§ 2001.33 Mandatory review for declassification.

(a) U.S. originated information -

(1) Regulations. Each agency shall publish, and update as needed or required, in the Federal Register regulations concerning the handling of mandatory declassification review requests, to include the identity of the person(s) or office(s) to which requests should be addressed.

(2) Processing -

(i) Requests for classified records in the custody of the originating agency. A valid mandatory declassification review request must be of sufficient specificity to allow agency personnel to locate the records containing the information sought with a reasonable amount of effort. Requests for broad types of information, entire file series of records, or similar non-specific requests may be denied by agencies for processing under this section. In responding to mandatory declassification review requests, agencies shall make a final determination within one year from the date of receipt. When information cannot be declassified in its entirety, agencies shall make reasonable efforts to release, consistent with other applicable laws, those declassified portions of the requested information that constitute a coherent segment. Upon denial, in whole or in part, of an initial request, the agency shall also notify the requestor of the right of an administrative appeal, which must be filed within 60 days of receipt of the denial. Agencies receiving mandatory review requests are expected to conduct a line-by-line review of the record(s) for public access and are expected to release the information to the requestor, unless that information is prohibited from release under the provisions of a statutory authority, such as, but not limited to, the Freedom of Information Act, (5 U.S.C. 552), as amended, the Presidential Records Act of 1978 (44 U.S.C. 2201-2207), or the National Security Act of 1947 (Pub. L. 235, 61 Stat. 496, 50 U.S.C. Chapter 15).

(ii) Requests for classified records in the custody of an agency other than the originating agency. When an agency receives a mandatory declassification review request for records in its possession that were originated by another agency, it shall refer the request and the pertinent records to the originating agency. However, if the originating agency has previously agreed that the custodial agency may review its records, the custodial agency shall review the requested records in accordance with declassification guides or guidelines provided by the originating agency. Upon receipt of a request from the referring agency, the originating agency shall promptly process the request for declassification and release in accordance with this section. The originating agency shall communicate its declassification determination to the referring agency. The referring agency is responsible for collecting all agency review results and informing the requestor of any final decision regarding the declassification of the requested information unless a prior arrangement has been made with the originating agency.

(iii) Appeals of denials of mandatory declassification review requests. The agency appellate authority shall normally make a determination within 60 working days following the receipt of an appeal. If additional time is required to make a determination, the agency appellate authority shall notify the requester of the additional time needed and provide the requester with the reason for the extension. The agency appellate authority shall notify the requestor in writing of the final determination and of the reasons for any denial. The appellate authority must inform the requestor of his or her final appeal rights to the Panel.

(iv) Appeals to the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel. In accordance with section 5.3(c) of the Order, the Panel shall publish in the Federal Register the rules and procedures for bringing mandatory declassification appeals before it.

(v) Records subject to mandatory declassification review. Records containing information exempted from automatic declassification in accordance with section 3.3(c) of the Order or with § 2001.30(n)(1) are still subject to the mandatory declassification review provisions of section 3.5 of the Order.

(b) Foreign government information. Except as provided in this paragraph, agencies shall process mandatory declassification review requests for classified records containing foreign government information in accordance with this section. The declassifying agency is the agency that initially received or classified the information. When foreign government information is being considered for declassification, the declassifying agency shall determine whether the information is subject to a treaty or international agreement that does not permit automatic or unilateral declassification. The declassifying agency or the Department of State, as appropriate, may consult with the foreign government(s) prior to declassification.

(c) Cryptologic information. Mandatory declassification review requests for cryptologic information shall be processed in accordance with special procedures issued by the Secretary of Defense and, when cryptologic information pertains to intelligence activities, the Director of National Intelligence.

(d) Intelligence information. Mandatory declassification review requests for information pertaining to intelligence sources, methods, and activities shall be processed in accordance with special procedures issued by the Director of National Intelligence.

(e) Fees. In responding to mandatory declassification review requests for classified records, agency heads may charge fees in accordance with 31 U.S.C. 9701 or relevant fee provisions in other applicable statutes.

(f) Requests filed under mandatory declassification review and the Freedom of Information Act. When a requester submits a request both under mandatory declassification review and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the agency shall require the requestor to select one process or the other. If the requestor fails to select one or the other, the request will be treated as a FOIA request unless the requested materials are subject only to mandatory declassification review.

(g) FOIA and Privacy Act requests. Agency heads shall process requests for declassification that are submitted under the provisions of the FOIA, as amended, or the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), as amended, in accordance with the provisions of those Acts.

(h) Redaction standard. Agencies shall redact documents that are the subject of an access demand unless the overall meaning or informational value of the document is clearly distorted by redaction. The specific reason for the redaction, as provided for in section 1.4 or 3.3(b) of the Order, as applicable, must be included for each redaction. Information that is redacted due to a statutory authority must be clearly marked with the specific authority that authorizes the redaction. Any such redactions shall be performed in accordance with policies and procedures established in accordance with § 2001.45(d).

(i) Limitations on requests. Requests for mandatory declassification review made to an element of the Intelligence Community by anyone other than a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, may be denied by the receiving Intelligence Community element. Documents required to be submitted for pre-publication review or other administrative process pursuant to an approved nondisclosure agreement are not subject to mandatory declassification review.