Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

INTERIM GUIDANCE 1605-3
October 2, 2006

SUBJECT: Handling of Publicly Available Records Withdrawn for Classification Purposes

TO: Office Heads, Staff Directors, ISOO, NHPRC, OIG

1. What is the purpose of this directive?
This directive establishes the internal procedures for NARA staff to follow when they identify previously classified publicly available archival records that may have been designated unclassified without proper authority, in accordance with the ISOO Interim Guidelines Governing Re-review of Previously Declassified Records at the National Archives. When information is identified in NARA's holdings by an agency, the ISOO Interim Guidelines should be followed. NARA's primary concern is to ensure that archival records are both available to researchers and properly preserved, while at the same time addressing legitimate national security concerns.

2. What are the authorities for this directive?

    a. Executive Order 12958, as amended

    b. ISOO Directive 2001.13 (32 CFR § 2001.13).

    c. ISOO "Interim Guidelines Governing Re-review of Previously Declassified Records at the National Archives", to be promulgated as a change to "Classified National Security Information Directive No. 1" (32 CFR Part 2001) available at http://www.archives.gov/isoo/reports/2006-audit-report-attach-2.pdf.

    d. 44 U.S.C. chapters 21, 22, 29, 31, 33

    e. 50 U.S.C. § 2672 (Kyl Amendment); 50 U.S.C. § 2673 (Lott Amendment).

3. NARA designated officials
For purposes of section 2001.13(e)(1) of the ISOO Interim Guidelines, the designated officials at NARA are as follows:

    a. Assistant Archivist for Records Services, Washington, DC (NW) - for Federal archival records in the Washington, DC, area;

    b. Assistant Archivist for Presidential libraries (NL) - for archival records at Presidential libraries and for Presidential archival records in the Washington, DC, area;

    c. Assistant Archivist for Regional Records Services (NR) - for archival records at the regional archives.

4. Responsibilities

    a. NARA employee: notifies his or her information security program manager (ISPM) and/or unit head immediately, following the identification of publicly available archival records that may have been designated unclassified without proper authority.

    b. Unit head - notifies the ISPM, if necessary, and the office head or designee.

    c. ISPM - notifies the Information Security Officer (ISO) in the Security Management Branch (NASS).

    d. Office head (or designee) notifies:

        (1) the Archivist of the United States;

        (2) the agency or agencies that have classification equities in the records, and

        (3) the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO).

5. Notification process

    a. Verbal notification is permissible initially, but must be followed up in writing as soon as possible. Where written notification is not possible, a memo to the file must be prepared.

    b. For further information on reporting requirements, see Information Security 202, Chapter 9, Security Incidents and Reporting.

6. Withdrawal of records

    a. The custodial office with custody of the records, in consultation with NASS, as appropriate, determines whether the records should be temporarily restricted from public access pending further action.

    b. If NARA has temporarily restricted the records from public access, the notification to the agency by the office head must inform the agency that it has 30 days to review the records and submit a written response to NARA, requesting that NARA, pending completion of the classification review, either:

        (1) continue to restrict access in accordance with the procedures of ISOO Interim Guidelines, Section 2001.13(e); or

        (2) formally withdraw the records in accordance with ISOO Interim Guidelines, Section 2001.13(f).

    c. If the agency does not take action as indicated in subparagraph b within the 30-day period, NARA may extend the time period or elect to no longer restrict the records from public access.

    d. When a determination is made, the custodial office ISPM must notify the ISO of the final disposition of withdrawals.

7. Researcher access requests for records that have been temporarily restricted
When a request is made for textual or digital records that have been temporarily restricted in accordance with this directive or ISOO Interim Guidelines, Section 2001.13(e), NARA must:

    a. expedite the review of the records, in accordance with section 2001.13(e)(5) of the ISOO Interim Guidelines, and

    b. inform the requestor that the records are temporarily restricted either by a withdrawal card or sheet or a statement in digital format that reads as follows:

"Records temporarily restricted in accordance with the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) Interim Guidelines on Classified National Security Information Directive No. 1 (32 CFR Part 2001), Section 2001.13(e) Concerning Re-review of Previously Declassified Records at the National Archives."

8. Formal withdrawal of records
When NARA withdraws records in accordance with available ISOO guidance, NARA will describe on the withdrawal card or digital equivalent the records withdrawn according to customary procedures when restricting national security information, including the date on which the records are withdrawn. See NARA 1601, Screening Federal Records for Information Covered by FOIA Exemptions, for additional guidance on withdrawal procedures.

9. Public reports of formally withdrawn records

    a. At the end of each fiscal quarter, Offices will prepare reports of formally withdrawn records for that quarter and submit them to NPOL. Offices should report to NPOL even when no records have been formally withdrawn during the quarter. Each report will contain the following information:

        (1) the number of records, and the number of textual pages, that have been formally withdrawn in accordance with ISOO Interim Guidelines, Section 2001.13(f);

        (2) the agencies responsible for the withdrawals, to the extent allowable; and

        (3) the NARA facilities where the withdrawals took place.

    b. Following receipt of the quarterly reports under subsection (a), the Policy and Planning Staff (NPOL) will compile an agency-wide report, based on the office reports and in coordination with the archival offices where such withdrawals occurred, that identifies:

        (1) the number of records, and the number of textual pages, that have been formally withdrawn in accordance with ISOO Directive No. 1, Section 2001.13(f);

        (2) the agencies responsible for the withdrawals, to the extent allowable; and

        (3) the NARA facilities where the withdrawals took place.

    c. NARA will publish the agency-wide report on its public web site, at www.archives.gov/declassification, on a quarterly basis, including if no withdrawals have occurred during the quarter.

10. How are records created by this directive maintained under the NARA records schedule?
The following program offices must maintain records relating to their activities under this interim guidance.

    a. NPOL files the quarterly report identified in par. 7b under file number 229-1, NARA-generated reports and information collections.

    b. NW

        (1) Notifications created in compliance with this interim guidance form the basis of a declassification project file that is maintained by the Initial Processing/Declassification Division (NWMD) on behalf of NW and filed under filing code 1428-1.

        (2) NW maintains the official copy of the office's quarterly report to NPOL specified by the interim guidance and files it under file code 1432.

        (3) NWMD maintains the supporting documentation for the report under file code 1432.

    c. NL

        (1) Notifications created in compliance with this interim guidance form the basis of a declassification project file that is maintained by the Presidential Materials Staff (NLMS) on behalf of NL and filed under filing code 1428-1.

        (2) NL maintains the official copy of the office's quarterly report to NPOL specified by the interim guidance and files it under file code 1432.

        (3) NLMS maintains the supporting documentation for the report under file code 1432.

    d. NR

        (1) Notifications created in compliance with this interim guidance form the basis of a declassification project file that is maintained by NR and filed under filing code 1428-1.

        (2) NR maintains the official copy of the office's quarterly report to NPOL specified by the interim guidance and the supporting documentation for the report under file code 1432.

    e. NASS

        (1) Notifications created in compliance with this interim guidance form the basis of a Report of Inquiry (ROI) submitted by the ISPM that is maintained by NASS under filing code 314.

        (2) Notification of the final disposition of withdrawals, as determined under paragraph 6 of this interim guidance, is maintained as part of the ROI under filing code 314.

11. Are any directives canceled by this guidance?
Interim Guidance 1605-1, Response to Withdrawal of Declassified Records from Open Shelves, dated March 8, 2006, is canceled by this guidance.

12. Whom can I contact for more information?
For questions regarding this interim guidance, contact Gary M. Stern (NGC) in room 3110 at AII at 301-837-3026, or e-mail at garym.stern@nara.gov.


ALLEN WEINSTEIN
Archivist of the United States

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