41 CFR § 105-62.202 - Review of classified materials for declassification purposes.

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§ 105-62.202 Review of classified materials for declassification purposes.

(a) Systematic review for declassification. Except for foreign government information, classified information constituting permanently valuable records of GSA as defined by 44 U.S.C. 2103, and information in the possession and under control of NARA, under 44 U.S.C. 2107 or 2107 note, shall be reviewed for declassification as it becomes 20 years old. Transition to systematic review at 20 years shall be implemented as rapidly as practicable and shall be completed by December 1, 1988. Foreign government information shall be reviewed for declassification as it becomes 30 years old.

(b) Mandatory review for declassification. All classified information upon request by a member of the public or a Government employee or agency to declassify and release such information under the provisions of Executive Order 12065 shall be reviewed by the responsible GSA element for possible declassification in accordance with the procedures set forth in paragraphs (c) through (g) of this section.

(c) Submission of requests for review. Requests for mandatory review of classified information shall be submitted in accordance with the following:

(1) Requests originating within GSA shall in all cases be submitted directly to the service or staff office that originated the information.

(2) For expeditious action, requests from other governmental agencies or from members of the public should be submitted directly to the service or staff office that originated the material, or, if the originating element is not known, or no longer exists, the requester shall submit the request to the GSA Security Officer who shall cause such request to be reviewed.

(d) Requirements for processing. Requests for declassification review and release of information shall be processed in accordance with the provisions set forth in paragraphs (e) through (h) of this section subject to the following conditions:

(1) The request is in writing and reasonably describes the information sought with sufficient particularity to enable the element to identify it.

(2) The requester shall be asked to correct a request that does not comply with paragraph (d)(1) of this section, to provide additional information.

(3) If within 30 days the requester does not correct the request, describe the information sought with sufficient particularity or narrow the scope of the request, the element that received the request shall notify the requester and state the reason why no action will be taken on the request.

(e) Processing of requests. Requests that meet the foregoing requirements for processing will be acted upon as follows:

(1) GSA action upon the initial request shall be completed within 60 days.

(2) Receipt of the request shall be acknowledged within 7 days.

(3) The designated service or staff office shall determine if the requested information may be declassified and shall make such information available to the requester, unless withholding it is otherwise warranted under applicable law. If the information may not be released in whole or in part, the requester shall be given a brief statement as to the reasons for denial, a notice of the right to appeal the determination to the Deputy Administrator (the notice shall include the Deputy Administrator's name, title, and address), and a notice that such an appeal must be filed with the Deputy Administrator within 60 days in order to be considered.

(f) Foreign government information. Except as provided hereinafter, requests for mandatory review for the declassification of classified documents that contain foreign government information shall be processed and acted upon in accordance with the provisions of paragraphs (c) through (e) of this section. If the request involves information that was initially received or classified by GSA, then the corresponding service or staff office shall be designated by the GSA Security Officer to determine whether the foreign government information in the document may be declassified and released in accordance with GSA policy or guidelines, after consulting with other agencies that have subject matter interest as necessary. If GSA is not the agency that received or classified the foreign government information, it shall refer the request to the appropriate agency. In those cases where agency policy or guidelines do not apply, consultation with the foreign originator, through the GSA Security Officer, may be made prior to final action on the request.

(g) Information classified outside the service or staff office. When a service or staff office receives a request for declassification of information in a document which is in the custody of the service or staff office but was classified by another service or staff office or by another Government agency, the service or staff office shall refer the request to the classifying service or staff office or Government agency, together with a copy of the document containing the information requested when practicable, and shall notify the requester of the referral, unless the agency that classified the information objects on the grounds that its association with the information requires protection. When a GSA service or staff office receives such a referral, it shall process the request in accordance with the requirements of this paragraph and, if so requested, shall notify the referring service, staff office, or agency of the determination made on the request.

(h) Action on appeal. The following procedures shall be followed when denials of requests for declassification are appealed:

(1) The Deputy Administrator shall, within 15 days of the date of the appeal, convene a meeting of the GSA Information Security Oversight Committee (ISOC) that shall include the GSA Security Officer, or his or her representative, and the GSA official who denied the original request (and, at the option of that official, any subordinates or personnel from other agencies that participated in the decision for denial).

(2) The ISOC shall learn from the official the reasons for denying the request, concentrating in particular upon which requirement continued classification is based and the identifiable damage that would result if the information were declassified. The ISOC shall also learn from the official the part or parts of the information that is classified and if by deleting minor segments of the information it might not then be declassified.

(3) The ISOC's decision to uphold or deny the appeal, in whole or in part, shall be based upon the unanimous opinion of its membership. In the event that unanimity cannot be attained, the matter shall be referred to the Administrator, whose decision shall be final.

(4) Based upon the outcome of the appeal, a reply shall be made to the person making the appeal that either encloses the requested information or part of the information, or explains why the continued classification of the information is required. A copy of the reply shall be sent to the GSA official who originally denied the request for declassification, to the GSA Security Officer, and to any other agency expressing an interest in the decision.

(5) Final action on appeals shall be completed within 30 days of the date of the appeal.

(i) Prohibition. No service of staff office in possession of a classified document may refuse to confirm the existence of the document in response to a request for the document under the provisions for mandatory review, unless the fact of its existence would itself be classifiable.

(j) Presidential papers. Information less than 10 years old which was originated by the President, by the White House staff, or by committees or commissions appointed by the President, or by others acting on behalf of the President, is exempted from mandatory review for declassification. Such information 10 years old or older is subject to mandatory review for declassification in accordance with procedures developed by the Archivist of the United States which provide for consultation with GSA on matters of primary subject interest to this agency.