[Congressional Record: September 28, 2006 (House)] [Page H7784-H7848] CONFERENCE REPORT ON H.R. 5441, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2007 Conference Report (House Rept. No. 109-699) [...] Sec. 525. (a) Within 30 days after enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall revise Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Management Directive (MD) 11056 to provide for the following: (1) That when a lawful request is made to publicly release a document containing information designated as sensitive security information (SSI), the document shall be reviewed in a timely manner to determine whether any information contained in the document meets the criteria for continued SSI protection under applicable law and regulation and shall further provide that all portions that no longer require SSI designation be released, subject to applicable law, including sections 552 and 552a of title 5, United States Code; (2) That sensitive security information that is three years old and not incorporated in a current transportation security directive, security plan, contingency plan, or information circular; or does not contain current information in one of the following SSI categories: equipment or personnel performance specifications, vulnerability assessments, security inspection or investigative information, threat information, security measures, security screening information, security training materials, identifying information of designated transportation security personnel, critical aviation or maritime infrastructure asset information, systems security information, confidential business information, or research and development information shall be subject to release upon request unless: (A) the Secretary or his designee makes a written determination that identifies a rational reason why the information must remain SSI; or (B) such information is otherwise exempt from disclosure under applicable law: Provided, That any determination made by the Secretary under clause (a)(2)(A) shall be provided to the party making a request to release such information and to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and the House of Representatives as part of the annual reporting requirement pursuant to section 537 of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2006 (Public Law 109-90; 119 Stat. 2088); and (3) Common and extensive examples of the individual categories of SSI information cited under 49 CFR 1520(b)(1) through (16) in order to minimize and standardize judgment by covered persons in the application of SSI marking. (b) Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall report to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and the House of Representatives on the progress that the Department has made in implementing the requirements of this section and of section 537 of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2006 (Public Law 109-90; 119 Stat. 2088). (c) Not later than one year from the date of enactment of this Act, the Government Accountability Office shall report to the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and the House of Representatives on DHS progress and procedures in implementing the requirements of this section. (d) That in civil proceedings in the United States District Courts, where a party seeking access to SSI demonstrates that the party has substantial need of relevant SSI in the preparation of the party's case and that the party is unable without undue hardship to obtain the substantial equivalent of the information by other means, the party or party's counsel shall be designated as a covered person under 49 CFR Part 1520.7 in order to have access to the SSI at issue in the case, provided that the overseeing judge enters an order that protects the SSI from unauthorized or unnecessary disclosure and specifies the terms and conditions of access, unless upon completion of a criminal history check and terrorist assessment like that done for aviation workers on the persons seeking access to SSI, or based on the sensitivity of the information, the Transportation Security Administration or DHS demonstrates that such access to the information for the proceeding presents a risk of harm to the nation: Provided, That notwithstanding any other provision of law, an order granting access to SSI under this section shall be immediately appealable to the United States Courts of Appeals, which shall have plenary review over both the evidentiary finding and the sufficiency of the order specifying the terms and conditions of access to the SSI in question: Provided further, That notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary may assess a civil penalty of up to $50,000 for each violation of 49 CFR Part 1520 by persons provided access to SSI under this provision. [...] ____________________ Section 525. The conferees continue and modify a provision proposed by the House and Senate requiring DHS to revise, within 30 days after enactment, its management directive on Sensitive Security Information (SSI) to among other things, provide for the release of certain SSI information that is three years old unless the Secretary makes a written determination that identifies a rational reason why the information must remain SSI. The conferees expect this rational reason written determination to identify and describe the specific risk to the national transportation system. The provision also contains a mechanism for SSI to be used in civil judicial proceedings if the judge determines that is needed. The conferees expect that a party will be able to demonstrate undue hardship to the judge if equivalent information is not available in one month's time. The conferees expect the criminal history records check and terrorist threat assessment on the persons seeking access to SSI in civil proceedings to be identical to that conducted for aviation workers. The conferees further expect any DHS demonstration of risk or harm to the nation in a judicial proceeding include a description of the specific risk to the national transportation system. This is consistent with demonstrations made for classified information.