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TFC-0007 - In the Matter of Jeffrey T. Richelson

On February  25 , 2013, the Office of Hearings and Appeals issued a decision regarding an Appeal filed by Jeffrey T. Richelson from a determination issued by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) of the Department of Energy (DOE) under the Freedom of Information Act.  Mr. Richelson had requested specified chapters of a DOE report dating from 1981. In a December 3, 2010, determination, NNSA withheld portions of the responsive material on the basis of Exemption 1.  Although NNSA did not itself identify any information that needed protection, the Air Force, which also reviewed the requested material, determined that portions of the requested chapters contained information protected under Exemption 1 from its perspective.  Because Exemption 1 protects from disclosure information that is properly classified under criteria established in an Executive Order, we referred this Appeal to the Office of Health, Safety and Security, the office which is responsible for reviewing the classification of information. That Office confirmed that, from the Department of Energy’s perspective, no information should be withheld pursuant to Exemption 1.  The Appeal was therefore forwarded to the Air Force for an appellate determination whether any of the previously withheld material may now be released to Mr. Richelson.  Accordingly, we granted the Appeal in part and denied it in part.