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e-CFR data is current as of July 1, 2020


28 CFR--PART 16

View Printed Federal Register page 85 FR 37750 in PDF format.

Amendment(s) published June 24, 2020, in 85 FR 37750

Effective Dates: July 24, 2020

2. Amend§16.96 by:

a. Revising paragraphs (g) and (h) and

b. Removing paragraph (i).

The revisions read as follows:

§16.96   Exemption of Federal Bureau of Investigation Systems-limited access.

*   *   *   *   *

(g) The following system of records is exempt from 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3) and (4), (d), (e)(l), (e)(2), (e)(3), (e)(4)(G), (H), and (I), (e)(5), (e)(8), (f), and (g):

(1) National Crime Information Center (NCIC) (JUSTICE/FBI-001).

(2) These exemptions apply only to the extent that information in the system is subject to exemption pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552aG) and (k). Where the FBI determines compliance with an exempted provision would not appear to interfere with or adversely affect interests of the United States or other system stakeholders, the FBI in its sole discretion may waive an exemption, in whole or in part; exercise of this discretionary waiver prerogative in a particular matter shall not create any entitlement to or expectation of waiver in that matter or any other matter. As a condition of discretionary waiver, the FBI in its sole discretion may impose any restrictions deemed advisable by the FBI (including, but not limited to, restrictions on the location, manner, or scope of notice, access or amendment).

(h) Exemptions from the particular subsections are justified for the following reasons:

(1) From subsection (c)(3) the requirement that an accounting be made available to the named subject of a record, because this system is exempt from the access provisions of subsection (d). Also, because making available to a record subject the accounting of disclosures from records concerning him/her would specifically reveal law enforcement or national security investigative interest in the individual by the FBI or agencies that are recipients of the disclosures. Revealing this information could compromise ongoing, authorized law enforcement and intelligence efforts, particularly efforts to identify and defuse any potential acts of terrorism or other potential violations of criminal law. Revealing this information could also permit the record subject to obtain valuable insight concerning the information obtained during any investigation and to take measures to circumvent the investigation (e.g., destroy evidence or flee the area to avoid investigation).

(2) From subsection (c)(4) notification requirements because this system is exempt from the access and amendment provisions of subsection (d) as well as the accounting disclosures provision of subsection (c)(3). The FBI takes seriously its obligation to maintain accurate records despite its assertion of this exemption, and to the extent it, in its sole discretion, agrees to permit amendment or correction of FBI records, it will share that information in appropriate cases.

(3) From subsection (d), (e)(4)(G) and (H), (e)(8), (f), and (g) because these provisions concern individual access to and amendment of law enforcement and intelligence records and compliance could alert the subject of an authorized law enforcement or intelligence activity about that particular activity and the investigative interest of the FBI and/or other law enforcement or intelligence agencies. Providing access could compromise sensitive law enforcement information; disclose information that could constitute an unwarranted invasion of another's personal privacy; reveal a sensitive investigative or intelligence technique; provide information that would allow a subject to avoid detection or apprehension; or constitute a potential danger to the health or safety of law enforcement personnel, confidential sources, and witnesses. The FBI takes seriously its obligation to maintain accurate records despite its assertion of this exemption, and to the extent it, in its sole discretion, agrees to permit amendment or correction of FBI records, it will share that information in appropriate cases with subjects of the information.

(4) From subsection (e)(l) because it is not always possible to know in advance what information is relevant and necessary for law enforcement and intelligence purposes. Relevance and necessity are questions of judgment and timing. For example, what appears rekvant and necessary when collected ultimately may be deemed unnecessary. It is only after information is assessed that its relevancy and necessity in a specific investigative activity can be established.

(5) From subsections (e)(2) and (3) because it is not feasible to comply with these provisions given the nature of this system. The majority of the records in this system come from other federal, state, local, joint, foreign, tribal, and international agencies; therefore, it is not feasible for the FBI to collect information directly from the individual or to provide notice. Additionally, the application of this provision could present a serious impediment to the FBI's responsibilities to detect, deter, and prosecute crimes and to protect the national security. Application of these provisions would put the subject of an investigation on notice of that fact and allow the subject an opportunity to engage in conduct intended to impede that activity or avoid apprehension.

(6) From subsection (e)(4)(I), to the extent that this subsection is interpreted to require more detail regarding the record sources in this system than has already been published in the Federal Register through the SORN documentation. Should the subsection be so interpreted, exemption from this provision is necessary to protect the sources of law enforcement and intelligence information and to protect the privacy and safety of witnesses and informants and others who provide information to the FBI.

(7) From subsection (e)(S) because in the collection of information for authorized law enforcement and intelligence purposes it is impossible to determine in advance what information is accurate, relevant, timely, and complete. With time, additional facts, or analysis, information may acquire new significance. The restrictions imposed by subsection (e)(S) would limit the ability of trained investigators and intelligence analysts to exercise their judgment in reporting on investigations and impede the development of criminal intelligence necessary for effective law enforcement. Although the FBI has claimed this exemption, it continuously works with its federal, state, local, tribal, and international partners to maintain the accuracy of records to the greatest extent practicable. The FBI does so with established policies and practices. The criminal justice and national security communities have a strong operational interest in using up-to-date and accurate records and will foster relationships with partners to further this interest.

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