18 U.S. Code § 3511 - Judicial review of requests for information

§ 3511.
Judicial review of requests for information
(a)
The recipient of a request for records, a report, or other information under section 2709(b) of this title, section 626(a) or (b) or 627(a) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, section 1114(a)(5)(A) of the Right to Financial Privacy Act, or section 802(a) of the National Security Act of 1947 may, in the United States district court for the district in which that person or entity does business or resides, petition for an order modifying or setting aside the request. The court may modify or set aside the request if compliance would be unreasonable, oppressive, or otherwise unlawful.
(b) Nondisclosure.—
(1) In general.—
(A)Notice.—
If a recipient of a request or order for a report, records, or other information under section 2709 of this title, section 626 or 627 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681u and 1681v), section 1114 of the Right to Financial Privacy Act of 1978 (12 U.S.C. 3414), or section 802 of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 3162), wishes to have a court review a nondisclosure requirement imposed in connection with the request or order, the recipient may notify the Government or file a petition for judicial review in any court described in subsection (a).
(B)Application.—
Not later than 30 days after the date of receipt of a notification under subparagraph (A), the Government shall apply for an order prohibiting the disclosure of the existence or contents of the relevant request or order. An application under this subparagraph may be filed in the district court of the United States for the judicial district in which the recipient of the order is doing business or in the district court of the United States for any judicial district within which the authorized investigation that is the basis for the request is being conducted. The applicable nondisclosure requirement shall remain in effect during the pendency of proceedings relating to the requirement.
(C)Consideration.—
A district court of the United States that receives a petition under subparagraph (A) or an application under subparagraph (B) should rule expeditiously, and shall, subject to paragraph (3), issue a nondisclosure order that includes conditions appropriate to the circumstances.
(2)Application contents.—An application for a nondisclosure order or extension thereof or a response to a petition filed under paragraph (1) shall include a certification from the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General, an Assistant Attorney General, or the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or a designee in a position not lower than Deputy Assistant Director at Bureau headquarters or a Special Agent in Charge in a Bureau field office designated by the Director, or in the case of a request by a department, agency, or instrumentality of the Federal Government other than the Department of Justice, the head or deputy head of the department, agency, or instrumentality, containing a statement of specific facts indicating that the absence of a prohibition of disclosure under this subsection may result in—
(A)
a danger to the national security of the United States;
(B)
interference with a criminal, counterterrorism, or counterintelligence investigation;
(C)
interference with diplomatic relations; or
(D)
danger to the life or physical safety of any person.
(3)Standard.—A district court of the United States shall issue a nondisclosure order or extension thereof under this subsection if the court determines that there is reason to believe that disclosure of the information subject to the nondisclosure requirement during the applicable time period may result in—
(A)
a danger to the national security of the United States;
(B)
interference with a criminal, counterterrorism, or counterintelligence investigation;
(C)
interference with diplomatic relations; or
(D)
danger to the life or physical safety of any person.
(c)
In the case of a failure to comply with a request for records, a report, or other information made to any person or entity under section 2709(b) of this title, section 626(a) or (b) or 627(a) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, section 1114(a)(5)(A) of the Right to Financial Privacy Act, or section 802(a) of the National Security Act of 1947, the Attorney General may invoke the aid of any district court of the United States within the jurisdiction in which the investigation is carried on or the person or entity resides, carries on business, or may be found, to compel compliance with the request. The court may issue an order requiring the person or entity to comply with the request. Any failure to obey the order of the court may be punished by the court as contempt thereof. Any process under this section may be served in any judicial district in which the person or entity may be found.
(d)
In all proceedings under this section, subject to any right to an open hearing in a contempt proceeding, the court must close any hearing to the extent necessary to prevent an unauthorized disclosure of a request for records, a report, or other information made to any person or entity under section 2709(b) of this title, section 626(a) or (b) or 627(a) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, section 1114(a)(5)(A) of the Right to Financial Privacy Act, or section 802(a) of the National Security Act of 1947. Petitions, filings, records, orders, and subpoenas must also be kept under seal to the extent and as long as necessary to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of a request for records, a report, or other information made to any person or entity under section 2709(b) of this title, section 626(a) or (b) or 627(a) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, section 1114(a)(5)(A) of the Right to Financial Privacy Act, or section 802(a) of the National Security Act of 1947.
(e)
In all proceedings under this section, the court shall, upon request of the government, review ex parte and in camera any government submission or portions thereof, which may include classified information.
References in Text

Sections 626(a), (b) and 627(a) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, referred to in subsecs. (a), (c), and (d), are classified to sections 1681u(a), (b) and 1681v(a), respectively, of Title 15, Commerce and Trade.

Section 1114(a)(5)(A) of the Right to Financial Privacy Act, referred to in subsecs. (a), (c), and (d), probably means section 1114(a)(5)(A) of the Right to Financial Privacy Act of 1978, which is classified to section 3414(a)(5)(A) of Title 12, Banks and Banking.

Section 802(a) of the National Security Act of 1947, referred to in subsecs. (a), (c), and (d), is classified to section 3162(a) of Title 50, War and National Defense.

Amendments

2015—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 114–23 added subsec. (b) and struck out former subsec. (b) which related to petitions for court orders modifying or setting aside a nondisclosure requirement imposed in connection with a request for records, reports, or other information.

Reports on National Security Letters

Pub. L. 109–177, title I, § 118, Mar. 9, 2006, 120 Stat. 217, as amended by Pub. L. 114–23, title VI, § 602(c), June 2, 2015, 129 Stat. 294, provided that:

“(a)Existing Reports.—
Any report made to a committee of Congress regarding national security letters under section 2709(c)(1) of title 18, United States Code, section 626(d) or 627(c) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681u(d) or 1681v(c)), section 1114(a)(3) or 1114(a)(5)(D) of the Right to Financial Privacy Act [of 1978] (12 U.S.C. 3414(a)(3) or 3414(a)(5)(D)), or section 802(b) of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 436(b) [now 50 U.S.C. 3162(b)]) shall also be made to the Committees on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
“(b)Enhanced Oversight of Fair Credit Reporting Act Counterterrorism National Security Letter.—
[Amended section 1681v of Title 15, Commerce and Trade.]
“(c) Report on Requests for National Security Letters.—
“(1)In general.—In April of each year, the Attorney General shall submit to Congress an aggregate report setting forth with respect to the preceding year the total number of requests made by the Department of Justice for information concerning different persons under—
“(A)
section 2709 of title 18, United States Code (to access certain communication service provider records);
“(B)
section 1114 of the Right to Financial Privacy Act [of 1978] (12 U.S.C. 3414) (to obtain financial institution customer records);
“(C)
section 802 of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 436) [now 50 U.S.C. 3162] (to obtain financial information, records, and consumer reports);
“(D)
section 626 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681u) (to obtain certain financial information and consumer reports); and
“(E)
section 627 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681v) (to obtain credit agency consumer records for counterterrorism investigations).
“(2) Content.—
“(A)In general.—Except as provided in subparagraph (B), each report required under this subsection shall include a good faith estimate of the total number of requests described in paragraph (1) requiring disclosure of information concerning—
“(i)
United States persons; and
“(ii)
persons who are not United States persons.
“(B)Exception.—
With respect to the number of requests for subscriber information under section 2709 of title 18, United States Code, a report required under this subsection need not separate the number of requests into each of the categories described in subparagraph (A).
“(3)Unclassified form.—
The report under this section shall be submitted in unclassified form.
“(d)National Security Letter Defined.—In this section, the term ‘national security letter’ means a request for information under one of the following provisions of law:
“(1)
Section 2709(a) of title 18, United States Code (to access certain communication service provider records).
“(2)
Section 1114(a)(5)(A) of the Right to Financial Privacy Act [of 1978] (12 U.S.C. 3414(a)(5)(A)) (to obtain financial institution customer records).
“(3)
Section 802 of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 436) [now 50 U.S.C. 3162] (to obtain financial information, records, and consumer reports).
“(4)
Section 626 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681u) (to obtain certain financial information and consumer reports).
“(5)
Section 627 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681v) (to obtain credit agency consumer records for counterterrorism investigations).”

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