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Defense Privacy Board Advisory Opinions
ACCOUNTING FOR DISCLOSURES OF RECORDS THROUGH MILITARY LEGISLATIVE LIAISON CHANNELS
Procedures and divisions of responsibility should be established by military departments to ensure preparation of required accountings when information concerning individuals is disclosed to Members of Congress. Whether disclosure is made pursuant to an established routine use or prior written consent of the record subject, an accounting must be kept. See 5 U.S.C. § 552a(c). When a disclosure is made directly to a Member of Congress by the custodian of the record, that activity is responsible for keeping an appropriate accounting. However, a more difficult administrative problem arises when requested information is transmitted by the custodian to the legislative liaison activity for re transmittal and the latter either deletes from or adds to information originally provided. In such cases it might be impossible for the custodian to keep an accurate accounting of what actually was disclosed to the Congressional office unless the legislative liaison office provides feedback.
The problem should not be resolved on a DoD wide scale because the formulation of specific procedures for disclosure accounting will involve consideration of a number of factors which will vary among the military departments and other DoD components. The factors include internal organizational relationships, the components' prescribed methods and responsibilities for responding to Congressional inquiries, and possibly the characteristics of the particular records and record systems involved.
The liaison activity should prepare a disclosure accounting and forward it to the custodian. The accounting should contain the name and address of the person to whom the disclosure was made and the Member of Congress for whom he or she works, as well as the date, nature and purpose of the disclosure. The name, rank, title and duty address of the person making the disclosure also should be included. The accounting must be kept for five years or the life of the record, whichever is longer.