22 CFR 1101.7 - Disclosure of records to individuals who are subjects of those records.
(a) Each request received shall be acted upon promptly by the PA Officer. Every effort will be made to respond within ten (10) days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays) of the date of receipt. If a response cannot be made within ten (10) days due to unusual circumstances, the PA Officer shall send an acknowledgment during that period providing information on the status of the request and asking for such further information as may be necessary to process the request. Every effort will be made to provide the requested records within thirty (30) days. “Unusual circumstances” shall include circumstances where a search for and collection of requested records from inactive storage, field facilities or other establishments are required, cases where a voluminous amount of data is involved, instances where information on other individuals must be separated or expunged from the particular record, and cases where consultations with other agencies having a substantial interest in the determination of the request are necessary.
(b) Grant of access:
(i) An individual shall be granted access to a record pertaining to him or her except where the record is subject to an exemption under the Act and these rules.
(ii) The PA Officer shall notify the individual of such determination and provide the following information:
(A) The methods of access, as set forth in paragraph (b)(2) of this section;
(B) The place at which the records may be inspected;
(C) The earliest date on which the record may be inspected and the period of time that the records will remain available for inspection. In no event shall the earliest date be later than thirty (30) days from the date of notification;
(D) The estimated date by which a copy of the record could be mailed and the estimate of fees pursuant to § 1101.11. In no event shall be estimated date be later than thirty (30) days from the date of notification;
(E) The fact that the individual, if he or she wishes, may be accompanied by another individual during the personal access, subject to the procedures set forth in paragraph (f) of this section; and
(F) Any additional requirements needed to grant access to a specific record.
(2) Method of access: The following methods of access to records by an individual may be available depending on the circumstances of a given situation:
(i) Inspection in person may be made in the office specified by the PA Officer, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (excluding holidays);
(ii) Transfer of records to a Federal facility more convenient to the individual may be arranged, but only if the PA Officer determines that a suitable facility is available, that the individual's access can be properly supervised at that facility, and that transmittal of the records to that facility will not unduly interfere with operations of the section or involve unreasonable costs, in terms of both money and manpower; and
(iii) Copies may be mailed at the request of the individual, subject to payment of the fees prescribed in § 1101.11. The Section, at its own initiative, may elect to provide a copy by mail, in which case no fee will be charged to the individual.
(c) Access to medical records: Upon advice by a physician that release of medical information directly to the requester could have an adverse effect on the requester, the Section may attempt to arrange an acceptable alternative. This will normally involve release of such information to a physician named by the requester, with the requester's written consent. (Note that release to any third party, including a physician or family member, must comply with the provisions of § 1101.8 of this part.)
(d) The Section shall supply such other information and assistance at the time of access to make the record intelligible to the individual.
(e) The Section reserves the right to limit access to copies and abstracts of original records, rather than the original records. This election would be appropriate, for example, when the record is in an automated data media such as tape of disc, when the record contains information on other individuals, and when deletion of information is permissible under exemptions (for example 5, U.S.C. 552(k)(1)). In no event shall original records of the Section be made available to the individual except under the immediate supervision of the PA Officer or his designee. Title 18 U.S.C. 2701(a) makes it a crime to conceal, mutilate, obliterate, or destroy a record filed in a public office, or to attempt to do any of the foregoing.
(f) Any individual who requests access to a record pertaining to that individual may be accompanied by another individual of his or her choice. “Accompanied” includes discussion of the record in the presence of the other individual. The individual to whom the record pertains shall authorize the presence of the other individual in writing and shall include the name of the other individual, a specific description of the record to which access is sought, and the date and the signature of the individual to whom the record pertains. The other individual shall sign the authorization in the presence of the PA Officer or his designee. An individual shall not be required to state a reason or otherwise justify his or her decision to be accompanied by another individual during the personal access to a record.
(g) Initial denial of access:
(1) Grounds. Access by an individual to a record which pertains to that individual will be denied only upon a determination by the PA Officer that:
(i) The record is subject to an exemption under the Act and these rules;
(ii) The record is information compiled in reasonable anticipation of a civil action or proceeding;
(iii) The provisions of § 1101.7(c) pertaining to medical records have been temporarily invoked; or
(iv) The individual unreasonably has failed to comply with the procedural requirements of these rules.
(2) Notification. The PA Officer shall give notice of denial of access of records to the individual in writing and shall include the following information:
(i) The PA Officer's name and title or position;
(ii) The date of denial;
(iii) The reasons for the denial, including citation to the appropriate section of the Act and these rules;
(iv) The individual's opportunities for further administrative consideration, including the identity and address of the responsible official;
(v) If stated to be administratively final within the Section, the individual's right to judicial review under 5 U.S.C. 552a(g) (1) and (5).
(3) Administrative review: When an initial denial of a request is issued by the PA Officer, the individual's opportunities for further consideration shall be as follows:
(i) As to denial under paragraph (g)(1)(i) of this section, the sole procedure is a petition for the issuance, amendment, or repeal of a rule under 5 U.S.C. 553(e). Such petition shall be filed with the Commissioner, United States Section, International Boundary and Water Commission, 4171 North Mesa, Suite C-310, El Paso, TX 79902-1422. If the exception was determined by another agency, the PA Officer will provide the individual with the name and address of the other agency and any relief sought by the individual shall be that provided by the regulations of the other agency. Within the Section, no such denial is administratively final until such a petition has been filed by the individual and disposed of on the merits by the Commissioner.
(ii) As to denial under paragraphs (g)(1), (ii), (iii) or (iv) of this section, the individual may file for review with the Commissioner, as indicated in the PA Officer's initital denial notification.
(h) If a request is partially granted and partially denied, the PA Officer shall follow the appropriate procedures of this section as to the records within the grant and the records within the denial.