but that it ran into technical and monetary hurdles, including having to spend $270,000 in upgrades, and also that it had to suspend security protocols to run the applications. "

    and why should that be anyone else's problem? When the governments job is to provide us with documents, whatever costs they encounter are their problems, not the requester.

    Say I buy Internet access for $30 a month on a yearly contract. Now all of a sudden my ISP's computers crash as a result of some third party software that they use. It costs them $100,000 to fix. What, are they going to tell me that I must now pay $50 for the duration of the contract and change the terms last minute? No.

    Granted, this is not the best analogy (and there are some appreciable differences here), but the point is that their internal costs are not my problem. Their job is to provide this information upon request.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Thomas (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

    lying..

    to the courts is second nature to the federal spooks, be they DHS or the FBI or any of the others.

    The days are long past when there was any honesty in branches of the government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    freak (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The truth DOES NOT always lie somewhere in between

    Turns out the truth is somewhere in-between that . . .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Togashi (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 3:14pm

    Re:

    I'm not entirely certain on this, but I think that might be part of the contract of the FOIA requests in the first place. Too lazy to actually find out though, since I don't intend to file one any time soon.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Bergman (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 4:53pm

    FOIA Compliance is MANDATORY

    The Freedom Of Information Act requires that government agencies be prepared to comply with FOIA requests. This is a normal cost of doing business for all government agencies subject to FOIA.

    ICE has basically stated that they never made preparations to comply, and that it would cost them over a quarter million dollars to enact their mandatory compliance that for some reason they hadn't done before, despite it being mandatory for them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    TwoWords (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 5:59pm

    Untruths

    This is just a sham from the software company trying to blame the government for their bloatware, bad coding, costly upgrades, bad updates, etc... There is no way our intelligent intelligence organizations can and are this stupid and ignorant. Spitting, sputtering, coughing…..Oh wait for a minute I was drinking bad kool-aid again. They spin stuff like a bad out of balance washer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    Rekrul, May 19th, 2011 @ 11:20pm

    So they're admitting that they can't easily pull up specific requested information from their files in a timely manner. Gee, that makes me feel so much safer about them being in charge of protecting the country...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    The eejit (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 11:47pm

    Re: Untruths

    They knowingly interfered wioth a possible terrorist, and incited him to commit a terrorist act on home soil (or at lkeast, try to).

    Their stupidity is orders of magnitude higher than almost any other brach of US government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2011 @ 11:53pm

    Re:

    It costs them millions of dollars just to put two facts together. Yet, securing us requires them to put multiple tends of thousands of facts together ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), May 20th, 2011 @ 8:44am

    Personally, I would have filed an FOIA request, for that relevant billing information, the day after they said it cost $270,000.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 8:18pm

    It does not matter, you are illegal in tucson and are arrested for any reason,you will have a detainer and be arrested by ice it all has to do with stats....Janet is not the most reliable source

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2011 @ 8:43pm

    The dhs really is worried about future crimes.something they could be sued for.. So even you were arrested for driving on suspend. License and dhs ignored you, you might commit a more serious crime in the future dhs does not care what your arrest is for or how long you have lived here if you are here illegally, you will be arrested. The dream act really does not matter. You all should do more research on this matter. You should start at secure communities.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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