32 CFR 1900.34: Requests for expedited processing.
(a) In general.
All requests will be handled in the order received on a strictly “first-in, first-out” basis. Exceptions to this rule will only be made in accordance with the following procedures. In all circumstances, however, and consistent with established judicial precedent, requests more properly the scope of requests under the Federal Rules of Civil or Criminal Procedure (or other federal, state, or foreign judicial or quasi-judicial rules) will not be granted expedited processing under this or related (e.g., Privacy Act) provisions unless expressly ordered by a federal court of competent jurisdiction.
(b) Procedure prior to October 2, 1997.
Requests for expedited processing shall be granted only in circumstances that the Agency deems to be exceptional. In making this determination, the Agency shall consider and must decide in the affirmative on all of the following factors:
(i) That there is a genuine need for the specific requested records; and
(ii) That the personal need is exceptional; and
(iii) That there are no alternative forums for the records or information sought; and
(iv) That it is reasonably believed that substantive records relevant to the stated needs may exist and be deemed releasable.
(2) In sum, requests shall be considered for expedited processing only when health, humanitarian, or due process considerations involving possible deprivation of life or liberty create circumstances of exceptional urgency and extraordinary need.
(c) Procedure on or after October 2, 1997.
Requests for expedited processing will be approved only when a compelling need is established to the satisfaction of the Agency. A requester may make such a request with a certification of “compelling need” and, within ten (10) days of receipt, the Agency will decide whether to grant expedited processing and will notify the requester of its decision. The certification shall set forth with specificity the relevant facts upon which the requester relies and it appears to the Agency that substantive records relevant to the stated needs may exist and be deemed releasable. A “compelling need” is deemed to exist:
(1) When the matter involves an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual; or
(2) When the request is made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information and the information is relevant to a subject of public urgency concerning an actual or alleged Federal government activity.