PUBLIC LAW 98-477—OCT. 15, 1984 98 STAT. 2209
Public Law 98-477
To amend the National Security Act of 1947 to regulate public disclosure of informa- Oct. 15, 1984
tion held by the Central Intelligence Agency, and for other purposes. [H.R. 5164]
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act may Central
be cited as the "Central Intelligence Agency Information Act . Intelligence
SEC. 2. (a) The National Security Act of 1947 is amended by adding Agency
at the end thereof the following new title: 50 u s e 401 note.
"TITLE VII—PROTECTION OF OPERATIONAL FILES OF THE
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
EXEMPTION OF CERTAIN OPERATIONAL FILES FROM SEARCH, REVIEW,
PUBLICATION, OR DISCLOSURE
"SEC. 701. (a) Operational files of the Central Intelligence Agency 50 u s e 431.
may be exempted by the Director of Central Intelligence from the
provisions of section 552 of title 5, United States Code (Freedom of
Information Act), which require publication or disclosure, or search
or review in connection therewith.
"(b) For the purposes of this title the term 'operational files'
"(1) files of the Directorate of Operations which document the
conduct of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence operations
or intelligence or security liaison arrangements or information
exchanges with foreign governments or their intelligence or
"(2) files of the Directorate for Science and Technology which
document the means by which foreign intelligence or counterin-
telligence is collected through scientific and technical systems;
"(3) files of the Office of Security which document investiga-
tions conducted to determine the suitability of potential foreign
intelligence or counterintelligence sources;
except that files which are the sole repository of disseminated
intelligence are not operational files.
"(c) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, exempted oper-
ational files shall continue to be subject to search and review for
"(1) United States citizens or aliens lawfully admitted for
permanent residence who have requested information on them-
selves pursuant to the provisions of section 552 of title 5, United
States Code (Freedom of Information Act), or section 552a of
title 5, United States Code (Privacy Act of 1974);
"(2) any special activity the existence of which is not exempt
from disclosure under the provisions of section 552 of title 5,
United States Code (Freedom of Information Act); or
"(3) the specific subject matter of an investigation by the
intelligence committees of the Congress, the Intelligence Over-
98 STAT. 2210 PUBLIC LAW 98-477—OCT. 15, 1984
sight Board, the Department of Justice, the Office of General
Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency, the Office of Inspec-
tor General of the Central Intelligence Agency, or the Office of
the Director of Central Intelligence for any impropriety, or
violation of law. Executive order, or Presidential directive, in
the conduct of an intelligence activity.
"(d)(1) Files that are not exempted under subsection (a) of this
section which contain information derived or disseminated from
exempted operational files shall be subject to search and review.
"(2) The inclusion of information from exempted operational files
in files that are not exempted under subsection (a) of this section
shall not affect the exemption under subsection (a) of this section of
the originating operational files from search, review, publication, or
"(3) Records from exempted operational files which have been
disseminated to and referenced in files that are not exempted under
subsection (a) of this section and which have been returned to
exempted operational files for sole retention shall be subject to
search and review.
"(e) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall not be
superseded except by a provision of law which is enacted after the
date of enactment of subsection (a), and which specifically cites and
repeals or modifies its provisions.
Courts, U.S. (f) Whenever any person who has requested agency records
under section 552 of title 5, United States Code (Freedom of Infor-
mation Act), alleges that the Central Intelligence Agency has
improperly withheld records because of failure to comply with any
provision of this section, judicial review shall be available under the
terms set forth in section 552(a)(4XB) of title 5, United States Code,
"(1) in any case in which information specifically authorized
under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept
secret in the interest of national defense or foreign relations
which is filed with, or produced for, the court by the Central
Intelligence Agency, such information shall be examined ex
parte, in camera by the court;
"(2) the court shall, to the fullest extent practicable, deter-
mine issues of fact based on sworn written submissions of the
"(3) when a complaint alleges that requested records were
improperly withheld because of improper placement solely in
exempted operational files, the complainant shall support such
allegation with a sworn written submission, based upon per-
sonal knowledge or otherwise admissible evidence;
"(4XA) when a complainant alleges that requested records
were improperly withheld because of improper exemption of
operational files, the Central Intelligence Agency shall meet its
burden under section 552(aX4)(B) of title 5, United States Code,
by demonstrating to the court by sworn written submission that
exempted operational files likely to contain responsive records
currently perform the functions set forth in subsection (b) of
this section; and
"(B) the court may not order the Central Intelligence Agency
to review the content of any exempted operational file or files in
order to make the demonstration required under subparagraph
(A) of this paragraph, unless the complainant disputes the
Central Intelligence Agency's showing with a sworn written
PUBLIC LAW 98-477—OCT. 15, 1984 98 STAT. 2211
submission based on personal knowledge or otherwise admissi-
"(5) in proceedings imder paragraphs (3) and (4) of this subsec-
tion, the parties shall not obtain discovery pursuant to rules 26
through 36 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, except that 28 use app.
requests for admission may be made pursuant to rules 26 and
"(6) if the court finds under this subsection that the Central
Intelligence Agency has improperly withheld requested records
because of failure to comply with any provision of this section,
the court shall order the Central Intelligence Agency to search
and review the appropriate exempted operational file or files for
the requested records and make such records, or portions
thereof, available in accordance with the provisions of section
552 of title 5, United States Code (Freedom of Information Act),
and such order shall be the exclusive remedy for failure to
comply with this section; and
"(7) if at any time following the filing of a complaint pursuant
to this subsection the Central Intelligence Agency agrees to
search the appropriate exempted operational file or files for the
requested records, the court shall dismiss the claim based upon
"DECENNIAL REVIEW OF EXEMPTED OPERATIONAL FILES
"SEC. 702. (a) Not less than once every ten years, the Director of 50 use 432.
Central Intelligence shall review the exemptions in force under
subsection (a) of section 701 of this Act to determine whether such Ante, p. 2209.
exemptions may be removed from any cat^ory of exempted files or
any portion thereof.
'(b) The review required by subsection (a) of this section shall
include consideration of the historical value or other public interest
in the subject matter of the particular category of files or portions
thereof and the potential for declassifying a significant part of the
information contained therein.
"(c) A complainant who alleges that the Central Intelligence eourts, U.S.
Agency has improperly withheld records because of failure to
comply with this section may seek judicial review in the district
court of the United States of the district in which any of the parties
reside, or in the District of C!olumbia. In such a proceeding, the
court's review shall be limited to determining (1) whether the
Central Intelligence Agency has conducted the review required by
subsection (a) of this section within ten years of enactment of this
title or within ten years after the last review, and (2) whether the
Central Intelligence Agency, in fact, considered the criteria set forth
in subsection (b) of this section in conducting the required review.".
(b) The table of contents at the beginning of such Act is amended
by adding at the end thereof the following:
"TITLE VN—PROTECTION OF OPERATIONAL FILES OF THE CENTRAL
"Sec. 701. Exemption of certain operational flies from search, review, publication,
"Sec. 702. Decennial review of exempted operational files.".
(c) Subsection (q) of section 552a of title 5, United States C!ode, is
(1) by inserting "(1)" after "(q)"; and
98 STAT. 2212 PUBLIC LAW 98-477—OCT. 15, 1984
(2) by adding at the end thereof the following:
"(2) No agency shall rely on any exemption in this section to
withhold from an individual any record which is otherwise accessi-
ble to such individual under the provisions of section 552 of this
5 u s e 552. title.".
Reports. SEC. 3. (a) The Director of Central Intelligence, in consultation
50 u s e 432 note. with the Archivist of the United States, the Librarian of Congress,
and appropriate representatives of the historical discipline selected
by the Archivist, shall prepare and submit by June 1, 1985, a report
on the feasibility of conducting systematic review for declassifica-
tion and release of Central Intelligence Agency information of
(b)(1) The Director shall, once each six months, prepare and
submit an unclassified report which includes—
(A) a description of the specific measures established by the
Director to improve the processing of requests under section 552
of title 5, United States Code;
(B) the current budgetary and personnel allocations for such
(C) the number of such requests (i) received and processed
during the preceding six months, and (ii) pending at the time of
submission of such report; and
(D) an estimate of the current average response time for
completing the processing of such requests.
(2) The first report required by paragraph (1) shall be submitted
by a date which is six months after the date of enactment of this
Act. The requirements of such paragraph shall cease to apply after
the submission of the fourth such report.
(c) Each of the reports required by subsections (a) and (b) shall be
sulamitted to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and
the Committee on Government Operations of the House of Repre-
sentatives and the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Com-
mittee on the Judiciary of the Senate.
Effective date. SEC. 4. The amendments made by subsections (a) and (b) of section
50 u s e 431 note. 2 shall be effective upon enactment of this Act and shall apply with
respect to any requests for records, whether or not such request was
made prior to such enactment, and shall apply to all civil actions not
commenced prior to February 7,1984.
Approved October 15, 1984.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY—H.R. 5164 (S. 1324):
HOUSE REPORTS: No. 98-726, Pt. 1 (Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence)
and Pt. 2 (Comm. on Government Operations).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 130 (1984):
Sept. 17, 19, considered and passed House.
Sept. 28, considered and passed Senate.
WEEKLY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS, Vol. 20, No. 42 (1984):
Oct. 15, Presidential statement.