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Rule

Privacy Act of 1974; Implementation

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AGENCY:

National Reconnaissance Office, DoD.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is exempting three Privacy Act systems of records (QNRO-4, QNRO-19, and QNRO-21). The reasons for exempting these systems of records is to exempt those records contained in QNRO-04 when an exemption has been previously claimed for the records in another Privacy Act system of records. The exemption is intended to preserve the exempt status of the record when the purposes underlying the exemption for the original records are still valid and necessary to protect the contents of the records; the exemptions for QNRO-19 and QNRO-21 are intended to increase the value of the systems of records for law enforcement purposes, to comply with prohibitions against the disclosure of certain kinds of information, and to protect the privacy of individuals identified in the systems of records.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

March 15, 2002.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ms. Barbara Freimann at (703) 808-5029.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The proposed rule was previously published on January 14, 2002, at 67 FR 1673. No comments were received; therefore, the rule is being adopted as final.

Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review”

It has been determined 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)

It has been determined 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)

It has been determined 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”

It has been determined that 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”

It has been determined that 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 326

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1. The authority citation for

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

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2. Chapter I, subchapters O and P of title 32 of the CFR are amended by adding

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3. Section 326.17 is amended by adding paragraphs (h), (i) and (j) to read as follows:

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Exemptions.
* * * * *

(h) QNRO-19

(1) System name: Customer Security Services Personnel Security Files.

(2) Exemptions: (i) Investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes 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 such information, the individual will be provided access to such information except to the extent that disclosure would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

(ii) Investigatory material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for federal civilian employment, military service, federal contracts, or access to classified information may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), but only to the extent that such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

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

(3) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2) and (k)(5).

(4) Reasons: (i) 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 or prosecutable interest by the NRO or other agencies. 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. Start Printed Page 17617

(ii) From subsections (d)(1) through (d)(4), and (f) because providing access to investigatory 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.

(iii) 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.

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

(v) 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. NRO will, nevertheless, continue to publish such a notice in broad generic terms as is its current practice.

(vi) Consistent with the legislative purpose of the Privacy Act of 1974, the NRO will grant access to nonexempt material in the records being maintained. Disclosure will be governed by NRO'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 in this paragraph. The decisions to release information from these systems will be made on a case-by-case basis.

(i) NRO-21

(1) System name: Personnel Security Files.

(2) Exemptions: (i) Investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes 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 such information, the individual will be provided access to such information except to the extent that disclosure would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

(ii) Investigatory material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for federal civilian employment, military service, federal contracts, or access to classified information may be exempt pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5), but only to the extent that such material would reveal the identity of a confidential source.

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

(3) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2) and (k)(5).

(4) Reasons: (i) 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 or prosecutable interest by the NRO or other agencies. 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.

(ii) From subsections (d)(1) through (d)(4), and (f) because providing access to records of a civil or administrative investigation 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.

(iii) 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.

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

(v) 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. NRO will, nevertheless, continue to publish such a notice in broad generic terms as is its current practice.

(vi) Consistent with the legislative purpose of the Privacy Act of 1974, the NRO will grant access to nonexempt material in the records being maintained. Disclosure will be governed by NRO'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 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 Start Printed Page 17618release information from these systems will be made on a case-by-case basis.

(j) QNRO-4

(1) System name: Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act Files.

(2) Exemption: During the processing of a Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act request, exempt materials from other systems of records may in turn become part of the case record in this system. To the extent that copies of exempt records from those “other” systems of records are entered into this system, the NRO hereby claims the same exemptions for the records from those “other” systems that are entered into this system, as claimed for the original primary system of which they are a part.

(3) Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), (k)(1), (k)(2), (k)(3), (k)(4), (k)(5), (k)(6), and (k)(7).

(4) Records are only exempt from pertinent provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a to the extent such provisions have been identified and an exemption claimed for the original record and the purposes underlying the exemption for the original record still pertain to the record which is now contained in this system of records. In general, the exemptions were claimed in order to protect properly classified information relating to national defense and foreign policy, to avoid interference during the conduct of criminal, civil, or administrative actions or investigations, to ensure protective services provided the President and others are not compromised, to protect the identity of confidential sources incident to Federal employment, military service, contract, and security clearance determinations, and to preserve the confidentiality and integrity of Federal evaluation materials. The exemption rule for the original records will identify the specific reasons why the records are exempt from specific provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a.

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Dated: April 2, 2002.

Patricia L. Toppings,

Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.

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[FR Doc. 02-8474 Filed 4-10-02; 8:45 am]

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