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Proposed Rule

Privacy Act; Implementation

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AGENCY:

Department of the Air Force, DOD.

ACTION:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

The Department of the Air Force is proposing to add a (j)(2) exemption to an already existing exemption rule for the Privacy Act system of records notice F090 AF IG B, Inspector General Records. The (j)(2) exemption will increase the value of the system of records for law enforcement purposes.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before March 12, 2002 to be considered by this agency.

ADDRESSES:

Send comments to the Air Force Privacy Act Manager, CIO-BIM/P, 1155 Air Force Pentagon, Washington, DC 20330-1155.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mrs. Anne Rollins at (703) 601-4043 or DSN 329-4043.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review”

The Director of Administration and Management, Office of the Secretary of Defense, hereby determines that Privacy Act rules for the Department of Defense are not significant rules. The rules do not (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy; a sector of the economy; productivity; competition; jobs; the environment; public health or safety; or State, local, or tribal governments or communities; (2) Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another Agency; (3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs, or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in this Executive order.

Public Law 96-354, “Regulatory Flexibility Act” (5 U.S.C. Chapter 6)

The Director of Administration and Management, Office of the Secretary of Defense, hereby certifies that Privacy Act rules for the Department of Defense do not have significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because they are concerned only with the administration of Privacy Act systems of records within the Department of Defense.

Public Law 96-511, “Paperwork Reduction Act” (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35)

The Director of Administration and Management, Office of the Secretary of Defense, hereby certifies that Privacy Act rules for the Department of Defense impose no information requirements beyond the Department of Defense and that the information collected within the Department of Defense is necessary and consistent with 5 U.S.C. 552a, known as the Privacy Act of 1974.

Section 202, Public Law 104-4, “Unfunded Mandates Reform Act”

The Director of Administration and Management, Office of the Secretary of Defense, hereby certifies that the Privacy Act rulemaking for the Department of Defense does not involve a Federal mandate that may result in the expenditure by State, local and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more and that such rulemaking will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments.

Executive Order 13132, “Federalism''

The Director of Administration and Management, Office of the Secretary of Defense, hereby certifies that the Privacy Act rules for the Department of Defense do not have federalism implications. The rules do not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the National Government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.

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List of Subjects in 32 CFR Part 806b

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PART 806b—AIR FORCE PRIVACY ACT PROGRAM

1. The authority citation for 32 CFR part 806b continues to read as follows:

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Authority: Pub. L. 93-579, 88 Stat. 1896 (5 U.S.C. 552a).

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2. In Appendix C to Part 806b, add paragraph (a)(6) to read as follows:

Appendix C to Part 806b—General and Specific Exemptions. * * *

(a) General exemptions. * * *

(6) System identifier and name: F090 AF IG B, Inspector General Records.

(i) Exemption: (A) Parts of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) if the information is compiled and maintained by a component of the agency which performs as its principle function any activity pertaining to the enforcement of criminal laws.

(B) Any portion of this system of records which falls within the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) may be exempt from the following subsections of 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (c)(4), (d), (e)(1), (e)(2), (e)(3), (e)(4)(G), (H), and (I), (e)(5), (e)(8), (f), and (g).

(ii) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2).

(iii) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because the release of accounting of disclosure would inform a subject that he or she is under investigation. This information would provide considerable advantage to the subject in providing him or her with knowledge concerning the nature of the investigation and the coordinated investigative efforts and techniques employed by the cooperating agencies. This would greatly impede the Air Force IG's criminal law enforcement.

(B) From subsection (c)(4) and (d), because notification would alert a subject to the fact that an open investigation on that individual is taking place, and might weaken the on-going investigation, reveal investigative techniques, and place confidential informants in jeopardy.

(C) From subsection (e)(1) because the nature of the criminal and/or civil investigative function creates unique problems in prescribing a specific parameter in a particular case with respect to what information is relevant or necessary. Also, information may be received which may relate to a case under the investigative jurisdiction of another agency. The maintenance of this information may be necessary to provide leads for appropriate law enforcement purposes and to establish patterns of activity which may relate to the jurisdiction of other cooperating agencies.

(D) From subsection (e)(2) because collecting information to the fullest extent possible directly from the subject individual may or may not be practical in a criminal and/or civil investigation.

(E) From subsection (e)(3) because supplying an individual with a form containing a Privacy Act Statement would tend to inhibit cooperation by many individuals involved in a criminal and/or civil investigation. The effect would be somewhat adverse to established investigative methods and techniques.

(F) From subsections (e)(4)(G), (H), and (I) because this system of records is exempt from the access provisions of subsection (d).

(G) From subsection (e)(5) because the requirement that records be maintained with attention to accuracy, relevance, timeliness, and completeness would unfairly hamper the investigative process. It is the nature of law enforcement for investigations to uncover the commission of illegal acts at diverse stages. Start Printed Page 1424It is frequently impossible to determine initially what information is accurate, relevant, timely, and least of all complete. With the passage of time, seemingly irrelevant or untimely information may acquire new significance as further investigation brings new details to light.

(H) From subsection (e)(8) because the notice requirements of this provision could present a serious impediment to law enforcement by revealing investigative techniques, procedures, and existence of confidential investigations.

(I) From subsection (f) because the agency's rules are inapplicable to those portions of the system that are exempt and would place the burden on the agency of either confirming or denying the existence of a record pertaining to a requesting individual might in itself provide an answer to that individual relating to an on-going investigation. The conduct of a successful investigation leading to the indictment of a criminal offender precludes the applicability of established agency rules relating to verification of record, disclosure of the record to that individual, and record amendment procedures for this record system.

(J) From subsection (g) because this system of records should be exempt to the extent that the civil remedies relate to provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a from which this rule exempts the system.

(iv) Authority: (A) Investigative material compiled for law enforcement purposes, other than material within the scope of subsection 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2). However, if an individual is denied any right, privilege, or benefit for which he would otherwise be entitled by Federal law or for which he would otherwise be eligible, as a result of the maintenance of the information, the individual will be provided access to the information exempt to the extent that disclosure would reveal the identify of a confidential source.

Note:

When claimed, this exemption allows limited protection of investigative reports maintained in a system of records used in personnel or administrative actions.

(B) Therefore, portions of this system of records may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2) from the following subsections of 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (H) and (I), and (f).

(v) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because to grant access to the accounting for each disclosure as required by the Privacy Act, including the date, nature, and purpose of each disclosure and the identity of the recipient, could alert the subject to the existence of the investigation. This could seriously compromise case preparation by prematurely revealing its existence and nature; compromise or interfere with witnesses or make witnesses reluctant to cooperate; and lead to suppression, alteration, or destruction of evidence.

(B) From subsections (d) and (f) because providing access to investigative records and the right to contest the contents of those records and force changes to be made to the information contained therein would seriously interfere with and thwart the orderly and unbiased conduct of the investigation and impede case preparation. Providing access rights normally afforded under the Privacy Act would provide the subject with valuable information that would allow interference with or compromise of witnesses or render witnesses reluctant to cooperate; lead to suppression, alteration, or destruction of evidence; enable individuals to conceal their wrongdoing or mislead the course of the investigation; and result in the secreting of or other disposition of assets that would make them difficult or impossible to reach in order to satisfy any Government claim growing out of the investigation or proceeding.

(C) From subsection (e)(1) because it is not always possible to detect the relevance or necessity of each piece of information in the early stages of an investigation. In some cases, it is only after the information is evaluated in light of other evidence that its relevance and necessity will be clear.

(D) From subsections (e)(4)(G) and (H) because this system of records is compiled for investigative purposes and is exempt from the access provisions of subsections (d) and (f).

(E) From subsection (e)(4)(I) because to the extent that this provision is construed to require more detailed disclosure than the broad, generic information currently published in the system notice, an exemption from this provision is necessary to protect the confidentiality of sources of information and to protect privacy and physical safety of witnesses and informants.

(F) Consistent with the legislative purpose of the Privacy Act of 1974, the AF will grant access to nonexempt material in the records being maintained. Disclosure will be governed by AF's Privacy Regulation, but will be limited to the extent that the identity of confidential sources will not be compromised; subjects of an investigation of an actual or potential criminal or civil violation will not be alerted to the investigation; the physical safety of witnesses, informants and law enforcement personnel will not be endangered, the privacy of third parties will not be violated; and that the disclosure would not otherwise impede effective law enforcement. Whenever possible, information of the above nature will be deleted from the requested documents and the balance made available. The controlling principle behind this limited access is to allow disclosures except those indicated above. The decisions to release information from these systems will be made on a case-by-case basis.

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3. Appendix C to section 806b, is amended to remove and reserve paragraph (b)(12).

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Dated: January 4, 2002.

L.M. Bynum,

Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.

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[FR Doc. 02-681 Filed 1-10-02; 8:45 am]

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