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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of March 26, 2020

Title 19Chapter IPart 103 → Subpart B


Title 19: Customs Duties
PART 103—AVAILABILITY OF INFORMATION


Subpart B—Production or Disclosure in Federal, State, Local, and Foreign Proceedings


Contents
§103.21   Purpose and definitions.
§103.22   Procedure in the event of a demand for CBP information in any federal, state, or local civil proceeding or administrative action.
§103.23   Factors in determining whether to disclose information pursuant to a demand.
§103.24   Procedure in the event a decision concerning a demand is not made prior to the time a response to the demand is required.
§103.25   Procedure in the event of an adverse ruling.
§103.26   Procedure in the event of a demand for CBP information in a state or local criminal proceeding.
§103.27   Procedure in the event of a demand for CBP information in a foreign proceeding.

Source: T.D. 96-36, 61 FR 19838, May 3, 1996, unless otherwise noted.

§103.21   Purpose and definitions.

(a) Purpose. (1) This subpart sets forth procedures to be followed with respect to the production or disclosure of any documents contained in CBP files, any information relating to material contained in CBP files, any testimony by a CBP employee, or any information acquired by any person as part of that person's performance of official duties as a CBP employee or because of that person's official status, hereinafter collectively referred to as “information”, in all federal, state, local, and foreign proceedings when a subpoena, notice of deposition (either upon oral examination or written interrogatory), order, or demand, hereinafter collectively referred to as a “demand”, of a court, administrative agency, or other authority is issued for such information.

(2) This subpart does not cover those situations where the United States is a party to the action. In situations where the United States is a party to the action, CBP employees are instructed to follow internal CBP policies and procedures.

(b) CBP employee. For purposes of this subpart, the term “CBP employee” includes all present and former officers and employees of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

(c) CBP documents. For purposes of this subpart, the term “CBP documents” includes any document (including copies thereof), no matter what media, produced by, obtained by, furnished to, or coming to the knowledge of, any CBP employee while acting in his/her official capacity, or because of his/her official status, with respect to the administration or enforcement of laws administered or enforced by CBP.

(d) Originating component. For purposes of this subpart, the term “originating component” references the CBP official, or the official's designee, in charge of the office responsible for the collection, assembly, or other preparation of the information demanded or that, at the time the person whose testimony is demanded acquired the information in question, employs or employed the person whose testimony is demanded.

(e) Disclosure to government law enforcement or regulatory agencies. Nothing in this subpart is intended to impede the appropriate disclosure of information by CBP to federal, state, local, and foreign law enforcement or regulatory agencies, in accordance with the confidentiality requirements of the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a), the Trade Secrets Act (18 U.S.C. 1905), and other applicable statutes.

(f) Disclosure to federal attorneys and the Court of International Trade. Nothing in this subpart is intended to restrict the disclosure of CBP information requested by the Court of International Trade, U.S. Attorneys, or attorneys of the Department of Justice, for use in cases which arise under the laws administered or enforced by, or concerning, CBP and which are referred by the Department of Homeland Security to the Department of Justice for prosecution or defense.

(g) Disclosure of non-CBP information. Nothing in the subpart is intended to impede the appropriate disclosure of non-CBP information by CBP employees in any proceeding in which they are a party or witness solely in their personal capacities.

(h) Failure of CBP employee to follow procedures. The failure of any CBP employee to follow the procedures specified in this subpart neither creates nor confers any rights, privileges, or benefits on any person or party.

(i) In camera inspection of records. Nothing in this subpart authorizes CBP personnel to withhold records from a federal court, whether civil or criminal, pursuant to its order for such records appropriately made, for purposes of in camera inspection of the records to determine the propriety of claimed exemption(s) from disclosure.

[61 FR 19838, May 3, 1996, as amended at 78 FR 70856, Nov. 27, 2013]

§103.22   Procedure in the event of a demand for CBP information in any federal, state, or local civil proceeding or administrative action.

(a) General prohibition against disclosure. In any federal, state, or local civil proceeding or administrative action in which CBP is not a party, no CBP employee shall, in response to a demand for CBP information, furnish CBP documents or testimony as to any material contained in CBP files, any information relating to or based upon material contained in CBP files, or any information or material acquired as part of the performance of that person's official duties (or because of that person's official status) without the prior written approval of the Chief Counsel, as described in paragraph (b) of this section.

(b) Employee notification to Counsel. Whenever a demand for information is made upon a CBP employee, that employee shall immediately prepare a report that specifically describes the testimony or documents sought and notify the Assistant Chief Counsel or Associate Chief Counsel for the area where the employee is located. If the employee is located at Headquarters or outside of the United States, the employee shall immediately notify the Chief Counsel. The CBP employee shall then await instructions from the Chief Counsel concerning the response to the demand.

(c) Requesting party's initial burden. A party seeking CBP information shall serve on the appropriate CBP employee the demand, a copy of the Summons and Complaint, and provide an affidavit, or, if that is not feasible, a statement that sets forth a summary of the documents or testimony sought and its relevance to the proceeding. Any disclosure authorization for documents or testimony by a CBP employee shall be limited to the scope of the demand as summarized in such affidavit or statement. The Chief Counsel may, upon request and for good cause shown, waive the requirements of this paragraph.

(d) Requesting party's notification requirement. The demand for CBP information, pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (c) of this section, shall be served at least ten (10) working days prior to the scheduled date of the production of the documents or the taking of testimony.

(e) Counsel notification to originating component. Upon receipt of a proper demand for CBP information, one which complies with the provisions of paragraph (c) of this section, if the Chief Counsel believes that it will comply with any part of the demand, it will immediately advise the originating component.

(f) Conditions for authorization of disclosure. The Chief Counsel, subject to the provisions of paragraph (h) of this section, may authorize the production of CBP documents or the appearance and testimony of a CBP employee if:

(1) Production of the demanded documents or testimony, in the judgment of the Chief Counsel, are appropriate under the factors specified in §103.23(a) of this subpart; and

(2) None of the factors specified in §103.23(b) of this subpart exist with respect to the demanded documents or testimony.

(g) Limitations on the scope of authorized disclosure. (1) The Chief Counsel shall authorize the disclosure of CBP information by a CBP employee without further authorization from CBP officials whenever possible, provided that:

(i) If necessary, Counsel has consulted with the originating component regarding disclosure of the information demanded;

(ii) There is no objection from the originating component to the disclosure of the information demanded; and

(iii) Counsel has sought to limit the demand for information to that which would be consistent with the factors specified in §103.23 of this part.

(2) In the case of an objection by the originating component, the Chief Counsel shall make the disclosure determination.

(h) Disclosure of commercial information. In the case of a demand for commercial information or commercial documents concerning importations or exportations, the Chief Counsel shall obtain the authorization of the Assistant Commissioner (Field Operations) or his/her designee prior to the Chief Counsel authorizing the production/disclosure of such documents/information.

[61 FR 19838, May 3, 1996, as amended at 78 FR 70856, Nov. 27, 2013]

§103.23   Factors in determining whether to disclose information pursuant to a demand.

(a) General considerations. In authorizing disclosures pursuant to a proper demand for CBP information, one which complies with the provisions of §103.22(c), the Chief Counsel should consider the following factors:

(1) Whether the disclosure would be appropriate under the relevant substantive law concerning privilege;

(2) Whether the disclosure would be appropriate under the rules of procedure governing the case or matter in which the demand arose; and,

(3) Whether the requesting party has demonstrated that the information requested is:

(i) Relevant and material to the action pending, based on copies of the summons and complaint that are required to be attached to the subpoena duces tecum or other demand;

(ii) Genuinely necessary to the proceeding, i.e., a showing of substantial need has been made;

(iii) Unavailable from other sources; and,

(iv) Reasonable in its scope, i.e., the documents, information, or testimony sought are described with particularity.

(4) Whether consultation with the originating component requires that the Chief Counsel make a separate determination as to the disclosure of the information requested.

(b) Circumstances where disclosure will not be made. Among the demands in response to which disclosure will not be authorized by the Chief Counsel are those demands with respect to which any of the following factors exist:

(1) Disclosure would violate a treaty, statute (such as the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a, the Trade Secrets Act, 18 U.S.C. 1905, or the income tax laws, 26 U.S.C. 6103 and 7213), or a rule of procedure, such as the grand jury secrecy rule, Fed.R.Crim.Proc. rule 6(e) (18 U.S.C.App.);

(2) Disclosure would violate a specific regulation;

(3) Disclosure would reveal classified or confidential information;

(4) Disclosure would reveal a confidential source or informant;

(5) Disclosure would reveal investigatory records compiled for law enforcement purposes, interfere with enforcement proceedings, or disclose investigative techniques and procedures;

(6) Disclosure would improperly reveal confidential commercial information without the owner's consent (e.g., entry information);

(7) Disclosure relates to documents which were produced by another agency or entity;

(8) Disclosure would unduly interfere with the orderly conduct of CBP business;

(9) CBP has no interest, records, or other official information regarding the matter in which disclosure is sought;

(10) There is a failure to make proper service upon the United States; or

(11) There is a failure to comply with federal, state, or local rules of discovery.

[61 FR 19838, May 3, 1996, as amended at 78 FR 70856, Nov. 27, 2013]

§103.24   Procedure in the event a decision concerning a demand is not made prior to the time a response to the demand is required.

If response to a demand is required before the instructions from the Chief Counsel are received, the U.S. Attorney, his/her assistant, or other appropriate legal representative shall be requested to appear with the CBP employee upon whom the demand has been made. The U.S. Attorney, his/her assistant, or other appropriate legal representative shall furnish the court or other authority with a copy of the regulations contained in this subpart, inform the court or other authority that the demand has been or is being, as the case may be, referred for the prompt consideration of the Chief Counsel, and shall respectfully request the court or authority to stay the demand pending receipt of the requested instructions.

[61 FR 19838, May 3, 1996, as amended at 78 FR 70856, Nov. 27, 2013]

§103.25   Procedure in the event of an adverse ruling.

If the court or other authority declines to stay the demand in response to a request made in accordance with §103.24 pending receipt of instructions, or rules that the demand must be complied with irrespective of instructions rendered in accordance with §§103.22, 103.23, 103.26, or 103.27 of this subpart not to produce the documents or disclose the information sought, the CBP employee upon whom the demand has been made shall, pursuant to this subpart, respectfully decline to comply with the demand. See, United States ex rel. Touhy v. Ragen, 340 U.S. 462 (1951).

[61 FR 19838, May 3, 1996, as amended at 78 FR 70856, Nov. 27, 2013]

§103.26   Procedure in the event of a demand for CBP information in a state or local criminal proceeding.

Center directors, port directors, special agents in charge within the Office of Internal Affairs, chief patrol agents, directors within the Office of Air and Marine, directors of field laboratories, or any supervisor of such officials may, in the interest of federal, state, and local law enforcement, upon receipt of demands of state or local authorities, and at the expense of the State, authorize employees under their supervision to attend trials and administrative hearings on behalf of the government in any state or local criminal case, to produce records, and to testify as to facts coming to their knowledge in their official capacities. However, in cases where a defendant in a state or local criminal case demands testimony or the production of CBP documents or information, authorization from the Chief Counsel is required as under §103.22 of this subpart. No disclosure of information under this section shall be made if any of the factors listed in §103.23(b) of this subpart are present.

[61 FR 19838, May 3, 1996, as amended at 78 FR 70856, Nov. 27, 2013; CBP Dec. 16-26, 81 FR 93017, Dec. 20, 2016]

§103.27   Procedure in the event of a demand for CBP information in a foreign proceeding.

(a) Required prior approval for disclosure. In any foreign proceeding in which CBP is not a party, no CBP employee shall, in response to a demand, furnish CBP documents or testimony as to any material contained in CBP files, any information relating to or based upon material contained in CBP files, or any information or material acquired as part of the performance of that person's official duties (or because of that person's official status) without the prior approval of the Chief Counsel, as described in paragraph (b) of this section.

(b) Employee notification to Counsel. Whenever a demand in a foreign proceeding is made upon a CBP employee concerning pre-clearance activities within the territory of the foreign country, that employee shall immediately notify the appropriate Associate Chief Counsel responsible for the pre-clearance location. All other demands in a foreign proceeding shall be reported by CBP employees to the Chief Counsel. The CBP employee shall then await instructions from the Chief Counsel concerning the response to the demand.

(c) Counsel notification to originating component. Upon receipt of a proper demand for CBP information, one which complies with the provisions of §103.22(c), if the Chief Counsel believes that it will comply with any part of the demand, it will immediately advise the originating component.

(d) Conditions for authorization of disclosure. The Chief Counsel, subject to the terms of paragraph (e) of this section, may authorize the disclosure of CBP documents or the appearance and testimony of a CBP employee if:

(1) Production of the demanded documents or testimony, in the judgment of the Chief Counsel, are appropriate under the factors specified in §103.23(a) of this subpart; and

(2) None of the factors specified in §103.23(b) of this subpart exist with respect to the demanded documents or testimony.

(e) Limitations on the scope of authorized disclosure. (1) The Chief Counsel shall authorize the disclosure of CBP information by a CBP employee without further authorization from CBP officials whenever possible, provided that:

(i) If necessary, Counsel has consulted with the originating component regarding disclosure of the information demanded;

(ii) There is no objection from the originating component to the disclosure of the information demanded; and

(iii) Counsel has sought to limit the demand for information to that which would be consistent with the factors specified in §103.23 of this part.

(2) In the case of an objection by the originating component, the Chief Counsel shall make the disclosure determination.

[61 FR 19838, May 3, 1996, as amended at 78 FR 70856, Nov. 27, 2013]

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