Office of the Inspector General

Privacy Act of 1974; Report on Altered System

Friday, November 2, 1990

AGENCY: Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Department of Health and Human Services.

ACTION: Notification of Altered System of Records.

SUMMARY: In accordance with the requirements in the Privacy Act, the Office of Inspector General is publishing a notice of a major alteration to its system of records notice 09-90-0003 entitled �Criminal Investigative Files of the Inspector General, HHS/OS/OIG.� The proposed alternations include substantive changes to the types of individuals included in the system, record retrieval, location of the records, and the routine uses of the information in the system. Other minor changes are being made for clarification or updating.

DATES: OIG has sent a report of the altered system notice to Congress and the Office of Management and Budget on October 26, 1990. Interested parties may submit comments on the proposed alteration on or before January 2, 1991. These changes will be effective 60 days from the date of submission to the Office of Management and Budget, and the proposed routine uses will be effective December 3, 1990.

ADDRESSES: Written comments should be addressed to Office of Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services, Attention: LRR-30-N, room 5246, 330 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20201. Comments received will be available for public inspection in room 5551, at the above address during normal business hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:Susan C. Callahan, Office of General Counsel, room 5541, at the above address or call (202) 619-0335.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Office of Inspector General maintains information in this system of records in order to conduct, document, and track investigations covering a wide range of potential criminal violations involving HHS progams and operations. Since the establishment of the OIG in 1977, its investigative responsibilities have significantly broadened, and its investigative activities have grown increasingly more complex, requiring a major alteration of the notice to reflect these changes. The following summarizes the major changes being proposed:

Categories of Individuals Covered by the System

The current description of the individuals covered by this system, is being revised to more accurately describe the categories of subjects, witnesses, complainants, and other key individuals now in the system of records. This change will expand the categories of individuals, permitting retrieval of information on some additional key individuals who are not described in the current outdated description. This change is necessary in order to better track the status of complaints and investigations, and to facilitate the coordination of multiple cases involving individuals associated with each. This is also necessary because some targets of OIG investigations no longer fall within the categories of individuals described in the current system. For example, OIG investigations of Social Security number violations now often involve individuals who are not recipients under HHS programs.

Routine Uses

Paragraphs (a) and (e) have been combined into a new paragraph (a) which clarifies that disclosures to other law enforcement agencies covered by this provision permit disclosure of any information relevant to a legitimate investigation of the receiving agency regardless of whether the specific records disclosed indicate a particular violation. The purpose of these disclosures is to assist in the enforcement of the laws of other governmental jurisdications, a use consistent with the law enforcement purpose for which these records are maintained.

A new routine use, (b), is being added to more clearly provide for the disclosures necessary to the successful investigation and prosecution of OIG cases. It includes necessary disclosures such as those to grand juries, prosecutors, and judges made in the course of completing a case. Current routine uses (b) and (k), covering disclosures to the Department of Justice, are more limited and will be deleted. Disclosures covered by those provisions fall under the new routine use (b) and revised routine use (k) discussed below.

A new routine use (e) has been added to cover the infrequent situations where it is in the public interest to initiate a general release of information pertaining to an investigation. Such disclosures are necessary to effective law inforcement in order to alter the public and deter future criminal misconduct. Disclosures falling within this routine use include bulletins on particular crimes and announcements of particular actions such as arrests and indictments.

Revised routine use (k) outlines necessary disclosures made in the course of litigation involving HHS, its employees, or the United States. This has been revised based on guidance by the Office of Management and Budget. It is essentially the same type of disclosure provision found in most Federal systems of records and is necessary to the effective administration of justice in such proceedings.

A new routine use (m) is being added to provide for disclosures to third party contacts, including public and private organizations, in order to obtain information relevant to an OIG investigation, to identify violations, or otherwise assist in the conduct of OIG investigations. Such disclosures are necessary to effective law enforcement.


The OIG proposes to use the Social Security number to retrieve records in certain cases. Over the years, OIG has assumed responsibility for a number of responsibility for a number of investigations involving Social Security programs. Since Social Security program information is maintained by Social Security number, the use of the number as an additional retrieval mechanism can greatly facilitate locating specific case files pertaining to these and similar programs.

Other, minor changes are being made to clarify certain provisions and bring the notice into conformity with organizational, legislative, and policy changes. They include the following:

*46249 System location

The system location is being revised by adding the locations of Office of Investigations (OI), OIG, field offices to more accurately reflect the fact that the regional offices also maintain the complete investigative record file and are the primary locations for records of on-going OI investigations.

Categories of records in the system

This has been revised to make clear that extracts from the criminal investigative file are maintained in computerized form for case management and tracking purposes. No additional information will be maintained.

Records retention

The retention period for these records is being expanded from 5 years to 10 years to bring it into conformity with the retention period established for records of Offices of Inspectors General by the National Archives and Records Administration.

Systems manager

The notice is being revised to indicate that the Inspector General is the sole system manager.

The entire system notice is being reprinted below for the convenience of the reader.

Dated: October 26, 1990.

Bryan Mitchell,

Acting Inspector General.


System name:

Criminal Investigative Files of the Inspector General HHS/OS/OIG.

Security classification:


System location(s):

Office of the Inspector General, HHS Room 5250 Wilbur J. Cohen Bldg., 330 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20201

Region 1, Office of Investigations (OI), OIG, P.O. Box 8767, Government Center Station, Boston, Massachusetts 02114

Region 2, OI, OIG, P.O. Box 3209, Church Street Station, New York, New York 10008

Region 3, OI, OIG, P.O. Box 8049, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19101

Region 4, OI, OIG, P.O. Box 2288, Atlanta, Georgia 30301

Region 5, OI, OIG, P.O. Box 2197, Chicago, Illinois 60690

Region 6, Room 4-E-1B, 1100 Commerce Street, Dallas, Texas 75242

Region 7, OI, OIG, P.O. Box 2692, Denver, Colorado 80201

Region 9, OI, OIG, P.O. Box 42516, San Francisco, California 94101

Washington Field Office, Room 5728 Cohen Bldg., 330 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20201

Categories of individuals covered by the system:

Individuals relevant to a criminal investigation, including but not limited to the subjects of an investigation, complainants, and key witnesses where necessary for future retrieval.

Categories of records in the system:

Criminal investigative files and extracts from that file consisting of a computerized case management and tracking file.

Authority for maintenance of the system:

The Inspector General Act of 1978, 5 U.S.C. App. 3, authorize Inspectors General to conduct, supervise and coordinate investigations relating to the programs and operations of their respective agencies.


Pursuant to the Inspector General Act of 1978, 5 U.S.C. App. 3, this system is maintained for the purpose of conducting, documenting, and tracking investigations conducted by the OIG or other investigative agencies regarding HHS programs and operations, documenting the outcome of OIG reviews of allegations and complaints received concerning HHS programs and operations, aiding in prosecutions brought against the subjects of OIG investigations, maintaining a record of the activities which were the subject of investigations, reporting the results of OIG investigations to other Departmental components for their use in operating and evaluating their programs and in imposition of civil or administrative sanctions, and acting as a repository and source for information necessary to fulfill the reporting requirements of 5 U.S.C. App. 3.

Routine uses of records maintained in the system, including categories of users and purposes of such uses:

a. Information from this system of records may be disclosed to any other federal agency or any foreign, state, or local government agency responsible for enforcing, investigating, or prosecuting violations of administrative, civil, or criminal law or regulation where that information is relevant to an enforcement proceeding, investigation, or prosecution within the agency's jurisdiction.

b. Information from this system of records may be disclosed to (1) the Department of Justice in connection with requests for legal advice and in connection with actual or potential criminal prosecutions or civil litigation pertaining to the Office of Inspector General, and (2) a Federal or State grand jury, a Federal or State court, administrative tribunal, opposing counsel, or witnesses in the course of civil or criminal proceedings pertaining to the Office of Inspector General.

c. Information from this system of records may be disclosed to a federal, state, or local agency maintaining civil, criminal or other relevant enforcement records or other pertinent records such as current licenses, if necessary to obtain a record relevant to an agency decision concerning the hiring or retention of an employee, the issuance of a license, grant or other benefit.

d. Information from this system of records may be disclosed to a federal agency in response to its request in connection with the hiring or retention of an employee, the issuance of a security clearance, the reporting of an investigation of an employee, the letting of a contract, or the issuance of a license, grant, or other benefit by the requesting agency, to the extent that the record is relevant and necessary to the requesting agency's decision on the matter.

e. Relevant information may be disclosed from this system of records to the news media and general public where there exists a legitimate public interest, e.g., to provide information on events in the criminal process, such as indictments, and where necessary for protection from imminent threat to life or property.

f. Where federal agencies having the power to subpoena other federal agencies' records, such as the Internal Revenue Service, issue a subpoena to the Department for records in this system of records, the Department will make such records available.

g. When the Department contemplates that it will contract with a private firm for the purpose of collating, analyzing, aggregating or otherwise refining records in this system, relevant records will be disclosed to such contractor. The contractor shall be required to maintain Privacy Act safeguards with respect to such records.

h. Disclosures may be made to organizations deemed qualified by the Secretary to carry out quality assessments.

i. Information from this system of records may be disclosed in the course of employee discipline of competence determination proceedings.

*46250 j. Disclosures may be made to a Congressional office from the record of an individual in response to an inquiry from the Congressional office made at the request of that individual.

k. Information from this system of records may be disclosed to the Department of Justice, to a judicial or administrative tribunal, opposing counsel, and witnesses, in the course of proceedings involving HHS, an HHS employee (where the matter pertains to the employee's official duties), or the United States, or any agency thereof where the litigation is likely to affect HHS, or HHS is a party or has an interest in the litigation and the use of the information is relevant and necessary to the litigation.

l. Information from this system of records may be disclosed to a Federal, State or local agency maintaining pertinent records, if necessary to obtain a record relevant to a Department decision concerning the hiring or retention of an employee, the issuance of a security clearance, the letting of a contract, or the issuance of a license, grant, or other benefit.

m. Information from this system of records may be disclosed to third party contacts, including public and private organizations, in order to obtain information relevant and necessary to the investigation of potential violations in HHS programs and operations, or where disclosure would enable the OIG to identify violations in HHS programs or operations or otherwise assist the OIG in pursuing on-going investigations.

Policies and practices for storing, retrieving, accessing, retaining, and disposing of records in the system:


The records, which take the form of index cards, investigative reports, micro computer disks, computer main frame files and computer printed listings are maintained under secure conditions in limited access areas. Written documents and computer disks are maintained in secure rooms, in security type safes or in lock bar file cabinets with manipulation proof combination locks. Computer main frame files are on-line in guarded, combination locked computer rooms.


Records are retrieved by manual or computer search of indices containing the name or Social Security number of the individual to whom the record applies. Records may be cross-referenced by case or complaint number.


Records are maintained in a restricted area and accessed only by Department personnel. Access within OIG is strictly limited to authorized staff members. All employees are given instructions on the sensitivity of such files and the restrictions on disclosure. Access within HHS is strictly limited to the Secretary, Under-Secretary, and other officials and employees on a need-to-know basis. All main frame computer files and printed listings are safeguarded in accordance with the provisions of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Federal Information Processing Standards 41 and 31, and the HHS Information Resources Management Manual, Part 6, �ADP Systems Security.�

Retention and disposal:

Investigative files are retained for 10 years after completion of the investigation and/or actions based thereon. Paper and computer indices are retained permanently. The records control schedule and disposal standards may be obtained by writing to the System Manager at the address below.

System manager and address:

Inspector General, Room 5250 Wilbur J. Cohen Building, Department of Health and Human Services, 330 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20201.

Notification procedures:

Exempt, however consideration will be given requests addressed to the system manager. For general inquiries, it would be helpful if the request included date of birth and Social Security number as well as the name of the individual.

Record access procedure:

Same as notification procedures. Requestors should also reasonably specify the record contents being sought.

Contesting record procedure:

Contact the system manager at the address specified above, and reasonably identify the record, specify the information to be contested, and the corrective action sought with supporting justification.

Record source categories:

The OIG collects information from a wide variety of sources, including information from the Department and other Federal, State, and local agencies, witnesses, complainants and other nongovernmental sources.

Systems exempted from certain provisions of the act:

Pursuant to subsection (j)(2) of the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)(2), the Secretary has exempted this system from the access, amendment, correction, and notification provisions of the Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d)(1)-(4), (e)(3), and (e)(4)(G) and (h).

[FR Doc. 90-25981 Filed 11-1-90; 8:45 am]


55 FR 46248-01, 1990 WL 347003 (F.R.)


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