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Defense Privacy Board Advisory Opinions
DISCLOSURE OF IDENTITIES OF CONFIDENTIAL SOURCES FROM INVESTIGATIVE RECORDS EXEMPTED UNDER SUBSECTION (k)(2)
If a system of records has been exempted under subsection (k)(2) of the Privacy Act, information that would identify a confidential source may be withheld from an individual requesting access to the record under the Privacy Act. 5 U.S.C. § 552a(k)(2). Only information that would not reveal the identity of a confidential source automatically becomes accessible under the Privacy Act when the record subject is denied a right, benefit or privilege.
The Office of Management and Budget Privacy Act Guidelines, 40 Fed. Reg. 28949, 28973 (July 9, 1975), contain language from the Congressional Record suggesting that the record subject can learn the "substance and source of confidential information" if that information is used to deny him some right, benefit or privilege. However, such language does not refer to Privacy Act compliance. It refers to the possibility that revealing the identity of the confidential source might be required by due process or discovery rules in the course of an administrative or judicial challenge to an adverse action based on information supplied by the source.