(a) In general. Except as otherwise provided in this section, and notwithstanding the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552), the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a), and other laws, records containing SSI are not available for public inspection or copying, nor does DOT release such records to persons without a need to know.
(b) Disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act. If a record contains both SSI and information that is not SSI, DOT, on a proper Freedom of Information Act or Privacy Act request, may disclose the record with the SSI redacted, provided the record is not otherwise exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act or Privacy Act.
(c) Disclosures to committees of Congress and the General Accounting Office. Nothing in this part precludes DOT from disclosing SSI to a committee of Congress authorized to have the information or to the Comptroller General, or to any authorized representative of the Comptroller General.
(d) Disclosure in enforcement proceedings -
(1) In general. The Secretary of DOT may provide SSI to a person in the context of an administrative enforcement proceeding when, in the sole discretion of the Secretary, access to the SSI is necessary for the person to prepare a response to allegations contained in a legal enforcement action document issued by DOT.
(2) Security background check. Prior to providing SSI to a person under paragraph (d)(1) of this section, the Secretary of DOT may require the individual or, in the case of an entity, the individuals representing the entity, and their counsel, to undergo and satisfy, in the judgment of the Secretary of DOT, a security background check.
(e) Other conditional disclosure. The Secretary of DOT may authorize a conditional disclosure of specific records or information that constitute SSI upon the written determination by the Secretary that disclosure of such records or information, subject to such limitations and restrictions as the Secretary may prescribe, would not be detrimental to transportation safety.
(f) Obligation to protect information. When an individual receives SSI pursuant to paragraph (d) or (e) of this section that individual becomes a covered person under § 15.7 and is subject to the obligations of a covered person under this part.
(g) No release under FOIA. When DOT discloses SSI pursuant to paragraphs (b) through (e) of this section, DOT makes the disclosure for the sole purpose described in that paragraph. Such disclosure is not a public release of information under the Freedom of Information Act.
(h) Disclosure of Critical Infrastructure Information. Disclosure of information that is both SSI and has been designated as critical infrastructure information under section 214 of the Homeland Security Act is governed solely by the requirements of section 214 and any implementing regulations.