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or her. Not later than 10 days (exclud- evaluate and grant or deny requests to ing Saturdays, Sundays, and legal pub- amend, review initial adverse deterlic holidays) after the date or receipt of minations upon request, and assist resuch request, the Department of Vet- questers desiring to amend or appeal erans Affairs will acknowledge in writ- initial adverse determinations or learn ing such receipt. The Department of further of the provisions for judicial reVeterans Affairs will complete the re- view. view to amend or correct a record as (2) The following field officials are soon as reasonably possible, normally designated as responsible for the within 30 days from the receipt of the amendment of records or information request (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, located in facilities under their jurisand legal public holidays) unless un- diction, as appropriate: The Director of usual circumstances preclude com- each Center, Domiciliary, Medical Cenpleting action within that time. The ter, Outpatient Clinic, Regional Office, Department of Veterans Affairs will Supply Depot, and Regional Counsels. promptly either:

These officials will function in the (1) Correct any part thereof which same manner at field facilities as that the individual believes is not accurate, specified in the preceding subparagraph relevant, timely or complete; or

for headquarters officials in Central Of(2) Inform the individual of the De- fice. partment of Veterans Affairs refusal to amend the record in accordance with (Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(f)(4)) his or her request, the reason for the

(c) Any individual who disagrees with refusal, the procedures by which the in

the Department of Veterans Affairs redividual may request a review of that

fusal to amend his or her record may refusal by the Secretary or designee,

request a review of such refusal. The and the name and address of such offi

Department of Veterans Affairs will cial.

complete such review not later than 30

days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, (Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(d)(2))

and legal public holidays) from the (b) The administration or staff office date on which the individual request having jurisdiction over the records in such review and make a final detervolved will establish procedures for re- mination unless, for good cause shown, viewing a request from an individual the Secretary extends such 30-day peconcerning the amendment of any riod. If, after review, the Secretary or record or information pertaining to the designee also refuses to amend the individual, for making a determination record in accordance with the request on the request, for an appeal within the the individual will be advised of the Department of Veterans Affairs of an right to file with the Department of initial adverse Department of Veterans Veterans Affairs a concise statement Affairs determination, and for what setting forth the reasons for his or her ever additional means may be nec- disagreement with the Department of essary for each individual to be able to Veterans Affairs refusal and also advise exercise fully, his or her right under 5 of the provisions for judicial review of U.S.C. 552a.

the reviewing official's determination. (1) Headquarters officials designated (5 U.S.C. 552a(g)(1)(A)) as responsible for the amendment of (d) In any disclosure, containing inrecords or information located in Cen formation about which the individual tral Office and under their jurisdiction has filed a statement of disagreement, include, but are not limited to: Sec occurring after the filing of the stateretary; Deputy Secretary, as well as ment under paragraph (c) of this secother appropriate individuals respon- tion, the Department of Veterans Afsible for the conduct of business within fairs will clearly note any part of the the various Department of Veterans record which is disputed and provide Affairs administrations and staff of- copies of the statement (and, if the Defices. These officials will determine partment of Veterans Affairs deems it and advise the requester of the identi- appropriate, copies of a concise statefying information required to relate ment of the Department of Veterans the request to the appropriate record, Affairs reasons for not making the amendments requested) to persons or is subject to exemptions pursuant to 5 other agencies to whom the disputed U.S.C. 552a (j)(2) and (k)(2). record has been disclosed. (5 U.S.C. (3) For the reasons set forth, the sys552a(d)(4)) (38 U.S.C. 501)

tems of records listed under paragraph (47 FR 16324, Apr. 16, 1982]

(b)(1) of this section are exempted

under sections 552a (j)(2) and (k)(2) $ 1.580 Administrative review.

from the following provisions of 5

U.S.C. 552a: (a) Upon denial or a request under 38

(i) 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3) requires that CFR 1.577 or 1.579, the responsible De

upon request, an agency must give an partment of Veterans Affairs official or

individual named in a record an acdesignated employee will inform the

counting which reflects the disclosure requester in writing of the denial, cite

of the record to other persons or agenthe reason or reasons and the Depart

cies. This accounting must state the ment of Veterans Affairs regulations

date, nature and purpose of each discloupon which the denial is based, and ad

sure of the record and the name and advise that the denial may be appealed to

dress of the recipient. The application the General Counsel.

of this provision would alert subjects (b) The final agency decision in such

to the existence of the investigation appeals will be made by the General

and identify that such persons are subcounsel or the Deputy General Counsel.

ject of that investigation. Since release (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501)

of such information to subjects would [40 FR 33944, Aug. 12, 1975, as amended at 47

provide them with significant informaFR 16324, Apr. 16, 1982; 55 FR 21546, May 25,

tion concerning the nature of the in1990]

vestigation, it could result in the alter

ing or destruction of derivative evi$ 1.581 (Reserved]

dence which is obtained from third par

ties, improper influencing of witnesses, $1.582 Exemptions.

and other activities that could impede (a) Certain systems of records main or compromise the investigation. tained by the Department of Veterans (ii) 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(4), (d), (e) (4) (G Affairs are exempted from provisions of and (H), (f) and (g) relate to an individthe Privacy Act in accordance with ex ual's right to be notified of the existemptions (j) and (k) of 5 U.S.C. 552a. ence of records pertaining to such indi

(b) Eremption of Inspector General Sys vidual; requirements for identifying an tems of Records. The Department of Vet- individual who requests access to erans Affairs provides limited access to records; the agency procedures relating Inspector General Systems of Records to access to records and the amendas indicated.

ment of information contained in such (1) The following systems of records records; and the civil remedies availare exempted pursuant to the provi able to the individual in the event of sions of 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2) from sub adverse determinations by an agency sections (c)(3) and (4), (d), (e)(1), (2) and concerning access to or amendment of (3), (e)(4) (G), (H) and (I), (e)(5) and (8), information contained in record sys(f) and (g) of 5 U.S.C. 552a; in addition, tems. This system is exempt from the the following systems of records are ex- foregoing provisions for the following empted pursuant to the provisions of 5 reasons: To notify an individual at the U.S.C. 552a(k)(2) from subsections individual's request of the existence of (c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4) (G), (H), and (I), records in an investigative file perand (f) of 5 U.S.C. 552a:

taining to such individual or to grant (i) Investigation Reports of Persons access to an investigative file could Allegedly Involved in Irregularities interfere with investigative and enConcerning VA and Federal Laws, Reg- forcement proceedings, threaten the ulations, Programs, etc.-VA (11 VA51); safety of individuals who have cooperand

ated with authorities, constitute an (ii) Inspector General Complaint Cen unwarranted invasion of personal priter Records-VA (66V A53).

vacy of others, disclose the identity of (2) These exemptions apply to the ex- confidential sources, reveal confidentent that information in those systems tial information supplied by these

sources, and disclose investigative techniques and procedures.

(iii) 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(4)(I) requires the publication of the categories of sources of records in each system of records. The application of this provision could disclose investigative techniques and procedures and cause sources to refrain from giving such information because of fear of reprisal, or fear of breach of promises of anonymity and confidentiality. This could compromise the ability to conduct investigations and to identify, detect and apprehend violators. Even though the agency has claimed an exemption from this particular requirement, it still plans to generally identify the categories of records and the sources for these records in this system. However, for the reasons stated in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section, this exemption is still being cited in the event an individual wants to know a specific source of information.

(iv) 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(1) requires each agency to maintain in its records only such information about an individual that is relevant and necessary to accomplish a purpose of the agency required by statute or Executive order. These systems of records are exempt from the foregoing provisions because:

(A) It is not possible to detect the relevance or necessity of specific information in the early stages of a criminal or other investigation.

(B) Relevance and necessity are questions of judgment and timing. What appears relevant and necessary may ultimately be determined to be unnecessary. It is only after the information is evaluated that the relevance and necessity of such information can be established.

(C) In any investigation the Inspector General may obtain information concerning the violations of laws other than those within the scope of his/her jurisdiction. In the interest of effective law enforcement, the Inspector General should retain this information as it may aid in establishing patterns of criminal activity and provide leads for those law enforcement agencies charged with enforcing other segments of civil or criminal law.

(v) 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(2) requires an agency to collect information to the

greatest extent practicable directly from the subject individual when the information may result in adverse determinations about an individual's rights, benefits, and privileges under Federal programs. The application of this provision would impair investigations of illegal acts, violations of the rules of conduct, merit system and any other misconduct for the following reasons:

(A) In order to successfully verify a complaint, most information about a complainant or an individual under investigation must be obtained from third parties such as witnesses and informers. It is not feasible to rely upon the subject of the investigation as a source for information regarding his/ her activities because of the subject's rights against self-incrimination and because of the inherent unreliability of the suspect's statements. Similarly, it is not always feasible to rely upon the complainant as a source of information regarding his/her involvement in an investigation.

(B) The subject of an investigation will be alerted to the existence of an investigation if an attempt is made to obtain information from the subject. This would afford the individual the opportunity to conceal any criminal activities to avoid apprehension.

(vi) 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(3) requires that an agency must inform the subject of an investigation who is asked to supply information of:

(A) The authority under which the information is sought and whether disclosure of the information is mandatory or voluntary;

(B) The purposes for which the information is intended to be used;

(C) The routine uses which may be made of the information; and

(D) The effects on the subject, if any, of not providing the requested information. The reasons for exempting this system of records from the foregoing provision are as follows:

(1) The disclosure to the subject of the purposes of the investigation as stated in paragraph (b)(3)(vi)(B) of this paragraph would provide the subject with substantial information relating to the nature of the investigation and could impede or compromise the investigation.

(2) If the complainant or the subject Systems of Records. The Department of were informed of the information re- Veterans Affairs provides limited ac. quired by this provision, it could seri- ' cess to Loan Guaranty Service, Vetously interfere with undercover activi- erans Benefits Administration, systems ties requiring disclosure of the author- of records as indicated: ity under which the information is

(1) The following systems of records being requested. This could conceiv

are exempted pursuant to the proviably jeopardize undercover agents'

sions of 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2) from subidentities and impair their safety, as

sections (c)(3), (d), (e)(1) and (e)(4) (G! well as impair the successful conclu

(H) and (I) and (f): sion of the investigation.

(i) Loan Guaranty Fee Personnel and (3) Individuals may be contacted dur

Program Participant Records—VA ing preliminary information gathering

(17V A26); and in investigations before any individual is identified as the subject of an inves

(ii) Loan Guaranty Home Condotigation. Informing the individual of

minium and Mobile Home Loan Applithe matters required by this provision

cant Records and Paraplegic Grant Apwould hinder or adversely affect any

v plication Records-VA (55VA26). present or subsequent investigations

(2) These exemptions apply to the ex(vii) 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(5) requires that tent that information in these systems records be maintained with such accu- is subject to exemption pursuant to 5 racy, relevance, timeliness, and com- U.S.C. 552a(k)(2). pleteness as is reasonably necessary to (3) For the reasons set forth, the sys assure fairness to the individual in tems of records listed under paragraph making any determination about an in (c)(1) of this section are exempted dividual. Since the law defines maintain under 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2) from the folto include the collection of informa- lowing provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a: tion, complying with this provision (i) 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3) requires that ar would prevent the collection of any agency make accountings of disclodata not shown to be accurate, rel

sures of records available to individevant, timely, and complete at the mo

uals named in the records at their rement of its collection. In gathering in

quest. These accountings must state formation during the course of an in

the date, nature and purpose of each vestigation it is not always possible to

disclosure of the record and the name determine this prior to collection of

and address of the recipient. The applithe information. Facts are first gath

cation of this provision would alert ered and then placed into a logical

subjects of an investigation to the exorder which objectively proves or dis

istence of the investigation and that proves criminal behavior on the part of the suspect. Material which may seem

such persons are subjects of that inves

tigation. Since release of such informaunrelated, irrelevant, incomplete, untimely, etc., may take on added mean

tion to subjects of an investigation

would provide the subjects with signifiing as an investigation progresses. The restrictions in this provision could

cant information concerning the nainterfere with the preparation of a

ture of the investigation, it could recomplete investigative report.

sult in the altering or destruction of (viii) 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(8) requires an

documentary evidence, improper influagency to make reasonable efforts to

encing of witnesses and other activities serve notice on an individual when any

that could impede or compromise the record on such individual is made

investigation. available to any person under compul

(ii) 5 U.S.C. 552a(d), (e)(4) (G) and (H sory legal process when such process and (f) relate to an individual's right to becomes a matter of public record. The be notified of the existence of records notice requirement of this provision pertaining to such individual; requirecould prematurely reveal an ongoing ments for identifying an individual criminal investigation to the subject of who requests access to records; and the the investigation.

agency procedures relating to access to (c) Exemption of Loan Guaranty Serv- records and the contest of information ice, Veterans Benefits Administration, contained in such records. This system

is exempt from the foregoing provisions for the following reasons: To notify an individual at the individual's request of the existence of records in an investigative file pertaining to such individual or to grant access to an investigative file could interfere with investigative and enforcement proceedings; constitute an unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of others; disclose the identity of confidential sources and reveal confidential information supplied by these sources and disclose investigative techniques and procedures.

(iii) 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(4)(I) requires the publication of the categories of sources of records in each system of records. The application of this provision could disclose investigative techniques and procedures and cause sources to refrain from giving such information because of fear of reprisal, or fear of breach of promises of anonymity and confidentiality. This would compromise the ability to conduct investigations. Even though the agency has claimed an exemption from this particular requirement, it still plans to generally identify the categories of records and the sources for these records in this system. However, for the reasons stated above, this exemption is still being cited in the event an individual wanted to know a specific source of information.

(iv) 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(1) requires each agency to maintain in its records only such information about an individual that is relevant and necessary to accomplish a purpose of the agency required by statute or Executive order. This system of records is exempt from the foregoing provision because:

(A) It is not possible to detect relevance or necessity of specific information in the early stages of an investiga tion.

(B) Relevance and necessity are questions of judgment and timing. What appears relevant and necessary when collected may ultimately be determined to be unnecessary. It is only after the information is evaluated that the relevance and necessity of such information can be established.

(C) In interviewing persons or obtain ing other forms of evidence during an investigation, information may be sup

plied to the investigator which relates to matters incidental to the main purpose of the investigation but which is appropriate in a thorough investigation. Oftentimes, such information cannot readily be segregated.

(4) The following system of records is exempt pursuant to the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5) from subsections (c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4) (G), (H) and (I) and (f): Loan Guaranty Fee Personnel and Program Participant Records—VA (17 VA 26).

(5) This exemption applies to the extent that information in this system is subject to exemption pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5).

(6) For the reasons set forth, the system of records listed in paragraph (c)(4) of this section is exempt under 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(5) from the following provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a:

(i) 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3) requires that an agency make accountings of disclosures of records available to individuals named in the records at their request. These accountings must state the date, nature and purpose of each disclosure of the record and the name and address of the recipient. The application of this provision would alert subjects of background suitability investigations to the existence of the investigation and reveal that such persons are subjects of that investigation. Since release of such information to subjects of an investigation would provide the subjects with significant information concerning the nature of the investigation, it could result in revealing the identity of a confidential source.

(ii) 5 U.S.C. 552a(d), (e)(4) (G) and (H) and (f) relate to an individual's right to be notified of the existence of records pertaining to such individual; requirements for identifying an individual who requests access to records; and the agency procedures relating to access to records and the contest of information contained in such records. This system is exempt from the foregoing provisions for the following reasons: To notify an individual at the individual's request of the existence of records in an investigative file pertaining to such an individual or to grant access to an investigative file would disclose the

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