138. Procedure For Request Under The Privacy Act

  1. Introduction: Questions on how to proceed upon receipt of such a request should be directed to the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, FOIA/PA Unit. (202) 252-6020.

  2. General Requirements for Request: An individual requesting access to a record, whether for purposes of correction or review, must request access to a record about him/her by appearing in person or by writing to the component that maintains the record. Such a request must describe the records sought in sufficient detail to enable Department personnel to locate the system of records containing the record with a reasonable amount of effort. See 28 C.F.R. Sec. 16.41(b).

    Any individual who submits a request for access to records must verify his/her identity in accordance with the provisions of 28 C.F.R. Sec. 16.41(d). Generally, a Form DOJ-361 is used.

    Whenever a request is deemed defective in form for failure to comply with the above requirements, the component responsible for responding to the request shall promptly so notify the requester in writing.

  3. Requests for Access: FOIA/PA staff of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys FOIA/PA Unit will work with United States Attorneys office personnel when handling requests for access. The FOIA/PA Unit of EOUSA will respond to the requester. A determination must normally be made within 20 days after the date of the receipt of the request.

    If access is granted, the component shall either provide the requester with a copy of the record or make the record available for his/her inspection. See, 28 C.F.R. Sec. 16.46(a).

    If access is to be denied, ( e.g. , the system of records is an exempt system, the individual or agency is not listed in the systems notice as a routine user, etc.), the requester must be notified within the applicable time limit of the determination, the reasons therefor, and the requester's right to administratively appeal the determination to the Office of Information and Privacy (OIP) within 30 days after receipt thereof. See 28 C.F.R. Sec. 16.48(a).

  4. Requests for Correction: A request for correction must be made in writing and must be addressed to the component that maintains the request. It must, in addition to the general requirements set out in B, above, identify the particular record, state the correction sought, and provide justification for the correction.

The following records are not subject to correction or amendment as provided in 28 C.F.R. Sec. 16.50:

  1. Transcripts of testimony given under oath or written statements made under oath;
  2. Transcripts of grand jury proceedings, judicial proceedings, or quasi-judicial proceedings which constitute the official record of such proceedings;
  3. Pre-sentence reports; and
  4. Records duly exempted from correction pursuant to 5 U.S.C. Sec. 552a(j) or 552a(k) by notice published in the Federal Register. See28 C.F.R. Sec. 16.51.

    The requester may appeal the denial to the Attorney General within 30 days of his/her receipt of the notice denying his/her request. An appeal to the Attorney General shall be made in writing and shall set forth the specific item or information sought to be corrected, and include any documentation said to justify the correction. Appeals should be addressed to the Office of Information and Privacy. See 28 C.F.R. Sec. 16.50(c).

    The Director, Office of Information and Privacy, shall decide all appeals from denials of requests to correct records within 30 working days or receipt of the appeals, unless there is good cause to extend this period. If the denial of a request is affirmed on appeal, the requester shall be notified in writing and advised of (1) the reason or reasons the denial has been affirmed, (2) the requester's right to file a statement of disagreement as provided in 28 C.F.R. Sec. 16.50(e) and (3) the requester's right to obtain judicial review of the denial. See 28 C.F.R. Sec. 16.50(d).

  5. Judicial Review: In the event that a requester files a civil action against the Department under the Act, the Federal Programs Branch of the Civil Division will be responsible for overseeing the defense of the suit.

[updated December 2010] [cited in USAM 3-17.220]

Updated September 19, 2018