Administrative Law - CFR - 28 CFR 17.31: Mandatory review for declassification requests.


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28 CFR 17.31: Mandatory review for declassification requests.

(a) Any person may request classified information be reviewed for declassification pursuant to the mandatory declassification review provisions of section 3.6 of Executive Order 12958. After such a review, the information or any reasonably segregable portion thereof that no longer requires protection under this part shall be declassified and released to the requester unless withholding is otherwise warranted under applicable law. If the information, although declassified, is withheld, the requester shall be given a brief statement as to the reasons for denial and a notice of the right to appeal the determination to the Director, Office of Information and Privacy (OIP), United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC 20530. If the mandatory review for declassification request relates to the classification of information that has been reviewed for declassification within the past two years or that is the subject of pending litigation, the requester shall be informed of that fact and the administrative appeal rights.

 

(b) Request for mandatory review for declassification and any subsequent appeal to the DRC shall be submitted to the Director, Office of Information and Privacy, United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC 20530, describing the document or material containing the information with sufficient specificity to enable the Department to locate that information with a reasonable amount of effort. The OIP shall promptly forward the request to the component that originally classified the information, or the DRC in the case of an appeal, and provide the requester with an acknowledgement of receipt of the request.

(c) When the description of the information in a request is deficient, the component shall solicit as much additional identifying information as possible from the requestor. Before denying a request on the basis that the information or material is not obtainable with a reasonable amount of effort, the component shall ask the requestor to limit the request to information or material that is reasonably obtainable. If the information or material requested cannot be described in sufficient particularity, or if it cannot be obtained with a reasonable amount of effort, the component shall provide the requestor with written notification of the reasons why no action will be taken and the right to appeal the decision to the DRC.

(d) The component that originally classified the information shall provide a written response to requests for mandatory review within 60 days whenever possible, or shall inform the requester in writing why additional time is needed. Unless there are unusual circumstances, the additional time needed by the component originally classifying the information shall not extend beyond 180 days from the receipt of the request. If no determination has been made at the end of the 180 day period, the requester may apply to the DRC for a determination.

(e) If the component that originally classified the information determines that continued classification is warranted, it shall notify the requester in writing of the decision and the right to appeal the decision to the DRC no later that 60 days after receipt of the notification of the decision.

(f) The DRC shall determine the appeals of the components' mandatory declassification review decisions within 60 days after receipt of the appeal, or notify the requester why additional time is needed. In making its determinations concerning requests for declassification of classified information, the DRC, for administrative purposes, shall impose the burden of proof on the originating component to show that continued classification is warranted. The DRC shall provide the requester with a written statement of reasons for its decisions.

(g) If the individual requesting review of a classification is not satisfied with the DRC's decision, he or she may appeal to the ISCAP pursuant to section 5.4 of Executive Order 12958 and rules issued by the ISCAP pursuant to that section.