Privacy Act of 1974; Implementation, 43174-43176 [2017-19483]

Download as PDF 43174 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 177 / Thursday, September 14, 2017 / Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE 28 CFR Part 16 [CPCLO Order No. 008–2017] Privacy Act of 1974; Implementation United States Department of Justice. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: The United States Department of Justice (DOJ or Department) is issuing a final rule to amend its Privacy Act exemption regulations for the system of records titled, ‘‘DOJ Insider Threat Program Records,’’ JUSTICE/DOJ–018. Specifically, DOJ is exempting the records maintained in JUSTICE/DOJ– 018 from one or more provisions of the Privacy Act. The listed exemptions are necessary to avoid interference with efforts to detect, deter, and/or mitigate insider threats. This document addresses public comments on the proposed rule and codifies the claimed exemptions. DATES: This final rule is effective October 16, 2017. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laurence Reed, DOJ Insider Threat Program Manager, United States Department of Justice, Insider Threat Prevention and Detection Program, 145 N Street NE., Washington, DC 20002, 202–357–0165, itp@usdoj.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: rmajette on DSKBCKNHB2PROD with RULES SUMMARY: Background Executive Order 13587, Structural Reforms to Improve the Security of Classified Networks and the Responsible Sharing and Safeguarding of Classified Information (Oct. 7, 2011), requires the development of an executive branch program for the deterrence, detection, and mitigation of insider threats. The Presidential Memorandum, National Insider Threat Policy and Minimum Standards for Executive Branch Insider Threat Programs (Nov. 21, 2012), provides direction to executive branch departments on how to develop insider threat programs. The Presidential Memorandum states that an insider threat is the threat that any person with authorized access to any United States Government resource including personnel, facilities, information, equipment, networks or systems, will use her/his authorized access, wittingly or unwittingly, to do harm to the security of the United States. This threat can include damage to the United States through espionage, terrorism, unauthorized disclosure of national security information, or through the loss or degradation of departmental resources or capabilities. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:11 Sep 13, 2017 Jkt 241001 In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974 (Privacy Act), on June 5, 2017, DOJ issued a System of Records Notice (SORN) in the Federal Register at 82 FR 25812 (June 5, 2017), and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) at 82 FR 25751 (June 5, 2017), for the ‘‘DOJ Insider Threat Program Records,’’ JUSTICE/DOJ–018. The system establishes certain Department-wide capabilities to detect, deter, and mitigate insider threats, and will be used to facilitate management of insider threat inquiries and activities associated with inquiries and referrals, identify potential threats to DOJ resources and information assets, track referrals of potential insider threats to internal and external partners, and provide statistical reports and meet other insider threat reporting requirements. The system includes information provided by individuals covered by this system and by DOJ. It may include information lawfully obtained by the DOJ from any United States Government entity, from other domestic or foreign government organizations, or from private entities, which is necessary to identify, analyze, or resolve insider threat matters. After consideration of public comments, exemptions necessary to safeguard this information and avoid interference with the responsibilities of DOJ to detect, deter, and/or mitigate insider threats are codified in this final rule. Response to Public Comments In its ‘‘DOJ Insider Threat Program Records’’ SORN and NPRM, published on June 5, 2017, the Department invited public comment. The period for public comment closed on July 5, 2017. The Department received one comment, which addressed elements of both the SORN and the NPRM. The Department has closely reviewed this comment and the following discussion responds to the comment. The comment primarily focused on the scope of information collected by the system of records, the risk of compromise of such information, and the disclosures described in the SORN’s ‘‘routine uses.’’ As to the information collected by the system, the Department has determined that such information is necessary to create and maintain an effective insider threat program that complies with presidential mandates and federal law. The comment requests on page 7 that DOJ ‘‘maintain only records that are relevant and necessary to detecting and preventing inside threats,’’ yet correctly points out on page 3 that the categories of records in the system include ‘‘relevant’’ counterintelligence and security databases and files, ‘‘relevant PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Unclassified and Classified network information,’’ and ‘‘relevant Human Resources’’ databases and files. DOJ is a law enforcement agency. While it is not always possible to know in advance what information is relevant and necessary for law enforcement and intelligence purposes, as explained further below, DOJ requires its employees and agents to take reasonable steps designed to ensure collection of relevant and necessary information. As to the risk of compromise, DOJ understands the increase in data breaches across the public and private sectors. The Department has established appropriate administrative, technical and physical safeguards designed to ensure the security and confidentiality of records and to protect against anticipated threats or hazards to their security or integrity. The Department has implemented, and regularly assesses and works to strengthen, privacy and security controls required under federal law, regulations and policies, including the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014, standards issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and OMB guidelines (e.g., Circular A–130, Managing Information as a Strategic Resource). The Department’s insider threat program is designed to minimize the risks of unauthorized disclosures of information, including a breach of personally identifiable information. The Department has also determined that the disclosures described in the SORN’s routine uses are necessary to create and maintain an effective insider threat program that complies with presidential mandates and federal law. In sum, the Department has thoroughly reviewed its program and determined that the SORN accurately describes the existence and character of the system of records, in accordance with the Privacy Act. For these reasons, no alterations will be made to the SORN and the system of records will operate in compliance with the representations made therein. The comment also raised objections to some of the exemptions proposed in the NPRM. While the comment noted a general objection to claiming any of the exemptions allowed under 5 U.S.C. 552a(j) and (k), specific objections were only raised for a few of the exemptions claimed regarding 5 U.S.C. 552a(e), detailing agency requirements. The Department addresses those objections in the following paragraphs. E:\FR\FM\14SER1.SGM 14SER1 rmajette on DSKBCKNHB2PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 177 / Thursday, September 14, 2017 / Rules and Regulations 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(1), (d)(1)–(4), (e)(4)(G), (H), and (I), Relevant and Necessary, Notification, Access Procedures, Record Source Categories The comment asserted that the effect of claiming exemptions to 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(1), (e)(4)(I), and (e)(4)(G) and (H) would be to diminish DOJ’s legal accountability, stating that ‘‘DOJ claims the authority to collect any information it wants without disclosing where it came from or even acknowledging its existence.’’ Contrary to the comment, the Department follows the letter and spirit of the Privacy Act in claiming these exemptions as a law enforcement and national security-focused agency. The Department maintains a constant commitment to protecting the privacy and civil liberties of all Americans. Regarding 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(1), the Department only collects information it is legally authorized to collect. Moreover, as explained below, it is not always possible to know in advance what information is relevant and necessary for law enforcement and intelligence purposes. The relevance and utility of certain information that may have a nexus to insider threats may not always be fully evident until and unless it is vetted and matched with other information lawfully maintained by the DOJ. Nonetheless, DOJ requires its employees and agents to take reasonable steps designed to ensure collection of relevant and necessary information. Regarding 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(4)(I), the DOJ Insider Threat Program Records system of records notice disclosed to the greatest extent practicable the record source categories for the information in the system. To the extent that Section 552a(e)(4)(I) is interpreted to require more detail regarding the record sources in this system than has already been published in the SORN, exemption from this provision is necessary to protect the sources of law enforcement and intelligence information and to protect the privacy and safety of witnesses and informants and others who provide information to the Department. The comment states that the Department is exempting itself from providing individuals access to and amendment of records in the system, which is under 5 U.S.C. 552a(d), and also implies the Department is exempting itself from providing notice to individuals regarding the procedures for access to and amendment of records, under 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(4)(G) and (H). The Department proposed to exempt itself from the access and amendment requirements of 5 U.S.C. 552a(d)(1), (2), (3), and (4) because providing access VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:11 Sep 13, 2017 Jkt 241001 and amendment rights to such records could compromise or lead to the compromise of information classified to protect national security; disclose information that would constitute an unwarranted invasion of another’s personal privacy; reveal a sensitive investigative or intelligence technique; disclose or lead to disclosure of information that would allow a subject to avoid detection or apprehension; or constitute a potential danger to the health or safety of law enforcement personnel, confidential sources, or witnesses. Because the Department proposed to exempt itself from these access and amendment requirements, it logically follows that the Department also proposed to exempt itself from the requirement to publish notice to individuals of how to avail themselves of these access and amendment requirements under 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(4)(G) and (H). Nonetheless, in the SORN for the Insider Threat Program Records, DOJ provided notice of procedures to request access and amendment because, to the extent that an access or amendment request relates to information outside the scope of permissible exemptions, DOJ will comply with applicable requirements. Also, when DOJ compliance with an access or amendment request would not appear to interfere with or adversely affect the purpose of the system to detect, deter, and/or mitigate insider threats, the DOJ may waive the applicable exemption in its sole discretion and provide appropriate access or amendment. 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(5), Accuracy, Relevance, Timeliness, and Completeness The comment asserts that the Department claiming an exemption to 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(5), i.e., maintaining records ‘‘which are used by the agency in making any determination about an individual with such accuracy, relevance, timeliness, and completeness as reasonably necessary to assure fairness to the individual in the determination,’’ means the Department ‘‘objects to guaranteeing ‘fairness’ to individuals in the ‘Insider Threat’ Database.’’ The Department does not agree with this characterization. The collection of information for authorized law enforcement and intelligence purposes, including efforts to detect, deter, and/or mitigate insider threats, follows lawful, vetted investigative practices and procedures. In the investigative process, the DOJ at times collects information that may not be immediately shown to be accurate, relevant, timely, and complete. Law PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 43175 enforcement and intelligence investigators and analysts need to be able to collect the information they believe is necessary in their sound professional judgment to fully analyze a situation and move an investigation forward or close an investigation as appropriate. It could impede the investigative process if DOJ were required to assure relevance, accuracy, timeliness and completeness of all information obtained throughout the course and within the scope of an investigation. Additionally, some of the records in this system may come from other domestic or foreign government organizations, or private entities, and it would not be administratively feasible for the DOJ to vouch for the compliance of these agencies with this provision. Understanding the inherent challenges in the investigative context that underlie DOJ’s need to exempt this system from Privacy Act § 552a(e)(5), DOJ nonetheless requires and trains its personnel to take reasonable steps designed to ensure that records used by DOJ in making a determination about an individual are maintained with such accuracy, relevance, timeliness, and completeness as reasonably necessary to assure fairness to the individual in the determination. The Department has concluded that, in light of the reasonable steps DOJ investigators and analysts are required to take in collecting and maintaining the information needed to support DOJ’s mission and investigations, and in light of the compelling need to facilitate thorough and expeditious investigations and activities to deter, detect, and mitigate insider threats, exemption from the requirement of 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(5) is appropriate for the Insider Threat Program Records System. Conclusion Because insiders have heightened access, and could potentially use that access, either wittingly or unwittingly, to do harm to the security of the United States, the Department must be particularly vigilant in its detection and investigation of insider threats. Nonetheless, the Department takes seriously its obligations to protect the privacy of Americans. As to the claimed exemptions, where DOJ determines that compliance with an exempted Privacy Act provision would not appear to interfere with or adversely affect the purpose of this system to detect, deter, and/or mitigate insider threat, the applicable exemption may be waived by the Department in its sole discretion. E:\FR\FM\14SER1.SGM 14SER1 43176 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 177 / Thursday, September 14, 2017 / Rules and Regulations List of Subjects in 28 CFR Part 16 Administrative practices and procedures, Courts, Freedom of Information, Privacy Act. Pursuant to the authority vested in the Attorney General by 5 U.S.C. 552a and delegated to me by Attorney General Order 2940–2008, 28 CFR part 16 is amended as follows: PART 16—PRODUCTION OR DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL OR INFORMATION 1. The authority citation for part 16 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301, 552, 552a, 553; 28 U.S.C. 509, 510, 534; 31 U.S.C. 3717. Subpart E—Exemption of Records Systems Under the Privacy Act 2. Add § 16.137 to subpart E to read as follows: ■ rmajette on DSKBCKNHB2PROD with RULES § 16.137 Exemption of the Department of Justice Insider Threat Program Records— limited access. (a) The Department of Justice Insider Threat Program Records (JUSTICE/DOJ– 018) system of records is exempted from subsections 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3) and (4); (d)(1), (2), (3) and (4); (e)(1), (2) and (3); (e)(4)(G), (H) and (I); (e)(5) and (8); (f) and (g) of the Privacy Act. These exemptions apply only to the extent that information in this system is subject to exemption pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j) or (k). Where DOJ determines compliance would not appear to interfere with or adversely affect the purpose of this system to detect, deter, and/or mitigate insider threats, the applicable exemption may be waived by the DOJ in its sole discretion. (b) Exemptions from the particular subsections are justified for the following reasons: (1) From subsection (c)(3), the requirement that an accounting be made available to the named subject of a record, because this system is exempt from the access provisions of subsection (d). Also, because making available to a record subject the accounting of disclosures of records concerning him/ her would specifically reveal any insider threat-related interest in the individual by the DOJ or agencies that are recipients of the disclosures. Revealing this information could compromise ongoing, authorized law enforcement and intelligence efforts, particularly efforts to identify and/or mitigate insider threats. Revealing this information could also permit the record subject to obtain valuable insight concerning the information obtained during any investigation and to take VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:11 Sep 13, 2017 Jkt 241001 measures to impede the investigation, e.g., destroy evidence or flee the area to avoid the investigation. (2) From subsection (c)(4) notification requirements because this system is exempt from the access and amendment provisions of subsection (d) as well as the accounting of disclosures provision of subsection (c)(3). The DOJ takes seriously its obligation to maintain accurate records despite its assertion of this exemption, and to the extent it, in its sole discretion, agrees to permit amendment or correction of DOJ records, it will share that information in appropriate cases. (3) From subsection (d)(1), (2), (3) and (4), (e)(4)(G) and (H), (e)(8), (f) and (g) because these provisions concern individual access to and amendment of law enforcement, intelligence and counterintelligence, and counterterrorism records, and compliance with these provisions could alert the subject of an authorized law enforcement or intelligence activity about that particular activity and the interest of the DOJ and/or other law enforcement or intelligence agencies. Providing access could compromise or lead to the compromise of information classified to protect national security; disclose information that would constitute an unwarranted invasion of another’s personal privacy; reveal a sensitive investigative or intelligence technique; disclose or lead to disclosure of information that would allow a subject to avoid detection or apprehension; or constitute a potential danger to the health or safety of law enforcement personnel, confidential sources, or witnesses. (4) From subsection (e)(1) because it is not always possible to know in advance what information is relevant and necessary for law enforcement and intelligence purposes. The relevance and utility of certain information that may have a nexus to insider threats may not always be fully evident until and unless it is vetted and matched with other information necessarily and lawfully maintained by the DOJ. (5) From subsection (e)(2) and (3) because application of these provisions could present a serious impediment to efforts to detect, deter and/or mitigate insider threats. Application of these provisions would put the subject of an investigation on notice of the investigation and allow the subject an opportunity to engage in conduct intended to impede the investigative activity or avoid apprehension. (6) From subsection (e)(4)(I), to the extent that this subsection is interpreted to require more detail regarding the record sources in this system than has PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 been published in the Federal Register. Should the subsection be so interpreted, exemption from this provision is necessary to protect the sources of law enforcement and intelligence information and to protect the privacy and safety of witnesses and informants and others who provide information to the DOJ. Further, greater specificity of sources of properly classified records could compromise national security. (7) From subsection (e)(5) because in the collection of information for authorized law enforcement and intelligence purposes, including efforts to detect, deter, and/or mitigate insider threats, due to the nature of investigations and intelligence collection, the DOJ often collects information that may not be immediately shown to be accurate, relevant, timely, and complete, although the DOJ takes reasonable steps to collect only the information necessary to support its mission and investigations. Additionally, the information may aid DOJ in establishing patterns of activity and provide criminal or intelligence leads. It could impede investigative progress if it were necessary to assure relevance, accuracy, timeliness and completeness of all information obtained throughout the course and within the scope of an investigation. Further, some of the records in this system may come from other domestic or foreign government entities, or private entities, and it would not be administratively feasible for the DOJ to vouch for the compliance of these agencies with this provision. Dated: September 7, 2017. Peter A. Winn, Acting Chief Privacy and Civil Liberties Officer, United States Department of Justice. [FR Doc. 2017–19483 Filed 9–13–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4410–NW–P ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 40 CFR Part 52 [EPA–R09–OAR–2017–0259; FRL–9966–89– Region 9] Approval of California Air Plan Revisions, South Coast Air Quality Management District Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking final action to approve revisions to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\14SER1.SGM 14SER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 177 (Thursday, September 14, 2017)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 43174-43176]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-19483]



[[Page 43174]]

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DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

28 CFR Part 16

[CPCLO Order No. 008-2017]


Privacy Act of 1974; Implementation

AGENCY: United States Department of Justice.

ACTION: Final rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The United States Department of Justice (DOJ or Department) is 
issuing a final rule to amend its Privacy Act exemption regulations for 
the system of records titled, ``DOJ Insider Threat Program Records,'' 
JUSTICE/DOJ-018. Specifically, DOJ is exempting the records maintained 
in JUSTICE/DOJ-018 from one or more provisions of the Privacy Act. The 
listed exemptions are necessary to avoid interference with efforts to 
detect, deter, and/or mitigate insider threats. This document addresses 
public comments on the proposed rule and codifies the claimed 
exemptions.

DATES: This final rule is effective October 16, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laurence Reed, DOJ Insider Threat 
Program Manager, United States Department of Justice, Insider Threat 
Prevention and Detection Program, 145 N Street NE., Washington, DC 
20002, 202-357-0165, itp@usdoj.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Executive Order 13587, Structural Reforms to Improve the Security 
of Classified Networks and the Responsible Sharing and Safeguarding of 
Classified Information (Oct. 7, 2011), requires the development of an 
executive branch program for the deterrence, detection, and mitigation 
of insider threats. The Presidential Memorandum, National Insider 
Threat Policy and Minimum Standards for Executive Branch Insider Threat 
Programs (Nov. 21, 2012), provides direction to executive branch 
departments on how to develop insider threat programs. The Presidential 
Memorandum states that an insider threat is the threat that any person 
with authorized access to any United States Government resource 
including personnel, facilities, information, equipment, networks or 
systems, will use her/his authorized access, wittingly or unwittingly, 
to do harm to the security of the United States. This threat can 
include damage to the United States through espionage, terrorism, 
unauthorized disclosure of national security information, or through 
the loss or degradation of departmental resources or capabilities.
    In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974 (Privacy Act), on June 
5, 2017, DOJ issued a System of Records Notice (SORN) in the Federal 
Register at 82 FR 25812 (June 5, 2017), and a Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking (NPRM) at 82 FR 25751 (June 5, 2017), for the ``DOJ Insider 
Threat Program Records,'' JUSTICE/DOJ-018. The system establishes 
certain Department-wide capabilities to detect, deter, and mitigate 
insider threats, and will be used to facilitate management of insider 
threat inquiries and activities associated with inquiries and 
referrals, identify potential threats to DOJ resources and information 
assets, track referrals of potential insider threats to internal and 
external partners, and provide statistical reports and meet other 
insider threat reporting requirements. The system includes information 
provided by individuals covered by this system and by DOJ. It may 
include information lawfully obtained by the DOJ from any United States 
Government entity, from other domestic or foreign government 
organizations, or from private entities, which is necessary to 
identify, analyze, or resolve insider threat matters. After 
consideration of public comments, exemptions necessary to safeguard 
this information and avoid interference with the responsibilities of 
DOJ to detect, deter, and/or mitigate insider threats are codified in 
this final rule.

Response to Public Comments

    In its ``DOJ Insider Threat Program Records'' SORN and NPRM, 
published on June 5, 2017, the Department invited public comment. The 
period for public comment closed on July 5, 2017. The Department 
received one comment, which addressed elements of both the SORN and the 
NPRM. The Department has closely reviewed this comment and the 
following discussion responds to the comment.
    The comment primarily focused on the scope of information collected 
by the system of records, the risk of compromise of such information, 
and the disclosures described in the SORN's ``routine uses.'' As to the 
information collected by the system, the Department has determined that 
such information is necessary to create and maintain an effective 
insider threat program that complies with presidential mandates and 
federal law. The comment requests on page 7 that DOJ ``maintain only 
records that are relevant and necessary to detecting and preventing 
inside threats,'' yet correctly points out on page 3 that the 
categories of records in the system include ``relevant'' 
counterintelligence and security databases and files, ``relevant 
Unclassified and Classified network information,'' and ``relevant Human 
Resources'' databases and files. DOJ is a law enforcement agency. While 
it is not always possible to know in advance what information is 
relevant and necessary for law enforcement and intelligence purposes, 
as explained further below, DOJ requires its employees and agents to 
take reasonable steps designed to ensure collection of relevant and 
necessary information.
    As to the risk of compromise, DOJ understands the increase in data 
breaches across the public and private sectors. The Department has 
established appropriate administrative, technical and physical 
safeguards designed to ensure the security and confidentiality of 
records and to protect against anticipated threats or hazards to their 
security or integrity. The Department has implemented, and regularly 
assesses and works to strengthen, privacy and security controls 
required under federal law, regulations and policies, including the 
Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014, standards 
issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and OMB 
guidelines (e.g., Circular A-130, Managing Information as a Strategic 
Resource). The Department's insider threat program is designed to 
minimize the risks of unauthorized disclosures of information, 
including a breach of personally identifiable information.
    The Department has also determined that the disclosures described 
in the SORN's routine uses are necessary to create and maintain an 
effective insider threat program that complies with presidential 
mandates and federal law. In sum, the Department has thoroughly 
reviewed its program and determined that the SORN accurately describes 
the existence and character of the system of records, in accordance 
with the Privacy Act. For these reasons, no alterations will be made to 
the SORN and the system of records will operate in compliance with the 
representations made therein.
    The comment also raised objections to some of the exemptions 
proposed in the NPRM. While the comment noted a general objection to 
claiming any of the exemptions allowed under 5 U.S.C. 552a(j) and (k), 
specific objections were only raised for a few of the exemptions 
claimed regarding 5 U.S.C. 552a(e), detailing agency requirements. The 
Department addresses those objections in the following paragraphs.

[[Page 43175]]

5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(1), (d)(1)-(4), (e)(4)(G), (H), and (I), Relevant and 
Necessary, Notification, Access Procedures, Record Source Categories

    The comment asserted that the effect of claiming exemptions to 5 
U.S.C. 552a(e)(1), (e)(4)(I), and (e)(4)(G) and (H) would be to 
diminish DOJ's legal accountability, stating that ``DOJ claims the 
authority to collect any information it wants without disclosing where 
it came from or even acknowledging its existence.'' Contrary to the 
comment, the Department follows the letter and spirit of the Privacy 
Act in claiming these exemptions as a law enforcement and national 
security-focused agency. The Department maintains a constant commitment 
to protecting the privacy and civil liberties of all Americans.
    Regarding 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(1), the Department only collects 
information it is legally authorized to collect. Moreover, as explained 
below, it is not always possible to know in advance what information is 
relevant and necessary for law enforcement and intelligence purposes. 
The relevance and utility of certain information that may have a nexus 
to insider threats may not always be fully evident until and unless it 
is vetted and matched with other information lawfully maintained by the 
DOJ. Nonetheless, DOJ requires its employees and agents to take 
reasonable steps designed to ensure collection of relevant and 
necessary information.
    Regarding 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(4)(I), the DOJ Insider Threat Program 
Records system of records notice disclosed to the greatest extent 
practicable the record source categories for the information in the 
system. To the extent that Section 552a(e)(4)(I) is interpreted to 
require more detail regarding the record sources in this system than 
has already been published in the SORN, exemption from this provision 
is necessary to protect the sources of law enforcement and intelligence 
information and to protect the privacy and safety of witnesses and 
informants and others who provide information to the Department.
    The comment states that the Department is exempting itself from 
providing individuals access to and amendment of records in the system, 
which is under 5 U.S.C. 552a(d), and also implies the Department is 
exempting itself from providing notice to individuals regarding the 
procedures for access to and amendment of records, under 5 U.S.C. 
552a(e)(4)(G) and (H). The Department proposed to exempt itself from 
the access and amendment requirements of 5 U.S.C. 552a(d)(1), (2), (3), 
and (4) because providing access and amendment rights to such records 
could compromise or lead to the compromise of information classified to 
protect national security; disclose information that would constitute 
an unwarranted invasion of another's personal privacy; reveal a 
sensitive investigative or intelligence technique; disclose or lead to 
disclosure of information that would allow a subject to avoid detection 
or apprehension; or constitute a potential danger to the health or 
safety of law enforcement personnel, confidential sources, or 
witnesses. Because the Department proposed to exempt itself from these 
access and amendment requirements, it logically follows that the 
Department also proposed to exempt itself from the requirement to 
publish notice to individuals of how to avail themselves of these 
access and amendment requirements under 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(4)(G) and (H).
    Nonetheless, in the SORN for the Insider Threat Program Records, 
DOJ provided notice of procedures to request access and amendment 
because, to the extent that an access or amendment request relates to 
information outside the scope of permissible exemptions, DOJ will 
comply with applicable requirements. Also, when DOJ compliance with an 
access or amendment request would not appear to interfere with or 
adversely affect the purpose of the system to detect, deter, and/or 
mitigate insider threats, the DOJ may waive the applicable exemption in 
its sole discretion and provide appropriate access or amendment.

5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(5), Accuracy, Relevance, Timeliness, and Completeness

    The comment asserts that the Department claiming an exemption to 5 
U.S.C. 552a(e)(5), i.e., maintaining records ``which are used by the 
agency in making any determination about an individual with such 
accuracy, relevance, timeliness, and completeness as reasonably 
necessary to assure fairness to the individual in the determination,'' 
means the Department ``objects to guaranteeing `fairness' to 
individuals in the `Insider Threat' Database.'' The Department does not 
agree with this characterization. The collection of information for 
authorized law enforcement and intelligence purposes, including efforts 
to detect, deter, and/or mitigate insider threats, follows lawful, 
vetted investigative practices and procedures. In the investigative 
process, the DOJ at times collects information that may not be 
immediately shown to be accurate, relevant, timely, and complete. Law 
enforcement and intelligence investigators and analysts need to be able 
to collect the information they believe is necessary in their sound 
professional judgment to fully analyze a situation and move an 
investigation forward or close an investigation as appropriate. It 
could impede the investigative process if DOJ were required to assure 
relevance, accuracy, timeliness and completeness of all information 
obtained throughout the course and within the scope of an 
investigation. Additionally, some of the records in this system may 
come from other domestic or foreign government organizations, or 
private entities, and it would not be administratively feasible for the 
DOJ to vouch for the compliance of these agencies with this provision. 
Understanding the inherent challenges in the investigative context that 
underlie DOJ's need to exempt this system from Privacy Act Sec.  
552a(e)(5), DOJ nonetheless requires and trains its personnel to take 
reasonable steps designed to ensure that records used by DOJ in making 
a determination about an individual are maintained with such accuracy, 
relevance, timeliness, and completeness as reasonably necessary to 
assure fairness to the individual in the determination.
    The Department has concluded that, in light of the reasonable steps 
DOJ investigators and analysts are required to take in collecting and 
maintaining the information needed to support DOJ's mission and 
investigations, and in light of the compelling need to facilitate 
thorough and expeditious investigations and activities to deter, 
detect, and mitigate insider threats, exemption from the requirement of 
5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(5) is appropriate for the Insider Threat Program 
Records System.

Conclusion

    Because insiders have heightened access, and could potentially use 
that access, either wittingly or unwittingly, to do harm to the 
security of the United States, the Department must be particularly 
vigilant in its detection and investigation of insider threats. 
Nonetheless, the Department takes seriously its obligations to protect 
the privacy of Americans. As to the claimed exemptions, where DOJ 
determines that compliance with an exempted Privacy Act provision would 
not appear to interfere with or adversely affect the purpose of this 
system to detect, deter, and/or mitigate insider threat, the applicable 
exemption may be waived by the Department in its sole discretion.

[[Page 43176]]

List of Subjects in 28 CFR Part 16

    Administrative practices and procedures, Courts, Freedom of 
Information, Privacy Act.

    Pursuant to the authority vested in the Attorney General by 5 
U.S.C. 552a and delegated to me by Attorney General Order 2940-2008, 28 
CFR part 16 is amended as follows:

PART 16--PRODUCTION OR DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL OR INFORMATION

0
 1. The authority citation for part 16 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 301, 552, 552a, 553; 28 U.S.C. 509, 510, 
534; 31 U.S.C. 3717.

Subpart E--Exemption of Records Systems Under the Privacy Act

0
 2. Add Sec.  16.137 to subpart E to read as follows:


Sec.  16.137  Exemption of the Department of Justice Insider Threat 
Program Records--limited access.

    (a) The Department of Justice Insider Threat Program Records 
(JUSTICE/DOJ-018) system of records is exempted from subsections 5 
U.S.C. 552a(c)(3) and (4); (d)(1), (2), (3) and (4); (e)(1), (2) and 
(3); (e)(4)(G), (H) and (I); (e)(5) and (8); (f) and (g) of the Privacy 
Act. These exemptions apply only to the extent that information in this 
system is subject to exemption pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(j) or (k). 
Where DOJ determines compliance would not appear to interfere with or 
adversely affect the purpose of this system to detect, deter, and/or 
mitigate insider threats, the applicable exemption may be waived by the 
DOJ in its sole discretion.
    (b) Exemptions from the particular subsections are justified for 
the following reasons:
    (1) From subsection (c)(3), the requirement that an accounting be 
made available to the named subject of a record, because this system is 
exempt from the access provisions of subsection (d). Also, because 
making available to a record subject the accounting of disclosures of 
records concerning him/her would specifically reveal any insider 
threat-related interest in the individual by the DOJ or agencies that 
are recipients of the disclosures. Revealing this information could 
compromise ongoing, authorized law enforcement and intelligence 
efforts, particularly efforts to identify and/or mitigate insider 
threats. Revealing this information could also permit the record 
subject to obtain valuable insight concerning the information obtained 
during any investigation and to take measures to impede the 
investigation, e.g., destroy evidence or flee the area to avoid the 
investigation.
    (2) From subsection (c)(4) notification requirements because this 
system is exempt from the access and amendment provisions of subsection 
(d) as well as the accounting of disclosures provision of subsection 
(c)(3). The DOJ takes seriously its obligation to maintain accurate 
records despite its assertion of this exemption, and to the extent it, 
in its sole discretion, agrees to permit amendment or correction of DOJ 
records, it will share that information in appropriate cases.
    (3) From subsection (d)(1), (2), (3) and (4), (e)(4)(G) and (H), 
(e)(8), (f) and (g) because these provisions concern individual access 
to and amendment of law enforcement, intelligence and 
counterintelligence, and counterterrorism records, and compliance with 
these provisions could alert the subject of an authorized law 
enforcement or intelligence activity about that particular activity and 
the interest of the DOJ and/or other law enforcement or intelligence 
agencies. Providing access could compromise or lead to the compromise 
of information classified to protect national security; disclose 
information that would constitute an unwarranted invasion of another's 
personal privacy; reveal a sensitive investigative or intelligence 
technique; disclose or lead to disclosure of information that would 
allow a subject to avoid detection or apprehension; or constitute a 
potential danger to the health or safety of law enforcement personnel, 
confidential sources, or witnesses.
    (4) From subsection (e)(1) because it is not always possible to 
know in advance what information is relevant and necessary for law 
enforcement and intelligence purposes. The relevance and utility of 
certain information that may have a nexus to insider threats may not 
always be fully evident until and unless it is vetted and matched with 
other information necessarily and lawfully maintained by the DOJ.
    (5) From subsection (e)(2) and (3) because application of these 
provisions could present a serious impediment to efforts to detect, 
deter and/or mitigate insider threats. Application of these provisions 
would put the subject of an investigation on notice of the 
investigation and allow the subject an opportunity to engage in conduct 
intended to impede the investigative activity or avoid apprehension.
    (6) From subsection (e)(4)(I), to the extent that this subsection 
is interpreted to require more detail regarding the record sources in 
this system than has been published in the Federal Register. Should the 
subsection be so interpreted, exemption from this provision is 
necessary to protect the sources of law enforcement and intelligence 
information and to protect the privacy and safety of witnesses and 
informants and others who provide information to the DOJ. Further, 
greater specificity of sources of properly classified records could 
compromise national security.
    (7) From subsection (e)(5) because in the collection of information 
for authorized law enforcement and intelligence purposes, including 
efforts to detect, deter, and/or mitigate insider threats, due to the 
nature of investigations and intelligence collection, the DOJ often 
collects information that may not be immediately shown to be accurate, 
relevant, timely, and complete, although the DOJ takes reasonable steps 
to collect only the information necessary to support its mission and 
investigations. Additionally, the information may aid DOJ in 
establishing patterns of activity and provide criminal or intelligence 
leads. It could impede investigative progress if it were necessary to 
assure relevance, accuracy, timeliness and completeness of all 
information obtained throughout the course and within the scope of an 
investigation. Further, some of the records in this system may come 
from other domestic or foreign government entities, or private 
entities, and it would not be administratively feasible for the DOJ to 
vouch for the compliance of these agencies with this provision.

    Dated: September 7, 2017.
Peter A. Winn,
Acting Chief Privacy and Civil Liberties Officer, United States 
Department of Justice.
[FR Doc. 2017-19483 Filed 9-13-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4410-NW-P