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How To Amend Your Record

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Your Rights

The Privacy Act (PA) permits an individual to request an amendment of a record that is not complete, accurate, timely, or relevant (see Full Text of PA and Code of Federal Regulations, Central Intelligence Agency, 32 CFR). Thus you are given a chance to correct errors and to prevent incorrect information from being disseminated.

Making a Request

If you believe your records contain incorrect information, you can request an amendment by writing to:

Information and Privacy Coordinator
Central Intelligence Agency, 
Washington, D.C. 20505

Your letter must include :

  • A statement that the letter is a request to amend a record under the Privacy Act of 1974.
  • Identification of the specific record and the specific information in the record for which you are seeking an amendment, including copies of the records if possible.
  • A statement as to why you believe the information is inaccurate and any supporting evidence.
  • A statement correcting the erroneous information and the supporting evidence or a statement seeking removal of the erroneous information with the supporting evidence.
  • Your name and address.
  • Your biographical information (see How to File a Privacy Act request)
  • Notarize your letter or sign it under penalty of perjury pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1746.

 

Appealing CIA's Decisions Regarding Your Amendment

Administrative Appeal of Agency Decisions

Administrative Appeal of Agency Decisions The CIA will acknowledge and rule on your amendment. If the Agency agrees to your amendment, it will notify you in writing of the correction and also any person or agency to which the information was officially disseminated. If the CIA refuses your amendment, in whole or in part, it must advise you in writing of its decision, the reasons for the denial, and inform you of your right to appeal to a higher decision making level within the Agency. The PA permits requesters disagreeing with an Agency decision to file an administrative appeal to the Agency Release Panel (ARP) in care of the Coordinator (the address can be found in "sample letter") within 45 days of the Agency's initial decision. The ARP members consist of senior Agency officials, and one of them--usually the member(s) with subject matter interest -- will handle your appeal request and bring it before the entire Panel for a final review. No particular form of appeal is required; however, your letter should:

  • Identify that it is a request for appeal of an amendment.
  • Specifically identify the portion of the document or whole document needing amendment and provide the desired amending language.
  • Present the evidence to support all changes.
  • Even if the Agency denies your appeal, you have the right to submit a statement explaining why you think the record is incorrect. The Agency, in turn, must attach your statement to the disputed record.
  • The Agency by law can refuse appeals if the requester owes us or another federal agency fees for information services or if the information in question has been the subject of an administrative review within the previous two years or is the subject of a pending litigation in the federal courts.

Litigation

The CIA will notify you of your right of judicial review if your amendment is denied on administrative appeal. If still dissatisfied with the Agency's decision, the requester may seek a review of the Agency's determinations in a US District Court but must file that request with the court within two years from the date of the Agency's appeal denial. However, because the CIA and many other agencies process Privacy Act requests also under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the FOIA's general six-year statute of limitations probably applies, but there have been no court tests of the conflicting provisions of these two acts. In court, Agency representatives must present their case for not amending your record.