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Balancing Personal Privacy and Transparency

Agency Requests for Background Investigations

Pre-Placement Releases to Agencies

Designated agency officials can request copies of NBIB conducted background investigations for use in making determinations concerning whether an individual is suitable or fit for Government employment; eligible for logical and physical access to federally controlled facilities and information systems; eligible to hold a sensitive position (including but not limited to eligibility for access to classified information); fit to perform work for or on behalf of the Government as a contractor employee; qualified for Government service; qualified to perform contractual services for the Government; and loyal to the United States. This is considered a pre-placement file release request.

To request a copy of a background investigation from NBIB for pre-placement purposes agencies can:

  • Call NBIB's Telephone Liaison at 724-794-5228 and provide the requested information to obtain the file
  • Submit a file request through agency on-line access through the Personnel Investigations Processing System (PIPS)
  • Fax a written request to 724-794-9861
  • Mail a written request to:
    Liaison Group
    OPM-NBIB
    Attn: Telephone Liaisons
    PO Box 618
    1137 Branchton Road
    Boyers, PA 16018-0618

Requests for Background Investigation Records Under a Privacy Act Condition of Disclosure or Routine Use

Background investigation records are Privacy Act protected records, maintained as part of the OPM Central-9 system of records. The Privacy Act of 1974 (Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a) establishes a code of fair information practices that governs the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of information about individuals that is maintained in systems of records by federal agencies. A system of records is a group of records under the control of an agency from which information is retrieved by the name of the individual or by some identifier assigned to the individual.

NBIB background investigation records can be released to third parties, without the subject’s written consent, only when one or more of the twelve Privacy Act Conditions of Disclosure apply, and one such condition includes the routine uses defined in the OPM Central-9 system of records: 81 FR 70191.

Requests Related to Civil or Criminal Law Enforcement Activities, to include Counterintelligence Investigations

The Privacy Act Condition of Disclosure (b)(7) states: "No agency shall disclose any record which is contained in a system of records by any means of communication to any person, or to another agency, except pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written consent of, the individual to whom the record pertains, unless disclosure of the record would be to another agency or to an instrumentality of any governmental jurisdiction within or under the control of the United States for a civil or criminal law enforcement activity if the activity is authorized by law, and if the head of the agency or instrumentality has made a written request to the agency which maintains the record specifying the particular portion desired and the law enforcement activity for which the record is sought."

If an agency requests records from NBIB under subsection (b)(7), a formal request must be submitted. The following is required for a (b)(7) request:

  • The request must be in writing, on agency letterhead. It is helpful to have the name and contact information for an agency POC in the event we have questions about your request.
  • The request must be submitted by the agency head or the head of the office/instrumentality making the request; or by another senior official with evidence that the request function has been delegated (not by the individual agent).
  • The request must specifically outline the type of information sought (e.g., background investigation records, standard forms, etc.).
  • An explanation must be provided about why the information is needed (e.g., the information is needed in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation). The subject’s full name and all available subject identifiers should be provided.
  • If your agency’s investigation is being jointly conducted with another government agency, please provide the name of that agency as well as the name of and contact information for a POC at that agency with whom you are working.

If a NBIB background investigation is needed for a Legal Proceeding, Discovery, Giglio/Henthorn, Court Martial, Administrative or Domestic Court Proceedings, or EEOC proceedings:

All requests related to legal proceedings must first be coordinated with the OPM Office of General Counsel, following the OPM touhy regulations at Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 295 (online at: 5 CFR 295). If you are uncertain whether the touhy regulations apply to your request, please contact the FOI/PA Records Receipt and Maintenance Branch Chief or Team Leader by calling at 724-794-5612, extension 7000.

If a NBIB background investigation is needed for reasons such as: unemployment compensation decisions, employee relations decisions, research purposes, loyalty or qualification decisions, etc.

Official requests should be submitted on agency letterhead. The request should outline the specific purpose for which the records are sought, and include as much identifying information about the subject as possible. An agency POC and contact information should also be provided in the event we have questions about the request.

Submitting Agency Requests to the NBIB FOI/PA Office

Routine use requests and Privacy Act Condition of Disclosure requests should be sent to NBIB FOI/PA office via one of the below methods:

  • Fax to: 724-794-4590
    Advisement: this is not a secure/classified fax number
  • Mail to:
    National Background Investigations Bureau
    FOI/PA office
    Attention: Supervisory FOI/PA Specialist
    PO Box 618
    1137 Branchton Road
    Boyers, PA 16018-0618
  • E-mail: FOIPARequests@nbib.gov
    Advisement: The request may be submitted as a scanned attachment to an email. However, you should ensure that the security of your email system is adequate for transmitting sensitive information before choosing to transmit the request which contains personally identifiable information (full name, social security number, date of birth, etc.).

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