Enacted on July 4, 1966, 5 U.S.C. § 552, commonly referred to as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), established a statutory right of public access to Executive Branch information in the Federal Government. The FOIA provides that any person has a right, enforceable in court, to obtain access to federal agency records subject to the Act, except to the extent that portions of such records are protected from public disclosure by one of nine exemptions or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions.
Title 32 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 286 contains the rules and regulations that the public must follow when requesting records from DCSA under the FOIA. Additionally, the Directorate for Oversight and Compliance maintains a Department of Defense (DoD) FOIA Handbook for the public to use in obtaining information. This handbook contains information about specific procedures particular to the DoD with respect to the public requesting records. This handbook includes descriptions of DoD Components with the types of records they maintain.
The FOIA establishes nine exemptions from disclosure, which were created by Congress to permit agencies to protect certain information.
Exemption 1: Records that are properly and currently classified in the interest of national defense or foreign policy.
Exemption 2: Records related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of the agency or its internal Components.
Exemption 3: Records specifically exempted from disclosure by statute.
Exemption 4: Records containing trade secrets or commercial or financial information that DCSA receives from persons or organizations outside the Government with the understanding that the information and/or record will be retained on a privileged or confidential basis.
Exemption 5: Inter-agency or intra-agency communications that are deliberative in nature and are considered part of a decision making process.
Exemption 6: Personnel and medical files and/or records and similar files, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personnel privacy.
Exemption 7: Investigative files/records compiled for law enforcement purposes which:
(a) could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.
(b) would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication.
(c) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
(d) could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source.
(e) would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law.
(f) could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual.
Exemption 8: Records that are contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of any agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions.
Exemption 9: Geological and geophysical information and data, including maps, concerning wells.
Submitting a FOIA Request
The DCSA FOI/P program is comprised of three components, each with distinct responsibilities as described below. FOIA requests may be made by any person, to include corporations, directly to the component office below that is the custodian of records.
Requester’s contact information: Please include your name, mailing address, telephone number and/or e-mail address.
Description of the records: Requests must reasonably describe the records sought so that an employee familiar with the subject area can locate the records with a reasonable amount of effort. To the extent possible, requesters should include enough file-related information (type of document, title, subject area, date of creation, originating office) or enough event-related information (date and circumstances surrounding the event the record covers) to conduct a focused, time efficient search. Requests for records on deceased individuals must include a proof of death.
The FOIA does not require agencies to create new records or to conduct research, analyze data, or answer questions when responding to requests. Questions posed as FOIA requests will not be processed.
To assist with coordination, if your request pertains to records from more than one DCSA FOI/P Component, or if you intend to submit the same request to another DCSA FOI/P Component, please explain this when you submit your request.
FOIA Processing Fees: Certain FOIA requests may incur fees pursuant to 32 CFR § 286.12. Requesters will be notified and the processing of the request may be halted until an agreement is reached.
After Submission: FOIA requests are reviewed to ensure the requested records fall under the purview of DCSA, and can be located with a reasonable amount of effort. DCSA FOI/P personnel may contact requesters to obtain additional details or clarification.
Each FOIA request is assigned a tracking number and the submitter will be sent an acknowledgement letter confirming receipt. DCSA FOI/P personnel will obtain responsive records from the appropriate custodian, review them and make a release decision.
The majority of requests are processed within twenty (20) business days from the date the request is received and determined to be a proper FOIA request. When a record is denied in full, or in part, the response will identify the exemption(s) cited and include appeal procedures.
DCSA FOI/P Component Offices
FOIA and Privacy Office, Quantico, Virginia
The FOIA and Privacy Office is primarily responsible for responding to requests relating to DCSA affiliated human resources and/or hiring actions, DCSA Inspector General investigations, DCSA statements of work/contracts, and information related to Diversity and Equal Opportunity complaints (e.g. EEO).
Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency
ATTN: FOIA and Privacy Office
27130 Telegraph Road
Quantico, VA 22134
FOIA and Privacy Office for Investigations, Boyers, Pennsylvania
The FOIA and Privacy Office for Investigations is primarily responsible for responding to requests for information surrounding the investigative process for civilian and military applicants, Federal employees, or employees or government contractors for the purpose of determining suitability for government employment, fitness for appointment to an expected service position, acceptance or retention in the armed forces, eligibility to serve in a national security sensitive position, eligibility for access to classified information and/or eligibility for access to classified information controlled facility or information technology system.
For Investigations office records, please submit requests to:
Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency
ATTN: FOIA and Privacy Office for Investigations
1137 Branchton Road, P.O. Box 618
Boyers, PA 16018
FOIA requests to the FOI/P Office for Investigations may be submitted using the INV 100 Freedom of Information / Privacy Act Records Request for Background Investigations form.
FOIA and Privacy Office for Adjudications, Ft. Meade, Maryland
The FOIA and Privacy Office for Adjudications is primarily responsible for responding to requests for statistical data relating to security clearance determinations and requests for information surrounding the adjudicative process for DoD-affiliated civilian and military applicants, Federal employees, or employees or government contractors.
For Adjudications office records, please submit requests to:
Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency
ATTN: FOIA and Privacy Office for Adjudications
600 10th Street
Fort George Meade, MD 20755
FOIA requests to the FOI/P Office for Adjudications may be submitted using the DCSA 335 Freedom of Information / Privacy Act Records Request for Adjudication Records form.
Submitting a FOIA Appeal
Requesters have the right to appeal the DCSA FOI/P component office’s decision. Appeals must be received by DCSA within ninety (90) calendar days from the date of the final response letter. The appeal should include: (1) the reason(s) the requested information should be released, (2) an explanation why the agency response may have been in error, (3) a copy of the original request, (4) a copy of the final response letter, and (5) a reference to the tracking number provided in the final response letter.
Appeals may be submitted in writing to the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency, ATTN: Office of General Counsel, 27130 Telegraph Road, Quantico, VA 22134. Clearly mark the outside of the envelope and your written appeal letter: “Privacy/FOIA Appeal”.
The appellant may also submit their appeal via e-mail to email@example.com.
A decision that upholds a component's determination in whole or in part will contain a statement that identifies the reasons for the affirmance, including any FOIA exemptions applied. The decision will provide the requester with notification of the statutory right to file a lawsuit. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552 (a)(4)(B), appellants may seek judicial review for any negative determinations in the District Court of the United States in the district (1) in which they reside; (2) in which they maintain their principal place of business; (3) where the disputed agency records are maintained or (4) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
If a decision is remanded or modified on appeal, the requester will be notified of that determination in writing. The DCSA FOI/P component office will thereafter further process the request in accordance with that appeal determination and respond directly to the requester.