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Privacy Act of 1974; Implementation

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Office of the Secretary, DoD.

ACTION:

Direct final rule with request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The Office of the Secretary of Defense is exempting those records contained in DMDC 14 DoD, entitled “Defense Clearance and Investigations Index (DCII)”, pertaining to investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes to enable OSD components to conduct certain investigations and relay law enforcement information without compromise of the information, protect investigative techniques and efforts employed, and identities of confidential sources who might not otherwise come forward and who furnished information under an express promise that the sources' identity would be held in confidence. The exemption will allow DoD to provide protection against notification of investigatory material including certain reciprocal investigations and counterintelligence information, which might alert a subject to the fact that an investigation of that individual is taking place, and the disclosure of which would weaken the on-going investigation, reveal investigatory techniques, and place confidential informants in jeopardy who furnished information under an express promise that the sources' identity would be held in confidence. Further, Start Printed Page 58104requiring OSD to grant access to records and agency rules for access and amendment of records would unfairly impede the investigation of allegations of unlawful activities. To require OSD to confirm or deny the existence of a record pertaining to a requesting individual may in itself provide an answer to that individual relating to an on-going investigation. The investigation of possible unlawful activities would be jeopardized by agency rules requiring verification of record, disclosure of the record to the subject, and record amendment procedures.

This direct final rule makes nonsubstantive changes to the Office of the Secretary Privacy Program rules. These changes will allow the Department to add an exemption rule to the Office of the Secretary of Defense Privacy Program rules that will exempt applicable Department records and/or material from certain portions of the Privacy Act. This change will allow the Department to move part of the Department's personnel security program records from the Defense Security Service Privacy Program to the Office of the Secretary of Defense Privacy Program. This will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of DoD's program by preserving the exempt status of the applicable records and/or material when the purposes underlying the exemption(s) are valid and necessary.

This rule is being published as a direct final rule as the Department of Defense does not expect to receive any adverse comments, and so a proposed rule is unnecessary.

DATES:

The rule will be effective on November 29, 2011 unless comments are received that would result in a contrary determination. Comments will be accepted on or before November 21, 2011.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by any of the following methods:

  • Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail: Federal Docket Management System Office, 1160 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1160.

Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ms. Cindy Allard at (703) 588-6830.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This direct final rule is consistent with the rule currently published at 32 CFR part 321.13(h) and another rule is being published to remove and reserve 321.13(h).

Direct Final Rule and Significant Adverse Comments

DoD has determined this rulemaking meets the criteria for a direct final rule because it involves nonsubstantive changes dealing with DoD's management of its Privacy Progams. DoD expects no opposition to the changes and no significant adverse comments. However, if DoD receives a significant adverse comment, the Department will withdraw this direct final rule by publishing a notice in the Federal Register. A significant adverse comment is one that explains: (1) Why the direct final rule is inappropriate, including challenges to the rule's underlying premise or approach; or (2) why the direct final rule will be ineffective or unacceptable without a change. In determining whether a comment necessitates withdrawal of this direct final rule, DoD will consider whether it warrants a substantive response in a notice and comment process.

Executive Order 12866, “Regulatory Planning and Review” and Executive Order 13563, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory 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 these Executive orders.

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

It has been determined that this Privacy Act rule for the Department of Defense does not have significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because it is concerned only with the administration of Privacy Act systems of records within the Department of Defense.

Public Law 95-511, “Paperwork Reduction Act” (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35)

It has been determined that Privacy Act rules for the Department of Defense impose no additional information collection requirements on the public under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

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

It has been determined that this 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 the Privacy Act rules for the Department of Defense do not have federalism implications. The rule does 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 311

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Accordingly, 32 CFR part 311 is amended as follows:

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PART 311—OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE AND JOINT STAFF PRIVACY PROGRAM

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1. The authority citation for

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Authority: Pub. L. 93-579, 88 Stat. 1986 (5 U.S.C. 522a).

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2. Section 311.8 is amended by adding paragraph (c)(20) to read as follows:

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Procedures for exemptions.
* * * * *

(c) * * *

(20) System identifier and name: DMDC 14 DoD, Defense Clearance and Investigations Index.

(i) Exemptions: 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 Start Printed Page 58105by 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. Any portion of this system that falls under the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2) may be exempt from the following subjections of 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3); (d); (e)(1); (e)(4)(G), (H), and (I) and (f).

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

(iii) Reasons: (A) From subsection (c)(3) because it will enable OSD components to conduct certain investigations and relay law enforcement information without compromise of the information, protection of investigative techniques and efforts employed, and identities of confidential sources who might not otherwise come forward and who furnished information under an express promise that the sources' identity would be held in confidence (or prior to the effective date of the Act, under an implied promise).

(B) From subsections (e)(1), (e)(4)(G), (H), and (I) because it will provide protection against notification of investigatory material including certain reciprocal investigations and counterintelligence information, which might alert a subject to the fact that an investigation of that individual is taking place, and the disclosure of which would weaken the on-going investigation, reveal investigatory techniques, and place confidential informants in jeopardy who furnished information under an express promise that the sources' identity would be held in confidence (or prior to the effective date of the Act, under an implied promise).

(C) From subsections (d) and (f) because requiring OSD to grant access to records and agency rules for access and amendment of records would unfairly impede the investigation of allegations of unlawful activities. To require OSD to confirm or deny the existence of a record pertaining to a requesting individual may in itself provide an answer to that individual relating to an on-going investigation. The investigation of possible unlawful activities would be jeopardized by agency rules requiring verification of record, disclosure of the record to the subject, and record amendment procedures.

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Dated: August 24, 2011.

Patricia L. Toppings,

OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.

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[FR Doc. 2011-23758 Filed 9-19-11; 8:45 am]

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