28 CFR 701.12 - Responses by the Office to requests.
(a) Authority to grant or deny requests. The head of the Office, or his designee, is authorized to grant or deny and request for a record of the Office.
(b) Initial action by the Office. When the Office receives a request for a record in its possession, the Office shall promptly determine whether another agency of the Government is better able to determine whether the record is exempt, to any extent, from mandatory disclosure under the FOIA; and whether the record, if exempt to any extent from mandatory disclosure under the FOIA, should nonetheless be released to the requester as a matter of discretion. If the Office determines that it is the agency best able to determine whether to disclose the record in response to the request, then the Office shall respond to the request. If the Office determines that it is not the agency best able to determine whether to disclose the record in response to the request, the Office shall either:
(1) Respond to the request, after consulting with the other agency best able to determine whether to disclose the record and with any other agency having a substantial interest in the requested record or the information contained therein; or
(2) Refer the responsibility for responding to the request to another agency that generated or originated the record, but only if that other agency is subject to the provisions of the FOIA.
(c) Law-enforcement information. Whenever a request is made for a record containing information that relates to an investigation of a possible violation of criminal law or to a criminal law-enforcement proceeding and that was generated or originated by another agency, the Office shall refer the responsibility for responding to the request to that other agency; however, such referral shall extend only to the information generated or originated by that other agency.
(d) Classified information. Whenever a request is made for a record containing information that has been classified, or that may be eligible for classification, by another agency under the provisions of Executive Order 12356 or any other Executive Order concerning the classification of records, the Office shall refer the responsibility for responding to the request to the agency that classified the information or should consider the information for classification. Whenever a record contains information that has been derivatively classified by the Office because it contains information classified by another agency, the Office shall refer the responsibility for responding to the request to the agency that classified the underlying information; however, such referral shall extend only to the information classified by the other agency.
(e) Notice of referral. Whenever the Office refers all or any part of the responsibility for responding to a request to another agency, the Office will consult with the other agency to obtain specific approval to notify the requester of the referral and inform the requester of the name and address of the agency to which the request has been referred and the portions of the request so referred.
(f) Agreements regarding consultations and referrals. No provision of this section shall preclude formal or informal agreements between the Office and another agency to eliminate the need for consultations or referrals of requests or classes of requests.
(g) Separate referrals of portions of a request. Portions of a request may be referred separately to one or more other agencies whenever necessary to process the request in accordance with the provisions of this section.
(h) Date for determining responsive records. In determining records responsive to a request, the Office ordinarily will include only those records within the Office's possession and control as of the date of its receipt of the request.