32 CFR PART 1900:
PUBLIC ACCESS TO CIA RECORDS UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (FOIA)
- 32 CFR PART 1900—PUBLIC ACCESS TO CIA RECORDS UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (FOIA)
- 32 CFR 1900.01: Authority and purpose.
- 32 CFR 1900.02: Definitions.
- 32 CFR 1900.03: Contact for general information and requests.
- 32 CFR 1900.04: Suggestions and complaints.
- Filing of FOIA Requests
- CIA Action on FOIA Requests
- Additional Administrative Matters
- CIA Action on FOIA Administrative Appeals
- 32 CFR 1900.01: Authority and purpose.
- 32 CFR PART 1900—PUBLIC ACCESS TO CIA RECORDS UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (FOIA)
- 1900.01: Authority and purpose.
- 1900.02: Definitions.
- 1900.03: Contact for general information and requests.
- 1900.04: Suggestions and complaints.
- Filing of FOIA Requests
- 1900.11: Preliminary information.
- 1900.12: Requirements as to form and content.
- 1900.13: Fees for record services.
- 1900.14: Fee estimates (pre-request option).
- CIA Action on FOIA Requests
- 1900.21: Processing of requests for records.
- 1900.22: Action and determination(s) by originator(s) or any interested party.
- 1900.23: Payment of fees, notification of decision, and right of appeal.
- Additional Administrative Matters
- 1900.31: Procedures for business information.
- 1900.32: Procedures for information concerning other persons.
- 1900.33: Allocation of resources; agreed extensions of time.
- 1900.34: Requests for expedited processing.
- CIA Action on FOIA Administrative Appeals
- 1900.41: Establishment of appeals structure.
- 1900.42: Right of appeal and appeal procedures.
- 1900.43: Determination(s) by Deputy Director(s).
- 1900.44: Action by appeals authority.
- 1900.45: Notification of decision and right of judicial review.
National Security Act of 1947, as amended; Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949, as amended; Freedom of Information Act, as amended; CIA Information Act of 1984; and Executive Order 12958 , 60 FR 19825, 3 CFR 1996 Comp., p. 333-356 (or successor Orders).
62 FR 32481, June 16, 1997, unless otherwise noted.
This part is issued under the authority of and in order to implement the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), as amended (5 U.S.C. 552); the CIA Information Act of 1984 (50 U.S.C. 431); sec. 102 of the National Security Act of 1947, as amended (50 U.S.C. 403); and sec. 6 of the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949, as amended (50 U.S.C. 403g). It prescribes procedures for:
(a) Requesting information on available CIA records, or the CIA administration of the FOIA, or estimates of fees that may become due as a result of a request;
(b) Requesting records pursuant to the FOIA; and
(c) Filing an administrative appeal of an initial adverse decision under the FOIA.
For purposes of this part, the following terms have the meanings indicated:
(a) Agency or CIA
means the United States Central Intelligence Agency acting through the CIA Information and Privacy Coordinator;
means calendar days when the Agency is operating and specifically excludes Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays. Three (3) days may be added to any time limit imposed on a requester by this part if responding by U.S. domestic mail; ten (10) days may be added if responding by international mail;
means ownership or the authority of the CIA pursuant to federal statute or privilege to regulate official or public access to records;
means the CIA Information and Privacy Coordinator who serves as the Agency manager of the information review and release program instituted under the Freedom of Information Act;
(e) Direct costs
means those expenditures which an agency actually incurs in the processing of a FOIA request; it does not include overhead factors such as space; it does include:
means paper copies of standard office size or the dollar value equivalent in other media;
means generation of a copy of a requested record in a form appropriate for release;
means all time expended in examining a record to determine whether any portion must be withheld pursuant to law and in effecting any required deletions but excludes personnel hours expended in resolving general legal or policy issues; it also means personnel hours of professional time;
means all time expended in looking for and retrieving material that may be responsive to a request utilizing available paper and electronic indices and finding aids; it also means personnel hours of professional time or the dollar value equivalent in computer searches;
(f) Expression of interest
means a written communication submitted by a member of the public requesting information on or concerning the FOIA program and/or the availability of documents from the CIA;
(g) Federal agency
means any executive department, military department, or other establishment or entity included in the definition of agency in 5 U.S.C. 552(f);
means those direct costs which may be assessed a requester considering the categories established by the FOIA; requesters should submit information to assist the Agency in determining the proper fee category and the Agency may draw reasonable inferences from the identity and activities of the requester in making such determinations; the fee categories include:
means a request in which the disclosure sought is primarily in the commercial interest of the requester and which furthers such commercial, trade, income or profit interests;
(2) Non-commercial educational or scientific institution
means a request from an accredited United States educational institution at any academic level or institution engaged in research concerning the social, biological, or physical sciences or an instructor or researcher or member of such institutions; it also means that the information will be used in a specific scholarly or analytical work, will contribute to the advancement of public knowledge, and will be disseminated to the general public;
(3) Representative of the news media
refers to any person actively gathering news for an entity that is organized and operated to publish or broadcast news to the public. The term “news” means information that is about current events or that would be of current interest to the public. Examples of news media entities include television or radio stations broadcasting to the public at large, and publishers of periodicals (but only in those instances when they can qualify as disseminators of “news”) who make their products available for purchase or subscription by the general public. These examples are not intended to be all-inclusive. Moreover, as traditional methods of news delivery evolve (e.g., electronic dissemination of newspapers through telecommunications services), such alternative media would be included in this category. In the case of “freelance” journalists, they may be regarded as working for a news organization if they can demonstrate a solid basis for expecting publication through that organization, even though not actually employed by it. A publication contract would be the clearest proof, but agencies may also look to the past publication record of a requestor in making this determination:
(4) All other
means a request from an individual not within paragraph (h)(1), (2), or (3) of this section;
(i) Freedom of Information Act
or “FOIA” means the statutes as codified at 5 U.S.C. 552;
(j) Interested party
means any official in the executive, military, congressional, or judicial branches of government, United States or foreign, or U.S. Government contractor who, in the sole discretion of the CIA, has a subject matter or physical interest in the documents or information at issue;
means the U.S. Government official who originated the document at issue or successor in office or such official who has been delegated release or declassification authority pursuant to law;
(l) Potential requester
means a person, organization, or other entity who submits an expression of interest;
(m) Reasonably described records
means a description of a document (record) by unique identification number or descriptive terms which permit an Agency employee to locate documents with reasonable effort given existing indices and finding aids;
(n) Records or agency records
means all documents, irrespective of physical or electronic form, made or received by the CIA in pursuance of federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business and appropriate for preservation by the CIA as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the CIA or because of the informational value of the data contained therein; it does not include:
(1) Books, newspapers, magazines, journals, magnetic or printed transcripts of electronic broadcasts, or similar public sector materials
acquired generally and/or maintained for library or reference purposes; to the extent that such materials are incorporated into any form of analysis or otherwise distributed or published by the Agency, they are fully subject to the disclosure provisions of the FOIA;
(2) Index, filing, or museum documents
made or acquired and preserved solely for reference, indexing, filing, or exhibition purposes; and
(3) Routing and transmittal sheets and notes and filing or destruction notes
which do not also include information, comment, or statements of substance;
(o) Responsive records
means those documents (i.e., records) which the Agency has determined to be within the scope of a FOIA request.
62 FR 32481, June 16, 1997, as amended at 72 FR 39316, July 18, 2007]
For general information on this part, to inquire about the FOIA program at CIA, or to file a FOIA request (or expression of interest), please direct your communication in writing to the Information and Privacy Coordinator, Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, DC 20505. Such inquiries will also be accepted by facsimile at (703) 613-3007. For general information or status information on pending cases only, the telephone number is (703) 613-1287. Collect calls cannot be accepted.
The Agency welcomes suggestions or complaints with regard to its administration of the Freedom of Information Act. Many requesters will receive pre-paid, customer satisfaction survey cards. Letters of suggestion or complaint should identify the specific purpose and the issues for consideration. The Agency will respond to all substantive communications and take such actions as determined feasible and appropriate.
Members of the public shall address all communications to the CIA Coordinator as specified at 32 CFR 1900.03 and clearly delineate the communication as a request under the Freedom of Information Act and this regulation. CIA employees receiving a communication in the nature of a FOIA request shall expeditiously forward same to the Coordinator. Requests and appeals on requests, referrals, or coordinations received from members of the public who owe outstanding fees for information services at this or other federal agencies will not be accepted and action on all pending requests shall be terminated in such circumstances.
(a) Required information.
No particular form is required. A request need only reasonably describe the records of interest. This means that documents must be described sufficiently to enable a professional employee familiar with the subject to locate the documents with a reasonable effort. Commonly this equates to a requirement that the documents must be locatable through the indexing of our various systems. Extremely broad or vague requests or requests requiring research do not satisfy this requirement.
(b) Additional information for fee determination.
In addition, a requester should provide sufficient personal identifying information to allow us to determine the appropriate fee category. A requester should also provide an agreement to pay all applicable fees or fees not to exceed a certain amount or request a fee waiver.
Communications which do not meet these requirements will be considered an expression of interest and the Agency will work with, and offer suggestions to, the potential requester in order to define a request properly.
(a) In general.
Search, review, and reproduction fees will be charged in accordance with the provisions below relating to schedule, limitations, and category of requester. Applicable fees will be due even if our search locates no responsive records or some or all of the responsive records must be denied under one or more of the exemptions of the Freedom of Information Act.
(b) Fee waiver requests.
Records will be furnished without charge or at a reduced rate whenever the Agency determines:
(1) That, as a matter of administrative discretion, the interest of the United States Government would be served, or
(2) That it is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to the public understanding of the operations or activities of the United States Government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester; the Agency shall consider the following factors when making this determination:
(i) Whether the subject of the request concerns the operations or activities of the United States Government; and, if so,
(ii) Whether the disclosure of the requested documents is likely to contribute to an understanding of United States Government operations or activities; and, if so,
(iii) Whether the disclosure of the requested documents will contribute to public understanding of United States Government operations or activities; and, if so,
(iv) Whether the disclosure of the requested documents is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of United States Government operations and activities; and
(v) Whether the requester has a commercial interest that would be furthered by the requested disclosure; and, if so,
(vi) Whether the disclosure is primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.
(c) Fee waiver appeals.
Denials of requests for fee waivers or reductions may be appealed to the Chair of the Agency Release Panel via the Coordinator. A requester is encouraged to provide any explanation or argument as to how his or her request satisfies the statutory requirement set forth above.
(d) Time for fee waiver requests and appeals.
It is suggested that such requests and appeals be made and resolved prior to the initiation of processing and the incurring of costs. However, fee waiver requests will be accepted at any time prior to the release of documents or the completion of a case, and fee waiver appeals within forty-five (45) days of our initial decision subject to the following condition: If processing has been initiated, then the requester must agree to be responsible for costs in the event of an adverse administrative or judicial decision.
(e) Agreement to pay fees.
In order to protect requesters from large and/or unanticipated charges, the Agency will request specific commitment when it estimates that fees will exceed $100.00. The Agency will hold in abeyance for forty-five (45) days requests requiring such agreement and will thereafter deem the request closed. This action, of course, would not prevent an individual from refiling his or her FOIA request with a fee commitment at a subsequent date.
The Agency may require an advance deposit of up to 100 percent of the estimated fees when fees may exceed $250.00 and the requester has no history of payment, or when, for fees of any amount, there is evidence that the requester may not pay the fees which would be accrued by processing the request. The Agency will hold in abeyance for forty-five (45) days those requests where deposits have been requested.
(g) Schedule of fees
(1) In general.
The schedule of fees for services performed in responding to requests for records is established as follows:
Personnel Search and Review
Computer Search and Production
Tapes (mainframe cassette)
Tapes (mainframe cartridge)
Tapes (mainframe reel)
Tapes (PC 9mm)
CD (bulk recorded)
Paper (mainframe printer)
Paper (PC b&w laser printer)
Paper (PC color printer)
Photocopy (standard or legal)
Pre-printed (if available)
Per 100 pages
Published (if available)
(2) Application of schedule.
Personnel search time includes time expended in either manual paper records searches, indices searches, review of computer search results for relevance, personal computer system searches, and various reproduction services. In any event where the actual cost to the Agency of a particular item is less than the above schedule (e.g., a large production run of a document resulted in a cost less than $5.00 per hundred pages), then the actual lesser cost will be charged. Items published and available at the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) are also available from CIA pursuant to this part at the NTIS price as authorized by statute.
(3) Other services.
For all other types of output, production, or reproduction (e.g., photographs, maps, or published reports), actual cost or amounts authorized by statute. Determinations of actual cost shall include the commercial cost of the media, the personnel time expended in making the item to be released, and an allocated cost of the equipment used in making the item, or, if the production is effected by a commercial service, then that charge shall be deemed the actual cost for purposes of this part.
(h) Limitations on collection of fees
(1) In general.
No fees will be charged if the cost of collecting the fee is equal to or greater than the fee itself. That cost includes the administrative costs to the Agency of billing, receiving, recording, and processing the fee for deposit to the Treasury Department and, as of the date of these regulations, is deemed to be $10.00.
(2) Requests for personal information.
No fees will be charged for requesters seeking records about themselves under the FOIA; such requests are processed in accordance with both the FOIA and the Privacy Act in order to ensure the maximum disclosure without charge.
(i) Fee categories.
There are four categories of FOIA requesters for fee purposes: Commercial use requesters, educational and non-commercial scientific institution requesters, representatives of the news media requesters, and all other requesters. The categories are defined in § 1900.02, and applicable fees, which are the same in two of the categories, will be assessed as follows:
(1) Commercial use requesters:
Charges which recover the full direct costs of searching for, reviewing, and duplicating responsive records (if any);
(2) Educational and non-commercial scientific institution requesters as well as “representatives of the news media” requesters:
Only charges for reproduction beyond the first 100 pages;
(3) All other requesters:
Charges which recover the full direct cost of searching for and reproducing responsive records (if any) beyond the first 100 pages of reproduction and the first two hours of search time which will be furnished without charge.
(j) Associated requests.
A requester or associated requesters may not file a series of multiple requests, which are merely discrete subdivisions of the information actually sought for the purpose of avoiding or reducing applicable fees. In such instances, the Agency may aggregate the requests and charge the applicable fees.
In order to avoid unanticipated or potentially large fees, a requester may submit a request for a fee estimate. The Agency will endeavor within ten (10) days to provide an accurate estimate, and, if a request is thereafter submitted, the Agency will not accrue or charge fees in excess of our estimate without the specific permission of the requester. Effective October 2, 1997, the ten (10) day provision is modified to twenty (20) days pursuant to the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996.
(a) In general.
Requests meeting the requirements of §§ 1900.11 through 1900.13 shall be accepted as formal requests and processed under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552, and these regulations. Upon receipt, the Agency shall within ten (10) days record each request, acknowledge receipt to the requester in writing, and thereafter effect the necessary taskings to the CIA components reasonably believed to hold responsive records. Effective October 2, 1997, the ten (10) day provision is modified to twenty (20) days pursuant to the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996.
(b) Database of “officially released information.”
As an alternative to extensive tasking and as an accommodation to many requesters, the Agency maintains a database of “officially released information” which contains copies of documents released by this Agency. Searches of this database, containing currently in excess of 500,000 pages, can be accomplished expeditiously. Moreover, requests that are specific and well-focused will often incur minimal, if any, costs. Requesters interested in this means of access should so indicate in their correspondence. Effective November 1, 1997 and consistent with the mandate of the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996, on-the public. Detailed information regarding such access will line electronic access to these records will be available to be available at that time from the point of contact specified in § 1900.03.
(c) Effect of certain exemptions.
In processing a request, the Agency shall decline to confirm or deny the existence or nonexistence of any responsive records whenever the fact of their existence or nonexistence is itself classified under Executive Order 12958 or revealing of intelligence sources and methods protected pursuant to section 103(c)(5) of the National Security Act of 1947. In such circumstances, the Agency, in the form of a final written response, shall so inform the requester and advise of his or her right to an administrative appeal.
(d) Time for response.
The Agency will utilize every effort to determine within the statutory guideline of ten (10) days after receipt of an initial request whether to comply with such a request. However, the current volume of requests require that the Agency seek additional time from a requester pursuant to 32 CFR 1900.33. In such event, the Agency will inform the requester in writing and further advise of his or her right to file an administrative appeal of any adverse determination. Effective October 2, 1997, the ten (10) day provision is modified to twenty (20) days pursuant to the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996.
(a) Initial action for access.
CIA components tasked pursuant to a FOIA request shall search all relevant record systems within their cognizance which have not been excepted from search by the provisions of the CIA Information Act of 1984. They shall:
(1) Determine whether a record exists;
(2) Determine whether and to what extent any FOIA exemptions apply;
(3) Approve the disclosure of all non-exempt records or portions of records for which they are the originator; and
(4) Forward to the Coordinator all records approved for release or necessary for coordination with or referral to another originator or interested party. In making these decisions, the CIA component officers shall be guided by the applicable law as well as the procedures specified at 32 CFR 1900.31 and 32 CFR 1900.32 regarding confidential commercial information and personal information (about persons other than the requester).
(b) Referrals and coordinations.
As applicable and within ten (10) days of receipt by the Coordinator, any CIA records containing information originated by other CIA components shall be forwarded to those entities for action in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section and return. Records originated by other federal agencies or CIA records containing other federal agency information shall be forwarded to such agencies within ten (10) days of our completion of initial action in the case for action under their regulations and direct response to the requester (for other agency records) or return to the CIA (for CIA records). Effective October 2, 1997, the ten (10) day provision is modified to twenty (20) days pursuant to the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996.
(a) Fees in general.
Fees collected under this part do not accrue to the Central Intelligence Agency and shall be deposited immediately to the general account of the United States Treasury.
(b) Notification of decision.
Upon completion of all required review and the receipt of accrued fees (or promise to pay such fees), the Agency will promptly inform the requester in writing of those records or portions of records which may be released and which must be denied. With respect to the former, the Agency will provide copies; with respect to the latter, the Agency shall explain the reasons for the denial, identify the person(s) responsible for such decisions by name and title, and give notice of a right of administrative appeal.
(c) Availability of reading room.
As an alternative to receiving records by mail, a requester may arrange to inspect the records deemed releasable at a CIA “reading room” in the metropolitan Washington, DC area. Access will be granted after applicable and accrued fees have been paid. Requests to review or browse documents in our database of “officially released records” will also be honored in this manner to the extent that paper copies or electronic copies in unclassified computer systems exist. All such requests shall be in writing and addressed pursuant to 32 CFR 1900.03. The records will be available at such times as mutually agreed but not less than three (3) days from our receipt of a request. The requester will be responsible for reproduction charges for any copies of records desired.
(a) In general.
Business information obtained by the Central Intelligence Agency by a submitter shall not be disclosed pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request except in accordance with this section. For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) Business information
means commercial or financial information in which a legal entity has a recognized property interest;
(2) Confidential commercial information
means such business information provided to the United States Government by a submitter which is reasonably believed to contain information exempt from release under exemption (b)(4) of the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552, because disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause substantial competitive harm;
means any person or entity who provides confidential commercial information to the United States Government; it includes, but is not limited to, corporations, businesses (however organized), state governments, and foreign governments; and
(b) Designation of confidential commercial information.
A submitter of business information will use good-faith efforts to designate, by appropriate markings, either at the time of submission or at a reasonable time thereafter, any portions of its submission that it considers to be confidential commercial information and hence protected from required disclosure pursuant to exemption (b)(4). Such designations shall expire ten (10) years after the date of the submission unless the submitter requests, and provides justification for, a longer designation period.
(c) Process in event of FOIA request
(1) Notice to submitters.
The Agency shall provide a submitter with prompt written notice of receipt of a Freedom of Information Act request encompassing business information whenever:
(i) The submitter has in good faith designated the information as confidential commercial information, or
(ii) The Agency believes that disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to cause substantial competitive harm, and
(iii) The information was submitted within the last ten (10) years unless the submitter requested and provided acceptable justification for a specific notice period of greater duration.
(2) Form of notice.
This notice shall either describe the exact nature of the confidential commercial information at issue or provide copies of the responsive records containing such information.
(3) Response by submitter.
(i) Within seven (7) days of the above notice, all claims of confidentiality by a submitter must be supported by a detailed statement of any objection to disclosure. Such statement shall:
(A) Specify that the information has not been disclosed to the public;
(B) Explain why the information is contended to be a trade secret or confidential commercial information;
(C) Explain how the information is capable of competitive damage if disclosed;
(D) State that the submitter will provide the Agency and the Department of Justice with such litigation defense as requested; and
(E) Be certified by an officer authorized to legally bind the corporation or similar entity.
(ii) It should be noted that information provided by a submitter pursuant to this provision may itself be subject to disclosure under the FOIA.
(4) Decision and notice of intent to disclose.
(i) The Agency shall consider carefully a submitter's objections and specific grounds for nondisclosure prior to its final determination. If the Agency decides to disclose a document over the objection of a submitter, the Agency shall provide the submitter a written notice which shall include:
(A) A statement of the reasons for which the submitter's disclosure objections were not sustained;
(B) A description of the information to be disclosed; and
(C) A specified disclosure date which is seven (7) days after the date of the instant notice.
(ii) When notice is given to a submitter under this section, the Agency shall also notify the requester and, if the Agency notifies a submitter that it intends to disclose information, then the requester shall be notified also and given the proposed date for disclosure.
(5) Notice of FOIA lawsuit.
If a requester initiates a civil action seeking to compel disclosure of information asserted to be within the scope of this section, the Agency shall promptly notify the submitter. The submitter, as specified above, shall provide such litigation assistance as required by the Agency and the Department of Justice.
(6) Exceptions to notice requirement.
The notice requirements of this section shall not apply if the Agency determines that:
(i) The information should not be disclosed in light of other FOIA exemptions;
(ii) The information has been published lawfully or has been officially made available to the public;
(iii) The disclosure of the information is otherwise required by law or federal regulation; or
(iv) The designation made by the submitter under this section appears frivolous, except that, in such a case, the Agency will, within a reasonable time prior to the specified disclosure date, give the submitter written notice of any final decision to disclose the information.
(a) In general.
Personal information concerning individuals other than the requester shall not be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act if the proposed release would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. See 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(6). For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) Personal information
means any information about an individual that is not a matter of public record, or easily discernible to the public, or protected from disclosure because of the implications that arise from Government possession of such information.
(2) Public interest
means the public interest in understanding the operations and activities of the United States Government and not simply any matter which might be of general interest to the requester or members of the public.
(b) Determination to be made.
In making the required determination under this section and pursuant to exemption (b)(6) of the FOIA, the Agency will balance the privacy interests that would be compromised by disclosure against the public interest in release of the requested information.
A requester seeking information on a third person is encouraged to provide a signed affidavit or declaration from the third person waiving all or some of their privacy rights. However, all such waivers shall be narrowly construed and the Coordinator, in the exercise of his discretion and administrative authority, may seek clarification from the third party prior to any or all releases.
(a) In general.
Agency components shall devote such personnel and other resources to the responsibilities imposed by the Freedom of Information Act as may be appropriate and reasonable considering:
(1) The totality of resources available to the component,
(2) The business demands imposed on the component by the Director of Central Intelligence or otherwise by law,
(3) The information review and release demands imposed by the Congress or other governmental authority, and
(4) The rights of all members of the public under the various information review and disclosure laws.
(b) Discharge of FOIA responsibilities.
Components shall exercise due diligence in their responsibilities under the FOIA and must allocate a reasonable level of resources to requests under the Act in a strictly “first-in, first-out” basis and utilizing two or more processing queues to ensure that smaller as well as larger (i.e., project) cases receive equitable attention. The Information and Privacy Coordinator is responsible for management of the Agency-wide program defined by this part and for establishing priorities for cases consistent with established law. The Director, Information Management through the Agency Release Panel shall provide policy and resource direction as necessary and render decisions on administrative appeals.
(c) Requests for extension of time.
When the Agency is unable to meet the statutory time requirements of the FOIA, it will inform the requester that the request cannot be processed within the statutory time limits, provide an opportunity for the requester to limit the scope of the request so that it can be processed within the statutory time limits, or arrange with the requester an agreed upon time frame for processing the request, or determine that exceptional circumstances mandate additional time. In such instances the Agency will, however, inform a requester of his or her right to decline our request and proceed with an administrative appeal or judicial review as appropriate. Effective October 2 1997, the definition of exceptional circumstances is modified per section 552(a)(6)(C) of the Freedom of Information Act, as amended.
(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.
(a) In general.
Two administrative entities have been established by the Director of Central Intelligence to facilitate the processing of administrative appeals under the Freedom of Information Act. Their membership, authority, and rules of procedure are as follows.
(b) Historical Records Policy Board (“HRPB” or “Board”).
This Board, the successor to the CIA Information Review Committee, acts as the senior corporate board in the CIA on all matters of information review and release.
The HRPB is composed of the Executive Director, who serves as its Chair, the Deputy Director for Administration, the Deputy Director for Intelligence, the Deputy Director for Operations, the Deputy Director for Science and Technology, the General Counsel, the Director of Congressional Affairs, the Director of the Public Affairs Staff, the Director, Center for the Study of Intelligence, and the Associate Deputy Director for Administration/Information Services, or their designees.
(2) Authorities and activities.
The HRPB, by majority vote, may delegate to one or more of its members the authority to act on any appeal or other matter or authorize the Chair to delegate such authority, as long as such delegation is not to the same individual or body who made the initial denial. The Executive Secretary of the HRPB is the Director, Information Management. The Chair may request interested parties to participate when special equities or expertise are involved.
(c) Agency Release Panel (“ARP” or “Panel”).
The HRPB, pursuant to its delegation of authority, has established a subordinate Agency Release Panel.
The ARP is composed of the Director, Information Management, who serves as its Chair; the Information Review Officers from the Directorates of Administration, Intelligence, Operations, Science and Technology, and the Director of Central Intelligence Area; the CIA Information and Privacy Coordinator; the Chief, Historical Review Group; the Chair, Publications Review Board; the Chief, Records Declassification Program; and representatives from the Office of General Counsel, the Office of Congressional Affairs, and the Public Affairs Staff.
(2) Authorities and activities.
The Panel shall meet on a regular schedule and may take action when a simple majority of the total membership is present. The Panel shall advise and assist the HRPB on all information release issues, monitor the adequacy and timeliness of Agency releases, set component search and review priorities, review adequacy of resources available to and planning for all Agency release programs, and perform such other functions as deemed necessary by the Board. The Information and Privacy Coordinator also serves as Executive Secretary of the Panel. The Chair may request interested parties to participate when special equities or expertise are involved. The Panel, functioning as a committee of the whole or through individual members, will make final Agency decisions from appeals of initial adverse decisions under the Freedom of Information Act and such other information release decisions made under 32 CFR parts 1901, 1907, and 1908. Issues shall be decided by a majority of members present; in all cases of a divided vote, any member of the ARP then present may refer such matter to the HRPB by written memorandum to the Executive Secretary of the HRPB. Matters decided by the Panel or Board will be deemed a final decision by the Agency.
(a) Right of Appeal.
A right of administrative appeal exists whenever access to any requested record or any portion thereof is denied, no records are located in response to a request, or a request for a fee waiver is denied. The Agency will apprise all requesters in writing of their right to appeal such decisions to the CIA Agency Release Panel through the Coordinator.
(b) Requirements as to time and form.
Appeals of decisions must be received by the Coordinator within forty-five (45) days of the date of the Agency's initial decision. The Agency may, for good cause and as a matter of administrative discretion, permit an additional thirty (30) days for the submission of an appeal. All appeals shall be in writing and addressed as specified in 32 CFR 1900.03. All appeals must identify the documents or portions of documents at issue with specificity and may present such information, data, and argument in support as the requester may desire.
No appeal shall be accepted if the requester has outstanding fees for information services at this or another federal agency. In addition, no appeal shall be accepted if the information in question has been the subject of a review within the previous two (2) years or is the subject of pending litigation in the federal courts.
(d) Receipt, recording, and tasking.
The Agency shall promptly record each request received under this part, acknowledge receipt to the requester in writing, and thereafter effect the necessary taskings to the Deputy Director(s) in charge of the directorate(s) which originated or has an interest in the record(s) subject to the appeal. As used herein, the term Deputy Director includes an equivalent senior official in the DCI-area as well as a designee known as the Information Review Officer for a directorate or area.
(e) Time for response.
The Agency shall attempt to complete action on an appeal within twenty (20) days of the date of receipt. The current volume of requests, however, often requires that the Agency request additional time from the requester pursuant to 32 CFR 1900.33. In such event, the Agency will inform the requester of the right to judicial review.
Each Deputy Director in charge of a directorate which originated or has an interest in any of the records subject to the appeal, or designee, is a required party to any appeal; other interested parties may become involved through the request of the Coordinator when it is determined that some or all of the information is also within their official cognizance. These parties shall respond in writing to the Coordinator with a finding as to the exempt status of the information. This response shall be provided expeditiously on a “first-in, first-out” basis taking into account the business requirements of the parties and consistent with the information rights of members of the general public under the various information review and release laws.
(a) Preparation of docket.
The Coordinator, acting in the capacity of Executive Secretary of the Agency Release Panel, shall place administrative appeals of FOIA requests ready for adjudication on the agenda at the next occurring meeting of that Panel. The Executive Secretary shall provide a summation memorandum for consideration of the members; the complete record of the request consisting of the request, the document(s) (sanitized and full text) at issue, and the findings of the concerned Deputy Director(s) or designee(s).
(b) Decision by the Agency Release Panel.
The Agency Release Panel shall meet and decide requests sitting as a committee of the whole. Decisions are by majority vote of those present at a meeting and shall be based on the written record and their deliberations; no personal appearances shall be permitted without the express permission of the Panel.
(c) Decision by the Historical Records Policy Board.
In any cases of divided vote by the ARP, any member of that body is authorized to refer the request to the CIA Historical Records Policy Board which acts as the senior corporate board for the Agency. The record compiled (the request, the memoranda filed by the originator and interested parties, and the previous decision(s)) as well as any memorandum of law or policy the referent desires to be considered, shall be certified by the Executive Secretary of the Agency Release Panel and shall constitute the official record of the proceedings and must be included in any subsequent filings.
The Executive Secretary of the Agency Release Panel shall promptly prepare and communicate the decision of the Panel or Board to the requester. With respect to any decision to deny information, that correspondence shall state the reasons for the decision, identify the officer responsible, and include a notice of a right to judicial review.