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FIA-13-0077 - In the Matter of John F. Garrity

On January 3, 2014, the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) issued a decision denying an appeal (Appeal) from a Privacy Act determination issued by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office (ORO). The Appellant requested his Personnel Security File from the DOE.  When ORO released the files to the Appellant, it redacted investigatory information, opinions, comments and analysis pertaining to the Appellant’s access authorization contained in case analysis and review forms.  ORO invoked Privacy Act Exemptions (d)(5) and (k)(2) and Freedom of Information Act Exemption 5 in support of those redactions. OHA determined that the Privacy Act Exemption (d)(5) was properly invoked as the withheld information was prepared in anticipation of an administrative review proceeding under Part 710 and related regulations.  However, OHA determined that (k)(2) was not properly invoked as that Exemption applied to protect the identity of confidential sources, which was not at issue in the instant matter.  Finally, OHA determined that FOIA Exemption 5 applied to the withheld information pursuant to the deliberative process privilege as it contained comments and analyses pertaining to the decision on whether or not to grant the individual access authorization. Therefore, the OHA denied the Appeal.